A Summary of India's Real History
And the Numerous Attempts to Destroy its Vedic Culture
During the last years, many people in India and outside India have become aware of the need to establish the truth about the real history of India. Historical and archeological research has progressed greatly, and the debate in academic circles has become extremely interesting. Some books have been published, and websites are being developed. Due to the limited scope and size of this publication, we cannot include a complete history of India, but for the completeness of our discussion, we want to present some information found missing in the biased history that is taught in schools at present.
It is said that history is written by those who win the wars and hold the power. The other party is given no chance to leave their version of the story, because that would undermine the position of the conqueror or the establishment. It would not be “politically correct”.
Certainly this has been happening for the last 5,000 years, under the influence of Kali-yuga, but it does not need to continue like that. Let’s just give truth a chance.
The entire planet is undergoing a change. The ideas of human rights and ethical principles in society, academics and politics, that started to develop in western countries in the 1700s with the French revolution, have seeped into the conscience of many and are now offering a golden opportunity to establish truthfulness and justice. Let us not be intimidated by those who are afraid of truth.
The Vedic period of India is the time when our “golden heritage” was built. The crumbs of that civilization have made India famous all over the world for the last 2,000 years, and inspired great philosophers along history, from Socrates and Pythagoras to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. What do we know about the Vedic period, apart the descriptions found in the Vedas themselves?
Indian archeology had its first important finding in 1922, when a Buddhist monk informed Rakhaldas Banerjee, superintendent of West Circle of Archaeological Survey of India, that in Larkana (district of old Sindh, now Pakistan) there were some ancient remains. The monks supposed that they were from Buddhist period, so they wanted the site to be investigated and protected.
However, the two sites, called Mohenjodaro and Harappa, were dated at least 1500 years BCE (Before Current Era), about 1000 years before the birth of Buddha, creating a sensation in academic circles and posing a difficult problem to mainstream archeology and history. Especially because the archeologists had found an area, at a short distance from the city, where a large deposit of clay had been vitrified as if by a nuclear explosion – the date of which could not be before 1500 BCE according to the instruments of the researchers.
In the following years many more sites were discovered, and what was once called “Indus valley civilization” appears now to have been existing in all northern India, down to the Narmada River in Maharastra, and in the ancient basin of the now disappeared river Sarasvati. It is also very likely that such advanced civilization was also present in the entire subcontinent, because we must keep in mind that for thousands of years until the 20th century, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Sri Lanka were all part of Bharata Varsha.
It is very interesting to note that these cities, built over 5000 years ago, were extremely modern. The streets were 12 to 30 feet wide, designed according to a perfect city planning, where the main streets were all oriented from North to South and the lanes from East to West at right angles with each other, in order to keep the city free from air pollution by the action of the wind. All the streets had rounded corners to facilitate the passage and turning of big vehicles and heavy traffic, they were paved with cooked bricks under which the sewage drains ran, and had a complex system of lighting posts to illuminate the city during the night. All industries were kept outside the town to control pollution and keep a good quality of life in the residential areas.
Every house had a private well, toilet and bathroom with a perfect hydraulic system and drainage soak pits. The external drainage system connecting the various houses had manholes at regular intervals for inspection. The houses were generally two storied, with big stairways and a pleasant environment.
The city of Harappa had a public swimming pool 55 by 35 meters, 2.4 meters deep, with walls made of cooked bricks, mortar and bitumen, and a drainage system for periodic cleaning. Inside the building of the public swimming pool there was a veranda with various rooms and galleries, very similar to a modern “commercial and service center”.
The city had also a big assembly hall 25 x 25 meters, with 20 big pillars made of bricks. Another city on the coast, Lothal, also had a large naval dockyard.
The script of this civilization was an alphabetical script consisting of 62 basic signs, which means that their language was very complex and refined. It was directly connected to Sanskrit, which has 13 vowels and 33 consonants, plus a great number of possible graphic variations (“complex consonants”) and a number of signs (anusvara, visarga, etc.). Usually, the more advanced is a civilization, the more complex is its language and script.
Harappa and Mohenjodaro contained a wealth of artifacts: bronze artwork and sculptures, jewels, toys and more than 2000 seals made of steatite, terracotta and copper. The decorations of the houses and objects found by the archeologists show that the inhabitants of those cities loved to play music, sing and dance, were fond of games and happy life. They used cosmetics like lipstick and kajal, and were a rich and civilized people. Their religion was centered on Shiva and the Mother Goddess, and they performed fire yajnas (rituals). They traveled a lot and were in contact with foreign countries; Harappan seals and other articles were found in Mesopotamia, Akkadia and Sumer. The findings in many more areas confirm that the “Indus-Sarasvati” civilization actually spread all over India, with consistent evidence of Vedic civilization.
Why did these rich and civilized people disappear from their cities? And where did they go?
The old theory of the colonialists said that some foreign invaders, the Aryan nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes coming from Central Northern Asia, conquered the pacific civilization of Dravidians, killed them by the thousands (although no evidence is showing such a massacre), made many slaves of them and drove the rest to South India. However, no finding has ever shown human remains of the Dravidian race in Harappan areas; rather the skeletons found have the same racial features of the modern inhabitants of Sindh and Gujarat.
Today, according to the most recent discoveries, it seems more likely that the people of that civilization had to move away gradually because of some natural climatic changes that dried up the Sarasvati River, which was the actual support of those people. The dried bed of the Sarasvati has recently been located on the basis of photos from satellites: it runs from the Sivalik mountains near Simla up to the Rann of Kutch, and most of the one thousand sites of Harappan civilization were located on both the banks of the dried river bed. The river served as a natural transportation route over long distances. The Rig Veda mentions Sarasvati as the largest river of the land, and for a long time before the discovery of her dried bed, scholars believed it was a mythological river.
These Vedic peoples just moved east and south towards the Ganga and the Yamuna, and joined the cities of Hastinapura (Delhi), Kashi (Benares), Prayag (Allahabad), Mathura, Ayodhya, and others mentioned in Vedic literature as very ancient settlements. These cities existed also during Vedic times, but their buildings had been renovated and substituted because they continued to be inhabited.
Central and South India had also civilized people for a very long time; some of these sites continued to be inhabited, others were abandoned. On 8 September, 2003, anthropologist S. Chakraborty from Kolkata (Calcutta) found evidence of the oldest human habitation in India, dating to 2 million years, on the banks of the Subarnarekha River. The 30-mile stretch between Ghatshila in the province of Jharkhand and Mayurbhanj in Orissa has reportedly yielded tools with evidence of human habitation without a break from 2 million years ago to 5,000 BCE. Other important findings of “pre-historic” times were in the Narmada basin in Madhya Pradesh and the Velamadurai-Pallavaram rectangle in Tamil Nadu.
The misconception around the term Aryan has created the greatest problems to Hinduism and India.
According to mainstream history, India was invaded around 1500 BCE by Aryan tribes coming from the Caucasus; such nomadic and war-mongering tribes were of the Aryan race, or white complexioned, blond hair and blue eyes, tall and strong. Supposedly, they brought Sanskrit and the Vedas to India, “civilizing” the pacific but primitive Dravidian tribes that lived there and turning them into slaves (the sudras).
To properly understand how this theory of the Aryan invasion has been given so much credit in the past, we must examine the situation in which it was first formulated by European scholars in the 19th century during the time of the British empire.
It is important to note that the need of those times was the justification of the slavery and the colonization of the “non-white” people, who had to be considered “inferior”.
Cultures other than the White Christian had to be presented as inferior and backward, primitive and savage. European “colonizers” massacred the aboriginals of the Americas, Africa and Australia, where civilizations were relatively simple, or had already declined past the peak of their glory. The peoples they met were innocent and trusting, and their philosophical and theological systems were simple and direct, they had practically no literature and history. They had never come in contact with Europe before, and it was easy to pass them off as “savages” in the eyes of the world.
India was something else. Fabulous stories about India’s wisdom, science, architecture, wealth and “magicians” had been circulating in Europe from the times of Alexander the Great, who considered the Vedic texts as an essential part of the huge library he founded at Alexandria of Egypt and employed a team of translators for their Greek version.
Anyone could see that Sanskrit was a very complex and precise language: certainly not a primitive language of a primitive people. The quantity and quality of the philosophical and scientific literature of India was overwhelming. How to reconcile these evident facts with the need to affirm Indians’ cultural inferiority?
The theory of the “White Man’s Burden” claimed that God had given the white Europeans better capabilities than other peoples and he had asked them, or expected them, to rule the other races and “look after them”. This applied all the more on the cultural and religious level, because Christians were the “chosen people” and they had the religious and moral duty to “convert the heathens”. In India, where religion is so strictly connected with philosophy and knowledge, the whole structure of culture had to be systematically dismantled.
It may be surprising to learn that the first pioneer in Indology was the 12th Century Pope, Onorius IV, who encouraged the learning of oriental languages in order to preach Christianity amongst the pagans. Soon after this in 1312, the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican decided that “The Holy Church should have an abundant number of Catholics well versed in the languages, especially in those of the infidels, so as to be able to instruct them in the sacred doctrine.”
William Carey (1761-1834) was the pioneer of the modern missionary enterprise in India, and of western (missionary) scholarship in oriental studies. Carey was an English oriental scholar and the founder of the Baptist Missionary Society. From 1801 onward, as Professor of Oriental Languages, he composed numerous philosophical works, consisting of grammars and dictionaries in the Marathi, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Telugu, Bengali, and Bhatanta languages. He printed over 200,000 Bibles and Christian literature volumes in about 40 different languages and dialects at the Serampore press.
Carey and his colleagues experimented with what came to be known as Church Sanskrit. He wanted to train a group of “Christian Pandits” who would probe “these mysterious sacred nothings” and expose them as worthless. He was distressed that this “golden casket (of Sanskrit) exquisitely wrought” had remained “filled with nothing but pebbles and trash.” He was determined to fill it with the “riches beyond all price” i.e. the doctrine of Christianity. In fact, Carey smuggled himself into India and caused so much trouble that the British government labeled him as a political danger. After confiscating a batch of Bengali pamphlets printed by Carey, the Governor General Lord Minto described them as “Scurrilous invective…Without arguments of any kind, they were filled with hell fire and still hotter fire, denounced against a whole race of men merely for believing the religion they were taught by their fathers.” Reverend A. H. Bowman wrote that Hinduism was a “…great philosophy... the last and the most subtle and powerful foe of Christianity.”
The famous Colonel Boden established in 1811 the prestigious “Boden Chair for Sanskrit” at the Oxford University to promote the translation of Christian Scriptures in Sanskrit to proceed to the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion.
Richard Temple said in an 1883 speech to a London missionary society: “India presents the greatest of all fields of missionary exertion... India is a country which of all others we are bound to enlighten with external truth... But what is most important to you friends of missions, is this that there is a large population of aborigines, a people who are outside caste.... If they are attached, as they rapidly may be, to Christianity, they will form a nucleus round which British power and influence may gather.”
He addressed a mission in New York in bolder terms: “Thus India is like a mighty bastion which is being battered by heavy artillery. We have given blow after blow, and thud after thud, and the effect is not at first very remarkable; but at last with a crash the mighty structure will come toppling down, and it is our hope that some day the heathen religions of India will in like manner succumb.”
Macaulay, who formulated the Indian education policy in the 1830s, wrote in 1836 a letter to his father: “...It is my belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there would not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal within the span of thirty years... And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytize, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, by natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in the project.” He planned to use the strength of the educated Indians against Hinduism by creating a class that would be “Indian in blood and color but English in taste, in opinion, in morals, in intellect.” He firmly believed that, “No Hindu who has received an English education ever remains sincerely attached to his religion.”
A French Christian abbot, the Abbé Dubois, who lived in India from 1792 to 1823, alleged that India had been inhabited very soon after the Deluge, by the descendents of Noah’s son Japhet. According to his theory, these descendents of Japhet reached India from the north, coming from their first abode in the Caucasus (northern Germany, Scandinavia, southern Russia, Pamir, etc.). Those people were supposedly semi nomadic warriors and cattle breeders like the other peoples who were still living in that area in the 1700s. Dubois said that their king was called Indra and their gods were cruel destroyers like Shiva. The theory said these nomadic marauders enslaved the black Dravidian people, establishing the caste system on racial basis. The secret of their victory was the domestication of horses on which they rode, and the use of iron weapons because the “pre-Aryan” people were very primitive people who had never seen horses nor iron implements and weapons, which were considered a “sign of cultural advancement”. Today we know that such a theory was completely wrong. In the “pre-Aryan invasion” cities of Mehergarh, Harappa, Dvaraka and other places of Indus-Sarasvati civilization the inhabitants already used horses and iron implements and weapons and were extremely civilized.
On his biblical belief that the creation of the whole world had taken place only in 4004 BCE, Max Muller fixed the date of the Aryan “invasion” in India in 1500 BCE, the compilation of Rig Veda in 1200 BCE, the other Vedas in 1000 BC, the Vedanta Sutra in 800 BCE, and the Upanishads in 600 BCE. Today such dates are considered very dubious by scholars. Dr. A. C. Das states that Vedic civilization, expressed in Sanskrit language, was already there at least 25,000 years ago, especially in South India. One Harappan site at Mehergarh, near Bolan Pass in Beluchistan, shows the city was abandoned in 8000 BCE.
To justify the wonderful, advanced and rich culture that had been present in India many centuries before the arrival of the Europeans, it was necessary to formulate a suitable theory. Thus, the Aryans were described as a race of white people, coming from Central and Eastern Europe (Germany, England, Russia), who had invaded India through the Himalayas and civilized it by bringing Sanskrit, the Vedas, and what was described as the caste system. Similarly, the new invaders, the British, had all rights to “civilize” India on “racial basis” again as their forefathers had already done.
So the basis of the racist theory of European scholars was:
1) Aryans invaded India and destroyed her primitive indigenous civilization massacring the population, then settled there. Aryans were fair-skinned and handsome (that is to say, had “European” tracts).
2) Aryans drove Dravidians to the south and captured north India. Aryans and Dravidians are two different civilizations and two different nations.
3) India became one country and one nation only after the British took control over it.
4) The rigid caste system based on racial considerations was the basis of Vedic civilization.
Opposed to these points, these old theories are being brilliantly defeated by the new generation of Indian archaeologists and by the advancement of archaeology in the West:
1) Humanity cannot be divided into a small number of well divided races. Above all, the color of the skin and the somatic traits have nothing to do with intelligence and ethics.
It is unscientific to state that the individuals of white race have mental and moral qualities superior to those found in other races.
2) The term “Aryan” has been in use in Indian culture since ancient times and it has always meant anything or anybody that is good. It has never meant a race, but rather a behavior that respects certain civilized and ethical rules of conduct.
3) The original Vedic civilization of Sanskrit language that called Aryans its members was the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, identical to the civilization of the Ganges-Yamuna area. Simply, the Sarasvati River dried up and those cities were abandoned.
4) The Indus-Sarasvati civilization was destroyed not by Aryan invasion but by natural calamities connected to the drying of the great river.
5) In spite of various linguistic, physical and behavioral differences, India has been a cultural unit since Vedic times. There is a definite continuity between the Indian culture described in the Vedas and the one found in Indus-Sarasvati civilization.
The theory of the Aryan invasion of white complexioned people who defeated, enslaved and chased away a black complexioned indigenous population of Dravidians was also intended to create hostility and separation between the various ethnic groups in India, especially between north and south India. The European colonizers needed to manipulate the sentiments of northern Indians, already weakened by the centuries of submission to the Muslim invaders and rulers, against the south Indians who had been fiercely opposing the Muslim invasions and still largely maintained Vedic civilization and knowledge. As we may remember, during the Middle Ages most of the great teachers of Vedic knowledge came from South India: Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva.
THE “HISTORICAL” PERIOD
Historical records, according to western academics, cannot contain concepts about divine consciousness, poetic expressions and presentation of moral, religious or ethical teachings, which are considered characteristics of myth and epics. Since Vedic civilization is strongly based on divine consciousness, loves poetic expressions in all aspects of life, and always strives to improve the character of people through teachings in its literature, the enormous wealth of historical recordings contained in Vedic texts is not accepted as “real history” by mainstream academics.
Thus, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as Homer's famous books, Iliad and Odyssey, have been classified by academics as “epics” and “mythology” while Herodotus’ stories have been classified as history. The Greek Herodotus is considered the first historian of mankind, and history texts in the planet’s schools teach about ancient civilizations according to his word. He speaks mainly of Egyptians, Persians and Greeks, so school books consider “historical” the period starting with India’s documented contact with Persians and Greeks, confirmed in Greek records. Meghasthenes, Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, wrote the Indika reports.
Also the Chinese Buddhists Fahien and H’uen Tsang left diaries of their travels through India. The Chinese people were also deeply influenced by Indian culture for at least 2,000 years.
According to mainstream history, the Persians were the first foreign invaders of India (518 BCE). However, the Persian emperor Darius did not dare to cross the Sindh and just annexed the western part of the Punjab. The Persians or Parsis seem to have deeply respected and shared India’s culture in many ways. For example, the governors of the provinces of their kingdoms were called Satraps, from the Sanskrit word Kshetra-pa, “protector of the land”. They worshiped the Sun (under the name of Mitra).
Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, arrived in India in 326 BCE in his campaign to conquer the world (he had already annexed Greece, Persia, Egypt, Afghanistan and surrounding territories). However, he was pushed back by the Indian kshatriyas in the Ganges valley.
Western history books say that Alexander’s army was “tired from the long war and feared the unknown territories”, so their leader just turned back. It is possible that such decision was simply dictated by the fact that Alexander’s army was composed by foot infantry and horsemen, while the Hindu warriors had elephants and chariots. However, there are also some documents with stories told by his soldiers that include “magic wonders” like fire-weapons, flying missiles, and other war devices that Greeks had never seen before. They could not fight against such superior technology, so they refused the battle.
However, Greeks were strongly impressed by the contact with India. Greek philosophers, like Anaxarchus and Pyrrho, had been in the train of Alexander and had mixed with the Indian gymnosophists or “naked philosophers”. Even the more ancient Pythagoreans were influenced by Indian ideas – vegetarianism, communal property and the “transmigration of souls” (which they called metempsychosis). For Greeks, psyche meant “soul”.
At those times, India was teeming with culture and science. In 700 BCE the university of Takshashila had more than 10,500 students from all over the world, studying over 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda was built in the 4th century BCE. The sciences studied algebra, trigonometry and calculus. Medicine and surgery were also extremely advanced. In 600 BCE Sushruta recorded complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical instruments were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
The Bactrian (Afghan) Greeks or Seleucids also came in contact with India, and reached Punjab. However, they were strongly influenced by Indian culture. One of their kings, Menander or Milinda, was defeated by king Pusyamitra and he converted to Buddhism.
Heliodorus, ambassador of king Antialkidas, became a Vaishnava (and erected the famous Garuda pillar at Basenagar, the modern Bhopal). [This Heliodorus Column is found in the town of Vidisha. It states that he had become a Vaishnava, and this proved that the Vaishnava tradition pre-dated Christianity by at least 200 years.]
The Romans never even considered the possibility to embark in the conquest of India, and contented themselves by greedily purchasing her goods.
The Sakas (Scythians) who came to India from the 1st century BCE belonged to cultures that had been strongly influenced by Vedic knowledge, if not originally Vedic. They settled in Gandhara, Taxila, Mathura, Maharastra and Ujjain, but they did not oppose Vedic culture in any way.
The Parthians or Pahalavas could also be considered as belonging to Vedic culture, although they are said to have came from the Caspian Sea region. They were accepted as Vedic peoples because they spoke Sanskrit and honored Vedic knowledge.
The next famous “foreign” kingdom, the Kushanas headed by Kanishka, was a Buddhist state (around 110 CE). The capital city of Kanishka was Purushapura (Peshwar), from which we can easily understand that he also spoke Sanskrit. Under his patronage, the Sanskrit scholar Asvaghosa (author of Buddha Charita and Sutralankara) and the physician Charaka (author of Charaka Samhita) prospered. Other famous scholars at the court of Kanishka were Vasumitra (author of Mahavibhasha Sastra, an encyclopedia of Buddhist philosophy) and Nagarjuna (author of Madhyamika Sutra, a treatise on philosophy).
THE HINDU KINGDOMS
North India, where already the Indus-Sarasvati civilization flourished, the kingdoms tended to expand and create empires.
The sixteen main kingdoms of the north were (Maha jana padas) were known as Kashi (Benares), Anga (Bhagalpur), Videha (north Bihar), Chedi (Bundelkhand), Kuru (Delhi), Matsya (Jaipur), Avanti (Malwa), Surasena (Mathura), Kosala (Awadh), Magadha (Patna and Gaya), Malla (Gorakhpur), Vatsa (Kaushambi), Panchala (Bareilly), Asmaka (Godavari valley), Gandhara (north west province), and Kamboja (Afghanistan).
In the south, the dynasties of Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras remained peacefully settled in their territories. After these, the Vakatakas, Chalukyas, Pallavas and Pandyas became prominent. The history of South India is full of prosperous and beautiful kingdoms that loved peace and order. It is said that peaceful and prosperous times are very pleasurable for those who live in that period, but make scarcely interesting history. Specifically, South India was spared, for a long time, many of the problems that north India had to face, such as the invasions of hostile peoples who came generally from north-west.
The contacts of the Hindu kingdoms of South India with foreign lands were mostly with the cultural colonies in south east Asia, such as Sri Lanka, Singapore (Simhapur), Java (Yavadvip), Cambodia (where the Hindu temple of Angkor Vat still stands), Bali, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, and Malaysia. When Buddhism was spread by Ashoka, monks traveled to China, Korea and Japan where Buddhism had great success.
The kingdom of Magadha is documented from 542 BCE with records about Bimbisara, Ajatasatru and the Nandas.
Ajatasatru reigned from 495 to 463 BCE and defeated king Prasenajit, the king of Kosala, who then offered him his daughter in marriage. Ajatasatru also defeated the rulers of Vaisali after 16 years of competition and built a fort at Pataliputra, at the confluence between the Ganga and the Sona. His last successor, Kalasoka, was killed by Mahapadma Nanda in 362. Mahapadma died in 346, and his kingdom was divided into 8 smaller kingdoms by his sons. In this period Darius the Persian and then Alexander came in contact with India.
In 321 BCE Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas and started the Maurya dynasty. He was famous also because of his advisor Chanakya Pandit. Chandragupta had regular diplomatic relationships with the Greeks and also started to have commercial relationships with the Roman Empire.
The son of Chandragupta, Bindusara, became king in 297 BCE and Bindusara’s son, Ashoka, became king in 273 BCE.
Ashoka is famous as the emperor who converted to Buddhism, transforming it from a small movement into the state religion of his empire. He ruled from Pataliputra (modern Bihar), and in the effort to expand his kingdom he descended to south to conquer Orissa. He found a very strong resistance, and the battle of Kalinga, just outside the present day Bhubaneswar, cost the lives of many thousands of people. The river became tainted with the blood of the warriors, and Ashoka fully realized the tragedy of violence. He became a Buddhist and in the same place (Dhauli) he declared the famous edicts for his government. He established hospitals for human beings and animals, built roads and rest houses for travelers, planted shady trees and bore wells for the prosperity of all his subjects.
The empire of Ashoka included a vast area of the Greeks’ eastern empire established a century earlier. After Alexander, the Seleucides ruled the Greek empire east of the Euphrates. A century later they had taken over the kingdom of Antigonus in Syria and Asia Minor but had lost control of Parthia, Bactria and the Indus valley. The edict of Ashoka reads: “Now it is conquest by Dhamma that Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest ...And conquest by Dhamma has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule ... Here in the king’s domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas ... everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods’ instructions in Dhamma. Even where ‘Beloved-of-the-Gods’ envoys have not been, these people too, having heard of the practice of Dhamma and the ordinances and instructions in Dhamma given by Beloved-of-the-Gods, are following it and will continue to do so ...This conquest has been won everywhere, and it gives great joy – the joy which only conquest by Dhamma can give. But even this joy is of little consequence. Beloved-of-the-Gods considerd the great fruit to be experienced in the next world to be more important. I have had this Dhamma edict written so that my sons and great-grandsons ... consider making conquest by Dhamma only, for that bears fruit in this world and the next.”
In 185 BCE the last Mauryan king, descendent of Ashoka, was killed and the empire declined. Pushyamitra founded a new dynasty, called Shungas, with its capital at Pataliputra. Pushyamitra ruled from 185 to 158 BCE. Several texts circulated in his period, such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Panini’s grammar, and the Manu Smriti.
The last king of the dynasty, Devabhumbi, was succeeded by his minister Vasudeva Kanva who founded his own dynasty and reigned for 46 years. In 28 BCE the last king of his dynasty was succeeded by king Susarman of Andhra, starting the Andhra dynasty.
In the first century CE the Shakas and Kushanas came in contact with India, as we have already mentioned.
In 320 Srigupta conquered Magadha. His successors were Ghatotkacha, Chandragupta I, Samudragupta (who expanded the empire from ocean to ocean, but leaving the kingdoms to the previous rulers, contenting himself with the payment of tributes), Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (who defeated the Saka satraps of Malwa, Gujarat, Konkan and established his capital in Ujjain). At the court of Vikramaditya there were nine great scholars, among those the poet Kalidas. The next kings in the dynasty were Kumaragupta and Skandagupta.
The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fa Hien started his travels from China in 399 and remained in India from 405 to 411, writing a detailed account of the Gupta period. He returned to China in 414. He writes that the government in India was very good. The taxes were low, the roads safe, with a very good discipline among the people. There were no criminals or bribery: corruption among government officers was punished by the king with the amputation of the hands. The people obtained medicines free of charge, and there were free rest houses for travelers. The entire population was vegetarian. Their religion was Hinduism, Buddhism, or Jainism.
In this period the universities developed. The famous Taxila grew with many students, and other universities were founded at Nalanda, Sarnath, and Vallabhi. Some of the most famous scholars of these learning centers were: in astronomy, Aryabhatta (who affirmed the heliocentric cosmology) and Varahmihira, in mathematics Brahmagupta, and in medicine Vriddha Vagbhatta.
In 550, the Gupta empire became weaker after the invasions of the Huns, who at some point controlled Malwa, Punjab, Kashmir, Sindh, Gujarat, Bengal, and Assam.
Around 600, two new powers emerged, the Vardhanas of Thaneswar (near Kurukshetra in Haryana) and the Maukharis of Kanauj. Prabhakar Vardhana was the first Vardhana ruler. In 606 his son Rajya Vardhana was killed in a war against Deva Gupta and his ally Sasank (ruler of Bengal). The brother of his wife Rajya Sri, Harshavardhana, became king. He united the two kingdoms of Thaneswar and Kanauji, shifting the capital to Kanauji, gathered a large army (50,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 5,000 elephants) and in 619 he conquered Bengal avenging his brother-in-law. He also allied with Bhaskar Varma of Assam to get local support. Harshavardhana then defeated Dhruvsena of Vallabhi (Gujarat), included Magadha, Prayag, and Orissa, and expanded his territories in the south until he was stopped by Pulakeshin II Chalukya.
The Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang reports that his government was very good and he cared for his people like a father. His kingdom was strictly vegetarian and slaughter of animals was forbidden.
The religious worship was centered on Shiva and Surya, then Buddhism became more prominent. Religious assemblies lasting 23 days were held every 5 years; about 4,000 Buddhist monks and 3,000 brahmanas participated. In 643 the assembly moved from Kanauji to Prayag.
Harshavardhana himself wrote two Sanskrit plays, Ratnavali and Priyadarsika. His friend Bana Bhatta wrote the Harsha charita and the Kadambari. One fourth of the tax income was spent on education and patronage of culture and arts. The universities continue to prosper, free of charge (even boarding and lodging were financed by the government).
The empire was divided in provinces, called Bhuktis, in turn divided into districts called Visyas, divided into smaller areas called Pathakas. Pathakas included various villages or Gramyas.
THE MUSLIM INVASIONS
While the previous contacts of India with foreign peoples “on the other side of the Sindhu” did not harm the Vedic civilization but rather contributed to make it famous and honored in all the ancient world, the Muslims were determined to destroy it. They were “the only chosen people”, destined to be the absolute masters of all other people, and their duty was to convert everybody to Islam or turn them into slaves.
Arabs were a very hardened people, living in deserts, from where they raided neighboring people for slaves, cattle, food, and wealth. They were divided in tribes, fighting against each other constantly to establish supremacy. Even within the tribe and the family, the only logic was violence and oppression. Their society was strongly male dominated, so much that women were considered simply slaves, segregated in harems, sold and purchased or killed at will: mere property of men.
In 610 CE Mohammed started preaching Islam in Mecca, adapting for the Arab people the teachings of the Bible he had studied from Jews and Christians. However, a fierce opposition against his preaching of moderate reforms forced him to flee to Medina in 622. There he gathered followers and went back to fight the tribes who opposed him and conquered Mecca in 630.
His successors, the Caliphs, continued to fight against the tribes that did not submit to Islam, and even the “rebel” Muslims who did not accept their authority, like the Shiites. In fact the succession to Mohammed at the head of Islam was difficult and characterized by quarrel, conspiracy and assassination. Several groups claimed the right to succession, and they continued to fight each other.
Simultaneously, they immediately started to look outside Arabia to conquer new territories: the Byzantine Empire, Persia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt fell one after the other under the Muslim assaults, within 642 CE. In spite of internal fights and divisions, the Muslims continued to conquer North Africa, and in 711 they reached India on one side and Spain (Europe) on the opposite side of their world. They conquered the Sindh in 712 but they were stopped there. Also, after conquering Spain, the Muslims were stopped by the Franks in 732 at Poitiers, France. For a period, they suspended their invasions to consolidate their power in their new lands and make some money by selling the booty to those peoples they had been unable to conquer. They also used their wealth to develop trade. During this time, their frequent contacts with India in their trade business enabled them to acquire a great knowledge of Indian sciences, which they spread in their lands and in the lands of the people with whom they were trading. They also observed the Indian society and mentality, studying their weak points, and made careful plans for the future.
The next Muslim wave of invasion was led in 1000 CE by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, famous as a ruthless destroyer and plunderer of temples. He raided India 17 times, destroying Nagorkot (Kangra), Thaneswar, Mathura, Somnath, and innumerable other holy places of Vedic civilization.
From the accounts of Arikh-i-Yamini of Utbi, the secretary of Mahmud Gaznavi, we read that at Somnath, “The Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshipers of sun and fire.... The number of infidels killed exceeded 50,000.” At Mathura, “The infidels...deserted the fort and tried to cross the foaming river...but many of them were slain, taken or drowned... Nearly fifty thousand men were killed.” At Thaneshwar, “The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously at Thanesar that the stream was discolored, not withstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultan returned with plunder which is impossible to count. Praise be to Allah for the honor he bestows on Islam and Muslims.”
The violence and ruthlessness of the invaders, and their knowledge of the Indians’ weak points, caught Indian kshatriyas unprepared and divided. Their strength had already been weakened by the decline of Vedic knowledge due to the Kali-yuga: frustrated by the unqualified brahmanas who misinterpreted the scriptures and monopolized religion for their materialistic profit, many princes and kingdoms had turned to the extreme non-violence, tolerance and peacefulness of Buddhism and Jainism.
The others were distracted by the materialistic interpretations of the scriptures that weakened their people, had lost the original knowledge of kshatriya principles and the science of warfare, and had fallen into endless rivalry and political conspiracies aimed at getting more material power by taking it from others.
The Muslim marauders attacked and plundered the Hindu temples, and they completely destroyed all Buddhist monasteries and universities. For them, the Hindus were simple “idolaters”, but the Buddhists were declared “atheists” and therefore “enemies of God”.
While until around 1000 CE Buddhism had become the most important religious movement in India, after the terrorist attacks of Mahmud of Ghazni and his successors, all the Buddhists of India were either slaughtered or fled outside India, east and south. They settled in Indonesia, China, Japan, Tibet, Lanka, and prospered there.
The Turkish Muhammad Ghori invaded India in 1191 CE. This time he would not content himself of plundering raids: he was determined to remain in India as the ruler. At first he was defeated by Prithviraj Rajputan, but he managed to procure local alliances against the Hindu king, and in the second battle of Tarain (1192) Prithviraj was defeated, captured and killed. Thus, Muhammad Ghori captured Ajmer and Delhi, and the Turkish conquest expanded later in the same way to Bengal and Bihar, Malwa and Gujarat. The great city of Nadia, the capital city of Bengal under king Lakshmanasena, was captured and completely destroyed. In fact, nothing today shows that it used to be the rich and powerful capital of Bengal. The same fate had already happened to Mathura.
From Hasan Nizami’s Taj-ul-Maasir, we read this account of the activities of Mahmud of Ghori. In Kol (Modern Aligarh), “Those of the horizon who were wise and acute were converted to Islam, but those who stood by their ancestral faith were slain with the sword... Three bastions were raised as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcasses became food for the beasts of prey... 20,000 prisoners were taken and made slaves.”
The Kamil-ut-Tawarikh of Ibn Asir records the destruction of Kashi (Benares): “The slaughter of Hindus (at Varanasi) was immense; none were spared except women and children (who were taken into slavery) and the carnage of men went on until the earth was weary.”
By imposing terror with their unprecedented cruelty and ruthlessness, by treason and conspiracy, and especially by exploiting the divisions and weakness of the small local kingdoms, and the greed and foolishness of their unqualified rulers, Muslims gradually defeated all the Hindu kings and created a powerful empire. They destroyed everything on their way and carefully arranged the rules of their government in such a way that Hindus could not re-organize and revolt. For example, by exploiting the degraded caste system they forcibly “polluted” important, intelligent or capable Hindus, who were then ousted by their own community. How could they “pollute” a Hindu, causing him to irrevocably “lose his caste” and “religion” in the eyes of his community? Simply by throwing some water at him from their cup. Such an easy and childish trick guaranteed that all of the victim’s family and descendents were also ousted by the Hindu community forever.
Qutbuddin Aibek, a former slave (Mamluk) of Muhammad Ghori, was the first ruler of the Sultanate of Delhi, the major power in India from 1192 to 1526, although under different dynasties. In order to control the higher classes of Hindus and prevent alliances among them, all marriages among the nobles had to be approved by the Sultan himself. In 1324 the territories of the Delhi Sultanate reached up to Madurai, but from 1334 to 1336 the Hindu Pandyan dynasties of Madurai and Warangal took advantage of an epidemic of bubonic plague that had decimated the Sultan's army, and created a space for themselves. Harihara Pandya founded the empire of Vijayanagar, thus creating an oasis of Vedic civilization in south India, where many Hindus, especially scholars, fled from the north. In Vijayanagara's kingdom women were highly honored and had prominent positions also in religious life. The administration and defense of the kingdom was supported by many local military chiefs called Nayaks. The kingdom lasted until 1565, when it was crushed by the combined armies of the Deccan Sultanates.
During their domination, Muslims imposed their customs on the Hindus all over India, especially the purdah system (the systematic segregation, dress code and oppression of women) and the use of Arabic script in Indian languages (which led to the creation of the new language, Urdu). The use of Devanagari script was prohibited.
Dance, arts and literature were strongly modified, losing much of their freedom of expression. Temple worship and rituals were greatly restricted or forbidden altogether.
Muslims also systematically destroyed Hindu temples and built mosques on the most important holy places of the Hindus, such as Ayodhya (the birthplace of Rama), Mathura (the birthplace of Krishna) and many others.
They imposed a heavy tax on all those who did not accept to become Muslims, and cut them out from any government job and gave Muslim names to cities and people. This practice is currently ongoing in Indonesia. All along, they built mosques everywhere and their priests thundered against idolatry, polytheism, the backward superstitions, and indecent customs of the Hindus. At the same time, they offered great benefits to all those who accepted to convert to Islam, guaranteeing jobs, financial benefits, social respect, and power. In this way, they multiplied their numbers creating enemies for Hindus from the same cultural and ethnic groups. The greatest number of converts came from the lower castes of Hinduism, who had a long standing social resentment against the higher castes. In order to convince their masters of the genuineness of their conversion, the new Indian Muslims were often more fanatical and oppressive against Hindus than the invaders themselves.
To try to soften the Muslims’ attitude towards Hindus, Guru Nanak started his movement, known as Sikhism. Sikhism is nothing but Hinduism presented in a language and form that can be more easily acceptable by Muslims. This protected the Sikhs from the persecution of the Muslims and gave them the possibility to survive, become better organized, and eventually fight for freedom.
The Sikhs were later organized in a military and political organization by Guru Gobind Singh (born in 1666 in Patna, Bihar, and killed in 1708 at Nandar, Deccan), who became Guru of the Sikhs at the age of nine, when the previous Guru Tegh Bahadur was murdered in Delhi. He introduced the Sikh baptism for his disciples and the symbols of their belonging to the faith as the 5 Ks, or Kesh, Kanga, Kara, Kirpan, Kachcha: namely unshorn hair, a comb, a steel bangle, a sword, and short underwear. He declared that after him, the Grantha (book) of the Sikhs would become their Guru. Two of his sons were killed in battle against the Mogul, and the other two were buried alive by a Mogul governor.
The Muslim mystics called Sufis, too, absorbed many Hindu practices thus making them more acceptable to the mainstream Muslims. Sufis insisted on love of God (bhakti), gentleness towards all living entities, non-violence (and vegetarianism), charity, renunciation of material power, acceptance of the spiritual guidance of a self-realized saint (guru). They also started monasteries to take care of the needs of pilgrims and travelers (the equivalent of Hindu dharmashalas). Their preaching gave more importance to the merciful aspect of God and the compassionate teachings of Mohammed, who had reformed Arab society by abolishing many cruel customs.
By stressing the fact that God is one only, father of all human beings and creator of all living entities, the Sufi saints convinced the Muslims that Hindus, too, were worshiping the same God although in different ways. Simultaneously, they offered an example of transcendent spirituality and asceticism to the Hindu society that was already being reformed by the followers of Adi Shankara, Ramanuja, and Madhva. These great Hindu teachers did not deny the value of traditional Vedic rituals and Deity worship, but they gave great importance to philosophy, theology and mysticism already contained in the Vedas that enabled Hinduism to resist the cultural invasion. Previously, the cultivation of philosophy, theology, and mysticism, called Bhakti, was practiced by a small elite of renunciants or priests, while the majority of the population relied on external rituals and social religiosity.
The Muslim oppression forced Hindus to change their attitude and rethink their approach to religion. The Bhakti movement was strongly favored because it could be compared, in the eyes of the Muslim rulers and population, to the Sufi movement that had developed in Islam from the contact with Hinduism, and therefore it was more acceptable than the traditional Vedic ritualistic approach. Simultaneously, the worship of the Mother Goddess, with its philosophical and social implications, became secret (the Tantric tradition), leaving the front line to the worship of Vishnu, who was more easily understandable and acceptable by the Muslims, equating him with their Allah.
For example, saint Kabir, a Muslim born in 1440 CE and equally honored by Muslims and Hindus, preached that Allah and Rama are both names of the same God, and all human beings are equal to God because they have been created by him.
On the Hindu side, Bhakti flourished with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Bengal and Orissa, Ramananda (disciple of Ramanuja) in north India, and the Rajput queen Mirabai in west India. Surdas, Tukaram, Namdeva, and Ekanam became famous in Maharastra.
All these saints accepted both Hindus and Muslims as their disciples and favored the personal relationship with God and the congregational glorification of God against the social and ritualistic aspects of temple worship. In fact, such practices as the chanting of God’s names, cultivation of exclusive devotion for the Supreme God (very similar to the Muslim theological concept) and renunciation to worldly life in favor of asceticism and transcendence, non-violence, and tolerance, were more easily allowed by the Muslim rulers, who did not consider them dangerous for their government.
In 1398 the Sultanate of Delhi was weakened by the invasion of the Mongol Tamerlane (Talmur), a relative of Gengis Khan (who terrorized north Asia and Europe by killing 4 million people there). The Sultanate finally ended in 1526 when the Mogul (Mongol) Babur, descendent of Tamerlane, killed Ibrahim Lodhi, the last Sultan of Delhi, on the battlefield. Lodhi was the only Sultan who died in battle in all India’s history.
The weakening of the Delhi Sultanate allowed some space for other kingdoms to rebuild their power: in western India Malwa and Gujarat, in eastern India Jaunpur and Bengal, in northern India Kashmir, and in southern India Vijayanagar and Bahamani. Some of these kingdoms were Hindu, some were Muslim. Subsequently, they were absorbed by the Mogul empire.
The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, witnessed first hand the atrocities Babur committed on Hindus: “Having attacked Khuraasaan, Babar terrified Hindustan... There was so much slaughter that the people screamed.” About the treatment of Hindu women: “Those heads adorned with braided hair, with their parts painted with vermillion - those heads were shaved with scissors... They lived in palatial mansions, but now... ropes were put around their necks, and their strings of pearls were broken. Their wealth and youthful beauty, which gave them so much pleasure, have now become their enemies. The order was given to the soldiers, who dishonored them and carried them away.”
We also have descriptions written by the Muslims themselves, for example from the Insha-i-Mahry by Amud Din Abdullah bin Mahru. In Delhi, regarding the Sultan Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi: “A report was brought to the Sultan than there was in Delhi an old Brahman who persisted in publicly performing the worship of idols in his house and that people of the city, both Muslims and Hindus used to resort to his house to worship the idol. The Brahman had constructed a wooden tablet which was covered within and without with paintings of demons and other objects. An order was accordingly given to the Brahman and was brought before Sultan. The true faith was declared to the Brahman and the right course pointed out, but he refused to accept it. A pile was risen on which the Kaffir with his hands and legs tied was thrown into and the wooden tablet on the top. The pile was lit at two places his head and his feet. The fire first reached him in the feet and drew from him a cry and then fire completely enveloped him. Behold Sultan for his strict adherence to law and rectitude.”
After Hindus paid the “religious toleration tax” (zar-i zimmiya) and poll-tax (jizya) they believed they had the permission to build their temples, but it was not so. “Under divine guidance I (Sultan) destroyed these temples and I killed the leaders of these infidelity and others I subjected to stripes (flogging) and chastisement.”
In Gohana (Haryana), “Some Hindus had erected a new idol-temple in the village of Kohana and the idolaters used to assemble there and perform their idolatrous rites. These people were seized and brought before me. I ordered that the perverse conduct of these leaders of this wickedness be punished publicly and that they should be put to death before the gate of the palace.”
The objectives of the expedition of the Sultan to Jajnagar, Orissa, as stated in Ainn-ul-Mulk, were, in order, massacring the unbelievers, demolishing their temples, hunting the elephants and getting a glimpse of their enchanting country. The Sirat-i-Firoz Shahi records the expedition: “Nearly 100,000 men of Jajnagar had taken refuge with their women, children, kinsmen and relations The swordsmen of Islam turned the island into a basin of blood by the massacre of the unbelievers. Women with babies and pregnant ladies were haltered, manacled, fettered and enchained, and pressed as slaves into service in the house of every soldier.”
These are only a few of the numerous accounts of similar expeditions and jihad (“holy” war) campaigns of the Muslims against the Hindus.
From 1338 to 1339 the Muslim rulers of Bengal, who had been subject to the Delhi Sultanate, developed a strong desire to form their own Sultanate. In 1342 Mubarak Shah was deposed and murdered by one of his officers, Haji Iliyas, who declared himself the independent master and Sultan of Bengal with the title of Shamsuddhin Iliyas Shah.
Then he proceeded to completely subdue Bihar, invaded Assam and Nepal and plundered Orissa. A Hindu kshatriya of Bengal, named Raja Ganesh, succeeded to take the power away from the Muslims for about 32 years, and his government was so much better than the previous Muslim governments that at his death both Muslims and Hindus mourned him. Unfortunately, the power soon returned in the hands of the Muslims, with the Habsi kings (Abyssinian slave rulers) whose tyranny disgusted even their Muslim subjects. These revolted and chose Hussain Shah for the throne (1493-1519), who invaded Assam and offered government jobs to Hindus who were willing to merely change their names and dress. Several Hindus accepted, such as Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallick.
The successors of the Delhi Sultanate were the Mughals or Moguls, also Muslims. As already mentioned, in 1526 the Mongol Babur, a descendent of Tamerlane who had conquered vast territories, including Kabul in Afghanistan, came and defeated the last Sultan of Delhi. The Mogul rule was constantly threatened by the Afghan Sultans, who had become very powerful in the region of Bengal and Bihar and wanted revenge.
Babur’s son Humayun succeeded him. Humayun’s son Akbar ascended the throne in 1556 and he immediately started to conquer new territories to expand his empire. He defeated the Hindu queen Rani Durgabati of Gondwana who died on the battlefield, then attacked the Rajput states, Gujarat and Bengal, then South India.
At the time of Akbar’s death the Mogul empire extended from the Himalayas to the Godavari, from the Hindukush to the Brahmaputra. However, he was fiercely opposed by the Rajputs, and especially the kingdom of Mewar, led by Rana Pratap and his son Amar Singh.
Akbar observed that the wave of conversions of Hindus to Islam had stopped. He tried to take advantage of the growing Bhakti movements by instituting a “Hall of Prayer” open to all religions in 1578, but apparently the idea didn’t work according to his plans, because he decided to close it indefinitely in 1582.
Akbar’s son, Salim called Jahangir, succeeded to conquer the kingdom of Mewar and the Rajputs. He pushed back the Portuguese who had tried to take hold of Bengal, by killing 4,000 of them. However, he maintained friendly relationships with the English traders who seemed to be rivals to the Portuguese.
Jahangir’s son Khurram or Shahjahan deposed his father and ascended the throne.
In 1632 Shahjahan ordered that all Hindu temples recently erected or in the course of construction should be razed to the ground. In Benares alone seventy-six temples were destroyed. He had ten thousand inhabitants at Agra and Lahore executed by being ‘blown up with powder, drowned in water or burnt by fire”. Four thousand were taken captive to Agra where they were tortured to try to convert them to Islam. Those who refused to do so were trampled to death by elephants, except for the younger women who went to harems. Under Shahjahan, peasants were compelled to sell their women and children to meet their revenue requirements. The peasants were carried off to various markets and fairs to be sold with their poor unhappy wives carrying their small children crying and lamenting. According to Qaznivi, Shahjahan had decreed they should be sold to Muslims.
To increase his personal prestige, Shahjahan created the famous Peacock Throne and the Red Fort in Delhi. He remodeled a famous Shiva temple in Agra, called Tejo Mahila, turning it into the tomb of one of his wives, with the name Taj Mahal. Soon after that, he became ill and his four sons started to fight among them for the succession. He appointed Dara Sirok, but Shuja and Murad independently crowned themselves. Aurangzeb, the fourth son, was more clever and chose to build alliances first: he offered his support to Murad and together they defeated the imperial army led by Dara Sirok. After the victory, Aurangzeb imprisoned Murad in Gwalior, then entered Agra where the old emperor Shahjahan was recovering from his illness, and imprisoned him, too. In 1658 Aurangzeb ascended the throne, captured Dara Sirok by treason and put him to death the following year, then defeated Shuja, who was also killed while escaping. Then Aurangzeb dedicated his full attention to suppress rebellions throughout his reign and expanding its limits, destroying temples and persecuting Hindus until his death in 1707. Aurangzeb considered himself “The Scourge of the Kafirs” (non-believers) and closed all Hindu schools and libraries. In his lifetime he destroyed more than 10,000 Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples and often erected mosques in their stead. In 1672 several thousand revolting Hindus were slaughtered in Mewat.
From Maasi-i-Alamgiri we read, “Issued general order to destroy all centers of Hindu learning including Varnasi and destroyed the temple at Mathura and renamed it as Islamabad.” In Khandela (Rajastan) he killed 300 Hindus in one day because they resisted the destruction of their temple. In Udaipur all Hindus of the town were killed as they vowed to defend the temple of Udaipur from destruction, 172 temples were destroyed in Udaipur and 66 temples were pulled down in Amber. In Pandhapur, Maharashtra the Emperor destroyed the temple and ordered the butchering of cows in it. In Punjab Muslim governors killed hundreds of Sikh children and made Sikh men and women eat the flesh of their own killed children. Any Muslim bringing the head of a dead Sikh was also awarded money.
Aurangzeb’s tyranny was successfully opposed for some time by the Hindu kingdom of the Marathas from west India, led by Shivaji.
SHIVAJI AND THE MARATHAS
The Marathas are a proud warrior race that had resisted the conquest of emperor Harsha in the 7th century. The Maratha dynasties of the ancient (pre-Muslim) period are the Chalukyas (500 CE to 750 CE), the Rastrakutas (750 to 978) and the Yadavas or Jadhavs (1175 to 1318). They opposed the Muslim invasion in 1314 under the last Yadava king, but they were defeated and became vassals and mercenaries (Sardars or generals) of the Muslim rulers, collecting revenue for them.
Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai, was a direct descendent of the Yadava royal family of Devagiri, and deeply influenced her son, together with his teacher Dadaji Kondeo and great saints like Jnanesvara and Tukaram.
In 1645, at the age of 17, at the cave temple of Shiva Rairesvar in the Sayhadris, Shivaji and his friends took a blood oath to establish a free Hindu state, called “Hindavi Svaraja”.
In the course of time, it became the strongest power in India, its territories stretching from Attock in present Pakistan to Cuttack in Orissa.
Shivaji started by capturing the fortress of Torana from the Muslim ruler at Bijapur. The Sultan of Bijapur, Adil Shah, sent his most powerful general Afzal Khan to punish Shivaji. His plan was to get Shivaji down from the Sahyadri hills by destroying Hindu temples in the plains at Tuljapur, Pandharpur and Shikhar Shenganapur. Shivaji sent Afzal Khan a letter inviting him to come up the hills to meet him with a few select soldiers for a duel, and Afzal Khan accepted. Arrived at Pratapgad on 10th November 1659, Afzal Khan tried to stab the apparently unarmed Shivaji while embracing him, but Shivaji was wearing a coat of armor under his heavy silk robes, and hiding two small weapons, too: a Wagh Nakh, a sharp blade resembling tiger’s claws, and a Bicchwa, a small curved dagger. Afzal Khan was killed. The Khan’s army waiting in the valley was defeated by the Marathas who jumped out from the jungles around Pratapgad fort.
Later, Adil Shah sent another general, Siddhi Jouhar, who besieged Shivaji’s fortress in Panhalgad for some months, but Shivaji managed to escape to Vishalgad. Then the Bijapur ruler dropped the idea of fighting against the Marathas and Shivaji turned his attention to the Mogul empire.
Aurangzeb was furious about Shivaji’s attacks and sent his uncle Shaista Khan with a big army who destroyed temples, forts, towns, villages and fields on its path. Shaista established his camp in Shivaji’s home, the Lal Mahal in Pune, and put up his harem in Shivaji’s Devghar (prayer room). Finally, in April 1663, Shivaji sneaked into the Lal Mahal at night time and attacked the Khan cutting his fingers while he was trying to escape from the window. He spared the Khan’s life on the request of the Khan’s wife, and this gave the Khan the opportunity to call his troops. Shivaj escaped. The Khan returned to Delhi and Aurangzeb sent another general, Mirza Raja Jai Singh from the Suryavanshi Kachhawaha, a Hindu general at the service of the Muslim. This Hindu dynasty had submitted to the Muslims by giving their daughters in marriage to the Mogul Padishah. Mirza and his general Diler Khan laid siege to Purandar and systematically destroyed rural Maharastra.
The Maratha fort commander at Purandar, Murar Baji, stormed out of the fort and pushed back the Moguls to Diler Khan’s camp in the plains. Diler Khan tried to bribe Murar Baji by offering him the post of general in his army, but Murar Baji refused the proposal and was killed during his visit in the Mogul camp.
Shivaji signed a treaty with Mirza Raja Jai Singh, and as a part of the conditions he went with him to Agra to meet Aurangzeb. There he was imprisoned in Mirza’s house. While he was waiting to be shifted to the Mogul dungeons, he escaped with his son Sambaji hiding in two large baskets of fruits and sweetmeats that were to be sent from the house as gifts to brahmanas. Shivaji’s general Netaji Palkar, also captured, was forced to convert to Islam and change his name to Quli Mohammed Khan, serving as a Mogul soldier in Afghanistan, but he managed to escape and return to Shivaji and to his Hindu faith. Some of his other friends were tortured to death.
After escaping from Agra, Shivaji regrouped his army and recaptured all the forts that he had been forced to surrender to the Moguls with the treaty of Purandar, including the fort of Kondana, a strategic position near Pune, in the center of a line including Rajgad, Purandar, and Torna. The conquest of Kondana was made possible by the bravery of Tanaji who died in the fight, so the fort was renamed as “Singhagad” in honor of their “lion” warrior.
Then Shivaji was crowned as the king of the Marathas by Ganga Bhatt, a brahmana from Benares. The coronation took place at Raigad on 6th June, 1674.
In the days after the coronation, a Maratha Sardar (general) abducted the daughter in law of the Muslim Subahadar of Kalyan near Mumbai, to offer her as a Nazarana (tribute) to the new king. To his surprise, Shivaji returned the girl to her family with all respect, and rebuked the general warning that any Maratha general who committed a similar offense to women would be punished with the amputation of his hands. It is said that the girl then called him “an angel” and prayed the Lord to bless him with all success. Later, Shivaji launched his campaign in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu up to Thanjavur. From 1674 to Shivaji’s death in 1680, his kingdom was relatively peaceful because the Moguls had given up trying to molest the Marathas. The kingdom of Shivaji, like the kingdom of Mewad, was bold enough to issue their own coinage with Sanskrit inscriptions in gold and copper. After Shivaji’s death, Aurangzeb ordered all these coins to be collected and melted.
Shivaji’s son Sambaji became the next king, but he was not as qualified as his father. He was finally captured by the Moguls and tortured to death. His step brother Rajaram was then crowned king, but he was also weak and fled Raigad when the fort was about to be besieged by Aurangzeb, leaving behind his wife and son who were taken captive by the Moguls. He spent the rest of his life fleeing around, while his generals like Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav fought a guerrilla war against the Muslims. In 1700, Rajaram fell ill and died, and his wife Tarabai reigned from 1700 to 1707, with the support of the two generals.
In 1707 Aurangzeb died and his son Azamshah proclaimed himself emperor. In order to win the Marathas to his side, Azamshah freed Rajaram’s son Shahu, who had been a prisoner from 1689 to 1707, and Shahu claimed the throne against Tarabai. He fought the Maratha army and he installed himself as the Chatrapati (king of the Marathas). However, he had to rely heavily on his assistant, who became Prime Minister (Peshwa) and the actual ruler. From that time, the Prime Ministers became more powerful than the king.
The Maratha forces led by the first Peshwa, Balaji Vishvanath, defeated the Mogul army in Delhi, in an alliance with the Syed brothers against the Mogul emperor Farrukhsiyyar. This was the beginning of the Maratha’s influence on Delhi that lasted until 1803, when they were supplanted by the British. In 1740, about 80 years after Shivaji, the Marathas fought against the invasion of the Afghan Nadir Shah and his general Ahmed Shah Durrani (Abdali) who had attacked north India taking advantage of the decline of the Mogul empire. Another ambitious general, Najib Khan, wanted to crown himself emperor and ruler of India by capturing Delhi: he allied with Ahmed Shah but they were both defeated by the Marathas lead by Srimant Raghunatha Rao and Malhar Rao Holkar. The Marathas pursued the Afghans into Punjab up to Khyber Pass on Afghan border. Najib Khan convinced Malhar Rao Holkar to release him, but as soon as he was released he organized the killing of Dattaji Shinde, the eldest brother of Mahadji Shinde, and again encouraged Ahmed Shah to invade India.
The continuous court intrigues at Pune gradually weakened the Marathas and divided them. The ensuing war against the Afghans had a long stand off of one year from January 1760 to January 1761, in spite of the Marathas’ conquest of Delhi and Kunjapura (the treasury and armory of the Afghans). In the final battle at Panipat 100,000 Maratha troops were killed in 8 hours but the Afghans, who had also suffered heavy losses, decided to retreat back to Afghanistan, never to return to India again. Later, the Sikhs united under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and completed the task of the Marathas, invading Abdali’s kingdom and capturing his capital city Kabul. Between 1761 and 1790 Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadnavis and Shrimant Madhav Rao Peshwa fought against the growing power of the British in the three Anglo-Maratha wars. Finally they succumbed in the third war of 1817.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE PORTUGUESE
In 1498 the Catholic Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama had opened the sea route to India that enabled the Christian ships to avoid the need of crossing the Muslim occupied territories in order to reach India and China for trade. In 1510 Alfonso de Albuquerque captured the island of Goa on the west coast of India from the Sultan of Bijapur and made it the capital of the Portuguese colonial dominion in India.
The militaristic and imperialistic attitude of the Catholic Church was very similar to the Muslim “holy war” to conquer the world. The Church of Rome had established itself in Europe as the absolute and supreme political power, controlling kings and emperors with intolerable tyranny. By the 1500s, the Protestant reform, supported by the kingdoms of north and west Europe, left the pope with two servants only: Spain and Portugal. To rebuild the power of the Church, the pope decided to launch both of them into a world conquest “blessed by God” for a renewed power of the Church.
In 1417, with the bulla Rex Regnum, Pope Martin V gave to the king of Portugal the “right of crusade and conquest” over the Atlantic coast of Africa. At Sagres (Portugal) the Church created a great center of nautical studies, military arsenal and shipyard, and a naval base at Lagos (Portugal). From there the naval army of Portugal conquered almost all the eastern part of Africa.
Spain had also reclaimed the territories it had lost to the Muslims since the 700s (with the fall of Grenada, in 1491), converted or killed all the Muslims and Jews who lived there, and made the pope’s Inquisition the absolute and unquestionable power in the police and judiciary systems. Besides, in 1492 Columbus (financed by Spain) had “discovered” the immense territories of the Americas and claimed rights on them.
The pope wanted to keep his two servants from wasting energies in fighting each other for supremacy, so in 1494 with the treaty of Tordesillas pope Alexander VI (Ferdinando Borgia born in Jativa, Valencia, Spain, who was pope from 1492 to 1503) officially and “legally” divided the property of the entire planet between Spain and Portugal.
A line was drawn on geographical maps and the pope ordered the two kings, by “God’s authority”, to conquer all the new territories by any means, make them Christian and take away all their wealth. Portugal was allotted India and the eastern territories, while Spain retained the Americas (the “west Indies”). Both armies were accompanied by the priests of the Inquisition, who were in charge of the forced conversion to Christianity of the new territories.
Whoever refused to become a Christian was either killed or made a slave. When Columbus landed in Cuba, America, in 1492, the island had 8 million inhabitants, while 4 years later 50% of the entire population had already been massacred and the Spaniards were forced to import slaves from other islands in the Caribbean. America was called “west Indies” (as opposed to the “east Indies”, i.e. India proper), and since the Spanish conquerors of South America spoke Spanish, the native Americans in those areas (Maya, Inca, Aztec, Toltec, etc) came to be known as “indios”, the Spanish equivalent of the English “Indian”. In 1520 Mexico had 25 million inhabitants, while in 1592 the number was 1.5 million: 95% of the inhabitants had been killed. Those who remained in the subsequent centuries were a mixed breed and completely Christianized. Their original languages and customs practically lost forever.
A large part of the non-white populations of South America, besides the mixed Spanish-Indio breed, are black people or mixed breed of African origin (Spanish+African or African+Indio), because Spaniards and Portuguese carried many more slaves from Africa (who were physically stronger than Americans) to cultivate the sugar, tobacco, coffee, and cocoa fields in their new territories.
The only native populations who survived in those areas were very small numbers of nomadic and “uncivilized” tribes hiding in the deepest Amazon forests. Altogether, at the beginning of 1500s, the native populations of the entire Americas (both south and north) were estimated at about 80 million, and in the mid 1600s the number was 10 million, in a time when the entire population of the world was less than 400 million people.
The Portuguese had the same philosophy of life of the Spaniards, because they were servants of the Catholic Church, but in India the situation was more difficult than in America. They had to face the Muslim rulers, who were at least as ruthless and powerful as they were, and ready to fight back any Christian attempt at eating away their territories. An attempt of establishing a Portuguese base in Bengal was quickly stopped by the local Sultan who killed 4,000 Portuguese at one time. Then they tried on the west coast of India, establishing themselves on the island of Goa and surrounding territories. Immediately they destroyed all the Hindu temples in the area and stopped all Hindu worship and even the popular traditions that were not directly connected with the religion. All Hindu rituals, including marriages, were prohibited, and all Hindu priests were banned from the Portuguese territories. The Hindus were denied jobs while Christians were preferred, and all Hindus were obliged to assemble periodically in churches to be lectured by the priests about the inferiority of their religion.
The laws enforced by the Inquisition in 1560 prohibited the use of Indian musical instruments and Indian songs during marriage ceremonies, the use of betel and pan, and the distribution of food to poor people in honor of some deceased person. Other prohibitions concerned the harvest festivals, cooking rice without salt, fasting on Ekadasi, the holydays on Wednesdays, full moon and new moon, bathing before entering the kitchen for preparing the meals, wearing of dhoti for men and choli for women.
They also ordered all the coconut trees and Tulasi plants to be uprooted from all gardens.
All those who disobeyed the orders of the Inquisition were subject to horrible punishments. More than 2,000 people were burned alive.
Paul William Roberts, in Empire of the Soul, Some Journeys in India, writes about the methods of the Portuguese Inquisition: “Children were flogged and slowly dismembered in front of their parents whose eyelids had been sliced off to make sure they missed nothing. Extremities were amputated carefully, so that a person could remain conscious even when all that remained was a torso and a head... Those subjected to other diabolical tortures could also be counted in the thousands and the abominations continued until a brief respite in 1774... The evil resumed, continuing, almost incredibly, until June 16, 1812. At that point, British pressure put an end to terror (with) the presence of British troops stationed in Goa.”
The main preacher of Christianity in India, the Portuguese priest Xavier who was made a saint by the Church for his activities, boasted of having destroyed “hundreds of Hindu temples” by himself and “miraculously” converted people by the thousands. M. D. David, author of Western Colonialism in Asia and Christianity, writes: “...A particularly grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of ‘mass baptism’ and what went before it. The practice was begun by the Jesuits and was initiated by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), and in order to secure as many neophytes as possible, a few days before the ceremony the Jesuits would go through the streets of the Hindu quarter in pairs, accompanied by their Negro slaves, whom they would urge to seize the Hindus. When the blacks caught up a fugitive, they would smear his lips with a piece of beef, making him an ‘untouchable’ among his people. Conversion to Christianity was then his only option.”
Others found conversion politically useful, like the fishermen of Tamil Nadu who sold their souls to Christian priests in exchange of the protection of the Portuguese army against their Muslim neighbors. However, the deal was not completely voluntary. Those fishermen who refused to convert were attacked on the Malabar coast by the Portuguese navy. Entire fishing boats were set ablaze, as their women and children helplessly watched from the shores. Those fishermen who jumped into the water to save their lives, were either bayonetted or shot dead.
Xavier’s new converts were immediately taught to fight against Hindus: “When all are baptized, I order them to destroy all the temples of their false gods and break to pieces all the idols. I can give you no idea of the joy I feel in seeing this done.” Even children “... show an ardent love for the Divine law, and an extraordinary zeal for learning our holy religion and imparting it to others. Their hatred for idolatry is marvelous. They get into feuds with the heathens about it, and whenever their own parents practice it, they reproach them and come off to tell me at once. Whenever I hear of any act of idolatrous worship, I go to the place with a large band of these children, who very soon load the devil with a greater amount of insult and abuse than he has lately received of honor and worship from their parents, relations, and acquaintances. The children run at the idols, upset them, dash them down, break them to pieces, spit on them, trample on them, kick them about, and in short heap on them every possible outrage.”
To fuel hatred of the newly converted Christians against the Hindus, the Portuguese spread many false stories. One referred to Thomas the apostle, who was said to have landed in India in 52 CE at Cranganore on the Malabar coast and established the first church later known as the Syrian Church. In 68 AD, St. Thomas was allegedly martyred near modern day Chennai (Madras) and a large cathedral there now houses a basement crypt containing the relics of St. Thomas. In the cathedral of St. Thomas at Chennai (San Thome Cathedral Basilica) there is also a painting that shows Thomas praying while he is being stabbed to death with a lance by a Ramanuja Vaishnava brahmana wearing Vishnu tilak. It is interesting to remember that the Shree Vaishnavas and their tilak did not come into history until the 11th century.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE BRITISH
Since the beginning of the colonial period, the kings of England and Holland (who had recently won its independence from Spain by the Protestant revolt) had organized pirate fleets to get some crumbs of the enormous pie of the “New World” that was greedily devoured by Spain and Portugal and transported by ships to Europe. South America was very rich in gold and silver and other new and special products, such as tobacco, cocoa, maize, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, etc. These foods became extremely popular in Europe. Those plants which could grow in Europe also became widely cultivated.
England and Holland were the natural adversaries of Spain and Portugal because they had become Protestant. A little later, with the French revolution against the monarchy supported by the priests, France became a fierce adversary of the Catholic Church, too, and also engaged in the colonial race.
The success of Sir Francis Drake in piracy encouraged the government of England to finance an expedition to North America, where the British “purchased” (for a very small price and bribery) or conquered (generally by a clever game of alliances, further dividing the tribes who had already some hostility against each other) vast and scarcely populated territories. These were then used by Britain to settle “colonies” of their unwanted citizens (including religious dissidents) and procure wealth in the form of taxes from agriculture and minerary activities supported by the labor of the slaves brought from Africa. The colonies produced cotton, coffee, sugar, and other semi-tropical and tropical products that could not be grown in Europe, large amounts of timber and furs from the north, and served as a base for the hunting of whales and seals. France and Holland had the same plans, but in a much smaller scale.
Asia presented a very different situation than North America: much more interesting because of the legendary wealth already present, but densely populated and controlled by strong political powers, such as the Muslim rulers. The emphasis was then laid on commerce and trade, especially of spices, indigo dye and tea, that had been marketed in Europe since the times of the Roman Empire. The British East Company, a commercial company, was established on 31 December 1600 for spice trading, and India was the center of its attention.
According to an agreement, the Dutch East India Company secured the monopoly over southeast Asia and Indonesia, while the more powerful British East Company obtained the rights on India.
In 1608 captain Hawkins landed at Surat and came to Jahangir’s court at Agra to obtain some trade concessions. Shahjahan was annoyed by the Portuguese and allowed the British to open a factory at Surat, hoping that British and Portuguese would weaken each other. In fact, the British troops finally defeated the Portuguese and established the factory in 1612. In 1633 the East India Company also established a factory at Hariharpur (under Bengal) on the delta of the Mahanadi River. In 1640 Fort St. George was built at Madras, then the British started to acquire Bombay. In 1690 Job Charnock started a factory on the Hoogly River, not far from a Hindu holy place in the forest, called Kali Ghat. In 1695 Sobha Singh's rebellion led the British to build Fort William there. At that time the three villages of Kali ghat (Calcutta), Sutanati and Govindapur were assigned by the Moguls to the British on lease at the annual rent of 12,000 rupees. Later, the East India Company was granted right to free trade in Bengal with an annual tax of 3,000 rupees. The British were also permitted to settle and acquire land anywhere in Calcutta.
By the middle of the 18th century, the British East India Company had established centers in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, and the east coast. French traders arrived in India around 1668, and they also established factories and centers. By 1720 Pondicherry and Chandernagar were the two main centers. Between 1720 and 1740 the volume of French trade was 10 times larger than the British. British and French then started to fight against each other for supremacy until 1763 with the three Carnatic wars, involving also local princes and politicians who sided with either party. Finally the French were defeated.
After the battle of Plassey, in 1757, the British obtained from the Moguls the right to collect revenue from these areas in return for an annual tribute and for keeping order and peace by using the army of the local Nawabs. Then the Company defeated Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1792 and the Marathas in 1819, Nepal in 1814-16, Sindh in 1843, Punjab in 1848-49 and Burma in 1886. The idea of commercial enterprise for Europeans was amply supported by the use of force.
Although Britain had rejected some of the most heinous methods of the Catholic Church (like the Inquisition), still they were Christians and believed that white Christians had the right to become the masters of the world. British traders secured their business by openly battling against the local rulers who opposed their presence and activities. In their military force Europeans were a small minority of officers, while the majority of the soldiers were Indians, either Hindus or Muslims, previously employed by the local Nawabs. The mutiny of the Indian army against the British traders started at Barrackpore in 1857 about the grease used for rifle cartridges that required biting before loading the weapon (the grease was said to be made from cow and pig fat) and spread on vast areas in Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi, Arrah (Bihar) etc. On 10 May 1857 the sepoys of Meerut marched on Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, as the Emperor of India, hoping that he would oppose the British.
Among the participants to the revolt, there were Tantia Topi, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Kunwar Singh, Bahadur Shah II, Nana Saheb, the Wahabis in Patna, and the Hindu community in Benares. However, other powerful leaders like Holkar, Sindhia, the Nawab of Bhopal and others actively opposed the revolt and helped the British to suppress it.
The British Crown, worried about the situation, officially took over the administration of the Company in 1858. The presence of the British in India ceased to be a simple matter of trade and became a war for the imposition of British rule on the entire territory.
Britain appointed a Secretary of State for India, a member of the British cabinet responsible to the Parliament, and divided India into three presidencies: Bengal, Madras and Bombay. The Hindu or Muslim princely states that accepted subordination to the British government were allowed some independence, but in 1876 Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India claiming the supreme power.
The main characteristic of British rule in India was the “divide and rule” policy, aimed at creating hostility among Indians – northern and southern, northern and eastern, rich and poor, high castes and lower castes, Hindus and Muslims, Hindus and Jains, and even among the various groups of Hindus like Shaivites and Vaishnavas. They created Christian schools everywhere and imposed the Christian “morals” on society, justice, and culture. However, they did not destroy Hindu temples or persecute Hindu priests, so under their rule several temples were rebuilt by wealthy Hindus.
In India the British introduced railways, machineries, telegraph, postal system, newspapers, and imposed the use of English on the entire territory. Although they did so for their own advantage and tried to control them strictly, these innovations became very useful instruments for the organization of a nation-wide Swaraj movement. Furthermore, by facilitating communication and traveling, they helped Indians to discover a greater spirit of unity and to learn to cooperate at national level. Even the introduction of English helped because it was a common language that helped communication among Indians of different areas and cultures.
The British also built roads and improved communications, also at International level. Many Indians went to England to get an education – from Madanlal Dhingra, Aurobindo Ghose, Vir Savarkar, to Gandhi. By moving around in England, they came in contact with the liberal movements there and learned how to organize people in a democratic way. They saw how rallies and marches were held in Europe by the developing movement of civil rights, and how the labor unions had started to organize workers in the factories to oppose oppression of the capitalists. They studied British and International law and found ways to create associations and political groups, many became lawyers.
Some English born liberals, such as Annie Besant, also came to India to help the cause of civil rights, freedom, and self-determination.
In the beginning, the self-determination movement (Swaraj) did not question the British sovereignty over India, they simply wanted more civil freedom and a better government.
Among the first protagonists of the Independence struggle, the Sanskrit scholar and astronomer Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the leader of the Indian Freedom Movement until his death in 1920 before Gandhi. Like all the other leaders of the Freedom Movement, he was jailed by the British government for several years, but while in jail he wrote a commentary to Bhagavad Gita.
Tilak was convinced that the educational system was a very important weapon: schools controlled by the British taught children blind submission to the political authority and the intrinsic inferiority of Hindu culture and religion compared to Christianity. Therefore he started a school based on Hindu values, and later founded the Deccan Education Society to inspire other people to open more schools. He also started a newspaper (Kesari) in 1881 to educate people in general.
The other important factor that had to be tackled was economic exploitation: the British sent raw materials from India and brought back finished goods from their industrial factories in England, such as textiles, glass, paper, etc., to sell in India. Since the industrial products were cheaper and the texture was smoother and finer, Indian people started to purchase them instead of the local production. The local self sufficiency and prosperity of rural India was practically destroyed, and many people became destitute.
Tilak preached four “mantras”: 1. boycott British goods, 2. create an Indian system of schools, 3. self determination in local government, 4. economic self sufficiency, with the production of necessities at the local level.
After his jail term in Burma where he had been deported, Tilak returned to India and actively organized the Khadi movement (hand woven cloth), also picketing against alcoholism and against imported goods.
In 1883 the Indian Association (Bharat Sabha) organized an International exhibition in Calcutta, together a political conference on all-India basis, with discussions about reforms and a list of requests to be presented to the British government. The second conference was held in 1885 for the foundation of the Indian National Congress. The convenor of the first session of the INC was Allan Octavian Hume, a retired employee of the British government, with the presidency of an eminent Bengali lawyer, WC Bonnerjee.
Something extraordinary was happening. People were starting to unite and cooperate: Indian peasants, lawyers, students, scholars, writers, teachers, women and even British civil rights fighters. The Indian people had found leaders, had started to understand the nature of their enslavement, and could see there was an opportunity to become free from bondages.
The most profitable trade for the British Crown was probably the indigo dye. In Bengal, farmers were forced to grow indigo plants as monocultures instead of the variety of foods that allowed them to live and prosper in a self-sufficient way. The money they received for their produce was very little, and they had to pay heavy taxes that forced them to get indebted with the money lenders or to sell their lands to the British enterprises. These used also other methods to drive peasants out of their lands – torching villages, abducting women, for example. The farmers went on strike and refused to cultivate indigo any more, and the middle class intelligentsia of Bengal came to their help by joining their protest through newspapers and other literature; a popular drama about the plight of the farmers was also translated in English and published by James Long.
Bengal became the heart of the Freedom Movement, with such a great success that the British government started to worry. In 1905, in order to weaken the spirit of the movement, Lord Curzon was appointed to organize the partition of Bengal, with the prime purpose of creating hostility between Muslims and Hindus.
West Bengal, of Hindu majority, was to include Bihar and Orissa, while east Bengal, with a Hindu minority, had Assam, Malda, and Tripura. The anti-partition protest movement blazed everywhere with shop strikes, picketing in support of the boycott of British goods, and religious ceremonies, such as bathing in the Ganga River and performing rakhi-bandhana (tying a red string around each other’s wrists) to signify the bond of brotherhood among the protesters.
Together with the boycott of British goods, Indians started their own local enterprises of textile mills and weaving industries producing the coarse Swadeshi cloth, as well as sugar mills, match and soap industries, to offer the “fair trade” alternative to the local market.
College and university students joined the movement by denouncing the bias of the British educational institutions, “houses for manufacturing slaves”, and dropped out of school in protest. In 1902 they started the “Dawn Society”, then the National Council of Education in 1905, to create Bengali medium schools with Indian teachers. Clandestine newspapers mushroomed in support of the freedom movement. The word spread all over India and the example was followed in many other areas. Many also took to guerrilla action against the British, especially in Bengal, Maharastra, Punjab, and Madras.
Groups like the Anushilan Samiti were formed to fight against western culture.
The heritage of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, who died in 1886, was carried on by his disciple Vivekananda with more than a touch of nationalistic pride: Vivekananda traveled abroad to affirm the values of Indian culture and spirituality, winning much sympathy at the international level. Rabindranath Tagore founded his university at Shanti Niketan, and became famous at international levels: he was awarded knighthood by the queen of Britain.
In Bengal the Brahmo movement (founded in 1857) and in Maharastra the Prarthana Samaj made a special effort to present Indian philosophy in terms that could be understood by the western mentality – both for the growing international support and for the westernized class of British educated “brown sahibs”. All of these points are still of primary importance today, in order to allow others to understand the value of Vedic culture.
The Brahmo movement was also at the origin of the first workers’ organizations. In 1870 a Brahmo leader, Sasipada Banerjee, founded the Sramajivi Samiti and the newspaper Bharat Sramajivi. The cotton mill workers in Bombay started an association in 1890. Later, however, the workers’ movements became influenced by the socialist and communist ideals that had been spread by the Russian revolution of 1917. This ideology was also supported by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Ram Mohan Roy in Bengal spearheaded a reform of Hinduism to eliminate the results of the social degradation of Indians, such as the mistreatment of women and the plight of the lower castes.
Swami Dayananda Sarasvati founded the Arya Samaj in 1875 for a rediscovery of the genuine spirit of Vedic culture, and encouraged the conversion of non-Hindus to Hinduism. Even today, the interest of non-Hindus in Hinduism and Vedic culture is a reason why Yoga is presently so prominent in the Western countries.
Aurobindo Ghose, who had studied in England, started his public life as an extremist activist in Bengal’s Jugantar dal, and was jailed for his first line participation to the movement. Later he developed a more spiritual approach, and became famous as a saint. He moved to Pondicherry and laid the spiritual foundations of the future Auroville. He cooperated first with Margaret Elizabeth Noble (known as Sister Nivedita) and then with Mirra Alfassa (known as Mère, “the Mother”).
The Muslims, however, felt they were losing too much ground to the Christian British on one side, and to the Hindus on the other side. They started a strategy of cooperation with the British against the Hindus, and at the same time they made some efforts to reform the social customs that did not sit well with the British morality, like the purdah (segregation of women), polygamy, and the talaq (easy divorce for men). Syed Ahmed Khan started a Muslim cultural center in Aligarh that later became a university.
In 1911 the British government gave in and annulled the partition of Bengal; the capital of the British Raj was also moved from Calcutta to Delhi. However, the police continued to suppress the guerrilla of the secret societies, and many of their members were forced to flee abroad, in London, Paris, Germany, United States, Canada, and various areas of Asia. From there, they collected money to send funds and weapons for the revolution back home, securing the help of Indian emigrates and foreign governments who were unfavorable to Britain.
World War I offered more opportunities to the Indian Freedom Movement: Madame Cama had already conducted a successful campaign in France, Germany, and the United States presenting the cause of India and unfurling the new Indian tricolor flag in Berlin (1905). She continued to campaign, revealing to the international press the enormous profits of the British Crown in the colonial business (35 million pounds every year) and asking that Indians should be given the political right to vote.
In 1915 the Jain lawyer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi returned to India after a period in South Africa, where he had observed the effect of the racist apartheid government. He immediately started a non-violent protest movement, called Satyagraha, spreading it in Bihar, Ahmedabad, and Gujarat. The charisma of Gandhi encouraged moderate and extremist activists to join forces. Thousands of students, lawyers, and government employees left their occupations in protest against the government.
The British civil right activist Annie Besant cooperated with Bal Gangadhar Tilak starting the Home Rule League. Women also started to participate actively in the Movement.
Even the Muslims were attracted, and while previously they had tried to cooperate with the British, in 1913 they changed their course and started cooperating with the Indian National Congress.
In 1919 the British government decided to give some concessions, and appointed Montague and Chelmsford to concede a limited freedom in local self government, education, health, cooperatives, but retained full control of police, finance, and land revenue. On the other hand, with the Rowlatt Act, the British tightened the laws against “anarchical and revolutionary” activities to stop the political movement, ordering arrest and deportation for suspects, special tribunals, and prohibition of freedom propaganda. The protest continued, spearheaded by Gandhi, who was arrested. The suppression of the protest had the worst episode in Amritsar, where on 13 April 1919 General Reginald Dyer ordered to his 50 soldiers to open fire without warning on a peaceful crowd of about 10,000 people, men, women and children, gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, a public square, for the Baisakhi Fair. The place was surrounded by buildings and there was no escape; according to the official estimates about 400 people were killed, and another 1,200 were left wounded without medical attention. The casualties could have been higher, but the troops could not use machine guns because the armored vehicles on which they were mounted were too large to be brought in from the narrow lanes around the square, and the rifle ammunitions ended in about 15 (1,650 rounds).
The curfew was imposed and the governor of Punjab placed the entire province under martial law. The Viceroy Chelmsford considered the incident as a strategic mistake, and Secretary of State Montagu appointed a commission of inquiry. Dyer was relieved of his command. The protest against the massacre gained momentum in Amritsar and spread to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Amaravati, Nagpur, Ankola and Bombay. In protest, Rabindranath Tagore renounced his British knighthood. In some places the protest became violent, and Gandhi withdrew his Satyagraha movement to dissociate from the violence.
With the end of World War I, Turkey was defeated, and the Indian Muslims asked the British to respect the position and dignity of the Sultan of Turkey, who was the Caliph of all Muslims in the world. The Khilafat movement was supported by Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Tilak and others with the hope of uniting Hindus and Muslims in the protest against the British rulers. However, in the end Kemal Pasha in Turkey abolished the post of Caliph and the Khilafat movement died out in 1921. This enraged the Indian Muslims who started clashing against the Hindus. The riots between 1922 and 1927 killed about 500 people. The possibility of an agreement between the movement, represented by Gandhi, and the British failed due to the Muslim opposition. Gandhi resumed his Satyagraha movement with Vallabhabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Purushottamdas Tandon, and Subhash Chandra Bose. All of them were jailed because the British government declared the movement “illegal”.
In 1922 the Swaraj Party was founded, trying to unite the political movement that had already divided with the Hindu Mahasabha, the Sikh League and the Muslim League. At the same time, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose were inspired by the Russian revolution and started to spread the ideas of socialism. In 1925 the All India Communist Party was founded, and the guerrilla in Bengal took a socialist hue with the Socialist Republican Association (1928). Women also started to participate in the communist movement that gathered many of those who were searching for a solution that was different from the hostility between Muslims and Hindus: rejecting all religions.
The British tried to relieve the situation by appointing the Simon commission in 1927 for constitutional reforms, but no Indians were included in the commission, and this did not satisfy the freedom movement. In 1928 an all-parties conference prepared a draft constitution for the commission: only the Indian National Congress approved it.
The Muslim League, lead by Jinnah, broke ties with the Congress, demanding 14 points to protect the interests of the Muslims, which included a federal India with autonomous provinces, with not less than 1/3 Muslims in the central government, a separate representation for religious groups on the same percentage basis (although the Muslims were a minority), no laws against the interests of religious minorities and full freedom to all religions, facilities for Muslim culture and education, Muslims in all local governments (at least 1/3), separate Sindh from Bombay, maintain Muslim majority in Bengal, Punjab and north-western states, and so on. His position was supported by many, including the poet Iqbal, who openly wanted a separate Muslim nation within India.
Not all Muslims agreed with the extremist position of Jinnah and his Muslim League; for example Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and his social organization Khuda khid mudgar (“the red shirts”) in the north-west provinces wanted to cooperate with the Hindus.
However, the next year the Congress, too, decided to demand complete independence from the British. That was declared on 26 January, 1930. The movement regained momentum with the Salt March (Dandi march) of 320 km, performed by Gandhi and a large group of activists to go to the sea shore and collect salt directly from the sea, challenging a law on the salt monopoly by the government. Thousands of people followed his example. Lord Irwin invited Gandhi to London for talks in 1931.
In 1932 the British Prime Minister MacDonald announced the “Communal Award” Act by which the different religious groups could send their representatives separately to the provincial legislatures. The disadvantaged or “scheduled” castes of Hindus also had a separate provision. Gandhi asked the Hindus to stand united, and B. R. Ambedkar and the other representatives of the lower castes rejected the offer of the British government.
In 1933 Gandhi suspended the Satyagraha movement and devoted himself to the Harijans (the new name for the lower castes) only. Gandhi launched and withdrew the Satyagraha movement several times, hoping to educate the mass of people to non-violent protest only, but his attempts failed again and again. Finally in 1934 he terminated the Satyagraha movement and left the Congress, which turned to socialism.
In 1934 the British banned the communist party, and continued to negotiate with Gandhi and the Congress. In 1935 with the Government of India Act, the British introduced a federal structure offering to the native states (princely kingdoms) the option to participate or not. A Governor General would have 10 Ministers elected by local legislatures, and 2 chambers also elected locally. India was divided in 11 provinces with Governors, plus a number of special areas directly under the Governor General. However, the Governor maintained the power of veto over all decisions of local Governors, and could also make and enforce new laws without consulting them. It was not a very good deal, but the Congress accepted to run in the elections. It obtained the absolute majority in 5 provinces, and a majority in 2. The minority of the Muslim league demanded coalition ministries for all the provinces.
This government experience for the Congress was difficult because of the conflicting interests of Hindus and Muslims, landlords and peasants, businessmen and workers. Good work was done by helping negotiation between employers and workers, distribution of land to landless peasants, anti-usury laws, tenancy, education, and freedom of press.
Under the presidency of Subhash Chandra Bose (1938, 1939) the Congress became more and more oriented to socialism. When he became too extreme, he was forced to resign and he proceeded to found the Forward Block within the Congress. He was finally expelled by the Congress for his extremism. In the same year World War II started, and Britain declared that India was also participating to the war; all Indian ministers resigned in protest. Bose, kept in house confinement by the British, managed to escape in 1941 and he reached Russia through Kabul. From there he reached Germany, where he was welcomed by Ribbentrop and spoke to Indians from the German radio.
Bose convinced the Nazis to free a number of Indian prisoners of war and organized them as for the new “Independent India army”. There the slogan “Jai Hind” started. After about one year Bose was called to Japan by Rashbehari Bose, who had fled there already in 1915 to organize a conference of the Indian emigrates in Southeast Asia.
In the meantime, in India Gandhi launched a new Satyagraha campaign. In 1941-1942 Japan occupied Singapore and Burma. Britain tried to consolidate their position in India by sending a socialist member of the British government, Cripps, to propose a Dominion status with regional autonomy, but he could not convince anyone. Gandhi considered his proposal a “postdated cheque on a crashing bank” and observed that Japan was ready to invade India from Burma. He launched the “Quit India” campaign, which was adopted by the Congress. Almost all the members of the Congress were arrested by the British on the very next day. The people revolted in mass in the “August revolution”: peasants, students, and workers rallied, and local governments were formed. Among the other examples, there is the famous case of a 72 years old peasant widow, Matangini Harza who led a big crowd to occupy the Tamluk police station in Midnapore in support of the local government founded by the Freedom movement. However, the British suppressed the movement in 2 months.
In 1943, Subhash Chandra Bose became the president of the Indian Independent League in Singapore, declared a Free India Government, and declared war to Britain and America. His Indian National Army liberated the Andaman and Nicobar islands from the British and went with the Japanese up to Kohima, Nagaland. However, in the meantime the Japanese had to accept defeat after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Indians who were allied with them were taken prisoners by the British. Subhash Chandra Bose is said to have died in an air crash on 18 August, 1945 near Taipei while he was flying to Tokyo, but many think he survived the crash.
At the trial of the generals of the Free India Army (Azad Hind Fauz) at the Red Fort, the vast movement of protest of the population forced the acquittal. Strikes and rallies were held everywhere; in Calcutta the police killed 2 students, but revolts continued. Gandhi completely retired from politics to serve the Harijans (called Achhut, “untouchables”), and then he was killed on 30 January, 1948.
Jinnah continued to demand a separate nation for Muslims, called Pakistan, creating more riots. C. Rajagopalachari proposed to consider the idea after obtaining independence from Britain, a plebiscite in the regions that would be affected, and some kind of mutual agreement of cooperation. Jinnah refused. At the Simla conference in 1945, Lord Wavell also proposed an interim government with equal proportions of representatives of Muslims and Hindus, but Jinnah also rejected that proposal.
In 1946 even the Indian navy revolted; the mutiny started in Bombay and soon spread to all the ships in Calcutta, Madras, Karachi, and so on. The soldiers demanded the release of the INA generals, refused to go to war against Indonesian freedom fighters, and also complained about the quality of the food they were getting.
The revolt was soon joined by the air force and the army. The British Prime Minister Clement Atlee announced that Britain was ready to quit India. Elections were organized in 1946.
The fracture between the Congress and the Muslim League became irreversible, and the partition of Bengal and Punjab was inevitable. On 11 August, 1947 Jinnah became the president of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in Karachi. In 1971 East Pakistan declared its independence and became known as Bangladesh.
Jahawarlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India, from 1947 to 1964. Initially he was influenced by the British "Fabian" socialists, then he visited the Soviet Union in 1926-1927, where he was impressed with the atheistic philosophy of communism, that considered religion "the opiate for the people". In fact Russia had been heavily subjugated by the Christian orthodox Church, consecrating the political power of the Czars and the oppressive feudal system, so the Bolshevik revolution, like the French revolution about 200 years earlier, had taken away all power from the priests, closed the churches and prohibited religion. In the enthusiasm of their early government, Russian Soviets had embraced communism as their religion, substituting the old faith and superstitions.
Other important socialist ideas that Nehru collected in Russia were the central role of the government in economy and the planning for industrial development in manufacturing and agriculture aimed at total industrialization of the country. This concept included the perpetuation of monocultures in agriculture, subject to the control of the government, with some form of protection for the farmers consisting in cooperativism.
However, around the mid 60s, India was still heavily depending on western aids, with a severe economic crisis.
The Chinese aggression of 1962 weakened Nehru's position of peaceful co-existence and socialism. The concept of non-alignment had been affirmed in order to retain full independence for India; the example of the various countries of east Europe, who had come to be fully dominated by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was not very inspiring. However, the political and military pressure from China and Pakistan was mounting. In 1965 the first war with Pakistan pushed Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-1966) to officially ally with Russia, since in 1954 the US had granted military aid to Pakistan. The ties with Russia became stronger.
Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977. In 1971 the Congress started to lose popularity, until the breaking point in 1977. Indira declared state of emergency. This move actually alienated the people, and from 1977 to 1980 the Prime Ministership went to Morarji Desai and Charan Singh. With the support of Russia, Indira Gandhi returned to power again in 1980 and tried to tackle the problems "the Russian way", or in other words, by dictatorship and oppression of dissenters. In 1981 Indira decided to solve the "problem of the Sikhs" in Punjab by sending the army to attack the Golden temple in Amritsar, with the declared intention of arresting the "Sikh terrorists". Needless to say, the move deeply alienated the people of Punjab, who were already in a very difficult position, pressurized by Pakistan that hoped to acquire Punjab to its territories by increasing the percentage of the Muslim population (by killing or scaring away the others). The Punjabi people already felt abandoned by the central government, and the violent repression of their discontent strengthened the separatists' resolve.
In 1984 Indira Gandhi was killed in her garden by two Sikh body guards, and a pogrom was unleashed against Sikhs all over north India. Two regiments of Sikhs left the army.
Rajiv Gandhi, second son of Indira (the first, Sanjiv, had died in a plane crash), became Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989, on the wave of popular sentiments against the killing of his mother; he was also killed in Tamil Nadu in 1991 by a terrorist attack during an election campaign. Tamil Nadu, like Punjab, Assam, Tripura and other north-east states, is a hot spot of separatist movements. Nobody from the Gandhi family, considered by the masses as the natural successors to the Gandhi-Nehru leadership, was available for the post of Prime Ministership, and the Congress could not propose a convincing alternative. The Congress kept losing popular support, and had to rely more and more on alliances with other parties which kept forming. The central government was then formed by various coalitions under the Prime ministership of Visvanatha Pratap Singh, Chandra Shekhar, P.V. Narasimha Rao, and Deve Gowda, until 1998, when the coalition collapsed and new elections were called.
In the meantime, the Hindus had started to become organized politically, mainly with the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh. The main point of the Hindu political activists was simple: with their electoral power, a majority of Hindus over the minorities of Muslims, Christians, secularists and communists could restore good dharmic Hindu rulers at the government, after so many centuries of oppression. The movement to reclaim the Hindu holy sites for Hindu worship grew. The Hindu movement had asked, among the thousands of holy places lost to forced Islamization and Christianization, the return of three sites: Ayodhya, Mathura and Somanath, respectively the birthplace of Rama, the birthplace of Krishna and a famous ancient Shiva temple.
Only Somanath had been obtained, while the holy sites in Ayodhya and Mathura were still covered by mosques that had no religious significance for the Muslim community, other than the satisfaction of preventing Hindus from worshiping in their ancient traditional holy ground. For many centuries Hindus had longed for the return of the Rama Rajya, the godly government that, in the words of Krishna in Gita, would protect the good people, annihilate the evil-doers and re-establish the principles of dharma.
The Maha Purna Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, during the month of December-January 1986, had seen over 22 million pilgrims during the peak weeks of the festival. People had come from all over the world to participate to the special event, and religious feelings were running high. Many wanted to go in pilgrimage to Ayodhya, a very important holy site near to the Kumbha Mela camp. In 1949 the Hindus had already installed the Deities of Sita-Rama in a small temple in Ayodhya and on 31 January 1986 they had obtained the authorization for opening the small temple to the public. However, the actual spot of the birthplace of Ramachandra, the Rama janma bhumi, was not open to Hindus as a mosque had been built about 300 years earlier over the site of the previous Hindu temple that was at least 2,000 years old, having being built by the Hindu emperor Vikramaditya. The ancient beautiful temple had been completely destroyed by the Muslim invaders who killed many Hindus in the process, and the mosque was built on the razed site, so that no Hindu could ever rebuild a Rama temple there.
Some of the participants to the Kumbha Mela felt they couldn't wait any more to re-establish the Rama janma bhumi, and the Babri Masjid (Babri mosque) in Ayodhya was attacked on 17 February 1986. The agitation continued for many months and between 1992 and 1993, for two months, there were riots in Bombay between Hindus and Muslims. Bal Thakre's organization, Shiva Sena, was blamed for the violence.
With the victory of the Bharata Janata Party on the wave of new hope from the Hindus, Sitaram Keshri resigned from the Congress' presidency and Sonia Gandhi became the president of the Congress. Previously Mrs. Gandhi had always refused to take part in politics, also because of the open hostility of some of the leaders, who considered her just a foreigner and a woman.
The BJP obtained the power, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister, working closely together with Lal Krishna Advani. However, the resurgence of the Hindu movement with its legitimate demands was not the only matter they had to deal with. The new government had many problems to face, both internally and externally.
Politics at home required alliances with strange partners, not always fit for the posts they had bargained for in the election deals. The border problems with Pakistan and Bangladesh were also intertwined with domestic problem, mainly Kashmir and the north-eastern states of India (bordering Bangladesh), where a strong pressure of Christians who were trying to win independence by indoctrinating the tribal populations of Nagaland (Naga), Mizoram (Mizo), Assam (Bodo), and Tripura with terrorism.
The connection between the Christian missionaries and the separatist terrorism in north-eastern states of India is amply known. When Nagmanlal Halam, secretary of the Noapara Baptist Church in Tripura, was arrested by the Tripura police, he had 50 gelatin sticks, 5 kg of potassium and 2 kg of sulphur and other ingredients for making explosives. Mr. Halam confessed that his activities for the saving the heathen souls involved buying and supplying explosives to the NLFT over the past two years. Another church official, Jatna Koloi, who was also arrested, admitted that he had received training in guerrilla warfare at an NLFT base last year.
The Baptist Church of Tripura was initially set up by proselytizers from New Zealand 60 years ago. Despite their efforts even until 1980 only a few thousand people in Tripura had converted to Christianity. The murder (following the open death threats issued by the NLFT) of inmates and workers of non-Chistian educational and social workers' institutions among tribals already forced the closure of many institutions like schools and orphanages, set up by the slain religious leaders in various parts of Tripura. Armed NLFT militants torch and blow up villages, schools and social centers, kidnap people for ransom, ambush convoys, attack vehicles, buses, trucks, murdering several thousands of people and in general conduct all sorts of terrorist activities, hoping to push the central government to concede them their fully independent Christian "promised land" from where all the Hindus will be kicked out. The NLFT has been an active partner of the Baptist Church in winning converts to the Christian creed by terrorist attacks, also launching proclaims (with official communication to the press) prohibiting people from celebrating all Hindu festivals like Durga Puja and Makar Sankranti, and even listening to Indian music. Such proclaims also prohibit women from wearing bangles or bindis, etc.
The Kashmir valley had always had a Muslim majority, although before partition several Hindu Kashmiri pandits lived there. In 1941 the Muslim population was 61%, but it had gradually increased (due to the disappearance of Hindus) up to 95%. From 24 May to August 1999 there was a serious confrontation between India and Pakistan in the Kargil-Drass sector of Jammu and Kashmir, to push out Pakistani infiltrators.
Pakistan had been supporting terrorism in Kashmir in a low intensity war since partition, and there have been 3 "official" Indo-Pakistan wars. Previously, in 1948-1949 Nehru and Girija Shankal Bajpay had presented a complaint to the Security Council of the United Nations, which declared that the people of Kashmir should decide if they wanted to be part of India or Pakistan. However, from 1965 to 1998 the United Nations never mentioned the Kashmir problem once, although its gravity was no less than the Middle East problems, originated by the same dynamics (Muslim separatism).
In 1974 the first atomic tests were performed in India, following the general global trend and especially the armaments race of USA and Russia. However, from the 1970s onwards, and especially with the end of the cold war and the fall of the communist regime in Russia, the nuclear option had become more and more unpopular in the international public opinion, and both US and Russia had been forced to start disarming. The echo of global trends rarely reaches India's public opinion, and the government had not been very open to consider the world's public opinion. So when both India and Pakistan were the only nations to refuse to sign the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) in 1997, considered a global necessity by the majority of the world countries, international criticism and concern about the political and military situation in the subcontinent became very serious.
Pakistan tested the Ghori missiles during the first week of May 1998, only a few months after the BJP was elected to power (February 1998). On 12 May of the same year the Indian Shakti missiles were tested at Pokhram, in Rajasthan.
In June the new defense budget of the Indian government was increased of 14%, and the nuclear budget was increased of 68%. Unfortunately neither India nor Pakistan realized that a nuclear war between two countries that lie so close together would destroy both countries even if only one of them was struck and the other had no time to retaliate. The gravity of the effects of nuclear weapons is totally ignored by the mass of people, and probably even by the government leaders. In western countries a popular movement of awareness about the nuclear dangers had brought the governments, under the pressure of the people, to give up nuclear power plants and nuclear armaments.
The traditional alliance with Russia against the United States (that traditionally supported Pakistan, aiming at their petrol) already had a severe blow when the communist regime fell, revealing a shattered economy and society that had been carefully kept hidden by the control of media and repression of dissenters. All over the world, the communist parties in various countries had either waned or changed their approach. Still, due to the lack of information and communication especially at international level, Indian communists still lived in an idealized past.
Mainstream communism has traditionally been strong in Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. Extremism had also been present all along, and with the economic crisis of the 1960s, extremists had lost all faith in the participation to the government. The Naxalites, a particular brand of communist extremist terrorists, originated in Naxalban, a subdivision of Darjeeling (West Bengal) in 1967, when the tribal cultivators rebelled against the tea plantation economy that had monopolized the land.
A similar movement had developed Andhra Pradesh in the late 1960s, when the "Girijans" forest tribals became restless because they were losing land to money lenders. Their economic situation was extremely precarious. In 1968 an organization was founded on a Maoist line, called Girijan Sangam, vowing the "annihilation of class enemies". From 1969 to 1971 they occupied the Government's wastelands, forest land and the farms of the big landlords. The army repressed the movement in 1971.
Apart the political problems posed by the Muslim community (supported by foreign Muslim countries), the separatist movements and terrorist activities, the communist pressure, the growing conversion campaigns and political pressure of Christian missionaries, the BJP government had to deal with other uncomfortable legacies.
In 1951 the literacy percentage of the population was 18%. In 1998 it had raised to 64%. However, literacy campaigns were often conducted for political purposes by Christians and communists (Kerala has a literacy rate of 100%), creating new problems while solving a previous one.
Another problem connected with literacy is the sad plight of women in India. In the 1990s, the percentage of illiteracy among women (national average) was still 75% in urban areas and 95% in rural areas. The difficulties women face in India start from inequality in education. When the purdah was imposed by Muslim rulers on Hindu society, women lost all influence on society and were denied education (even literacy). Even today, the results of the purdah are afflicting Indian society: generally women are discouraged from public careers, they have no right to choose their partner or divorce, or remarry if they become widows. The dowry and the exorbitant costs of marriages also puts a tremendous burden on the families, and this has caused huge percentages of female infanticide and abortions of female fetuses (the sex of the fetus can be detected by ultrasound). Malnutrition and mistreatment of women, especially in backward and illiterate groups of population who are already prey to ignorant beliefs and a bad quality of life, fatally brings to malnutrition and poor health in children and complications in childbirth and in the subsequent adult life.
Unfortunately, the problem of ignorance, lack of education, malnutrition and mistreatment of women is not limited to illiterate and destitute sections of society: it also affects wealthy and "educated" families who send boys to schools but believe that the only possible future of a girl is getting married. These are still various issues waiting to be corrected in modern India.
As we can see, India has grown tremendously through the years, and now that India is free from the controlling influence of major invaders and oppressive rulers, it is no surprise that it is again becoming a great nation, meaning a major power in the economic world. Still, there is much growth for it to do and many issues that it is resolving, but there is much hope for what India can show the world, if it can overcome the corruption in business and politics, and social discrepancies that divide instead of unite India as a society.
A SHORT HISTORY OF INDIA—ITS HEROES AND INVADERS
This relates the invasions, challenges, massacres, and struggles of India’s people and heroes against the criminals who tried to destroy India and its culture. This is presented to preserve the real history of India.
ALEXANDER AND THE GREEKS
THE ARAB INVASIONS
THE TURKISH INVASION
THE MAMLUK (SLAVE) DYNASTY
THE SAYYID & LODHI DYNASTIES
THE BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY
THE INITIAL STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
THE BRITISH RAJ
HEROES AFTER SHIVAJI
ADDITIONAL HEROES WHO WORKED FOR PROTECTING INDIA AND ITS CULTURE
HALL OF SHAME (Muslim Rulers and Criminals Against India)
For more than two millennia, India has suffered one bloody invasion after another, leaving a Holocaust of millions of lives and a civilization and culture left in near ruins. Through it all, India is the only one of the great ancient civilizations that has survived today. Hinduism is the most ancient and only continuously surviving religion and culture that has successfully maintained itself while so many other cultures and civilizations have vanished. No other ancient civilization has retained its ancient religion and culture under the onslaught of the western Abrahamic monotheist religions.
The first of the major invasions came from Alexander of Macedonia. His invasion of India was intended to bring Greek culture to India and to encourage cultural exchange between the Indic and Hellenic worlds. This invasion was mild compared to the savage invasions of Islam, which continue even today, attempting to decimate the Indian religions of Dharma and the Culture of Bhaaratvarsha (India). The contemporary French writer François Gautier has said, "The massacres perpetuated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger than the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis; or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native populations by the invading Spanish and Portuguese."
Just as India was about to successfully throw off the yoke of Islamic barbarism after nearly 1000 years of slaughter, the British and Portuguese came with their missionaries. They tried to finish what Islam had begun, beginning centuries more of colonial strangulation of the great Vedic Culture of India, until finally India won her Independence in 1947. By then, so much damage had been done that India was forced to accept partition along religious lines and give up much of her northern territories to what are today the Islamic States of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
What is left of modern India is still rife with a growing population of Muslims and the continuing threat of Christian missionaries, openly seeking to wipe out Hinduism, which is not only the majority religion of India, but more than that, the Indian way of life and her very culture. Here we present a brief overview of the history of the foreign invasions and occupations of India.
ALEXANDER AND THE GREEKS
336 B.C.E. - 323 B.C.E.
Alexander was the King of Macedonia, a nation north of the city-states of ancient Greece, which was heavily influenced by the Hellenic (Greek) culture. Alexander was just 21 years old in the year 336 B.C.E., when he decided to invade India, after having conquered much of Asia Minor and the Middle East. At the time, King Taxiles ruled a large area in India. When he heard that Alexander was coming, Taxiles did not wait, but went in person to meet him in peace. "Why should we make war on each other," Taxiles said, "if the reason for your coming is not to rob us of our water and our food? Those are the only things that a wise man has no choice but to fight for. As for any other riches or possessions, if I have more than you I am ready to share. But if fortune has been better to you than to me, then I have no objection to being in your debt."
These courteous words pleased Alexander, and he replied: "Do you think your kind words and courteous conduct will avoid a contest between us? No, I will not let you off so easily. I will do battle with you on these terms: no matter how much you give me, I will give more in return."
Thereupon Taxiles made many fine presents to Alexander, but Alexander responded with presents of even greater value and topped them off with a thousand talents in gold coins. This generosity displeased Alexander's old friends but won the hearts of many of the Indians.
King Porus, however, refused to submit, and he took up a position to prevent Alexander from crossing the Hydaspes River. Porus was a huge man, and when mounted on his war elephant he looked in the same proportion as an ordinary man on a horse. After a long fight, Alexander won the victory, and Porus came to him as a prisoner. Alexander asked him how he expected to be treated, and Porus replied: "As a king." When Alexander asked a second time, Porus explained that in those words was included everything that a man could possibly want. Alexander not only allowed Porus to keep his kingdom as a satrap, but he also gave him more territory.
This was a costly victory, however. Many Macedonians died, and so did Alexander's old war horse, Bucephalus. This grieved Alexander so much that it seemed as though he had lost an old friend. On that spot he ordered a city to be built, named Bucephalia after his beloved horse, Bucephalus.
Such a difficult victory over only 22,000 Indians [May 326 B.C.] took the edge off the courage of the Macedonians. They had no enthusiasm for Alexander's proposed crossing of the Ganges, a river said to be four miles wide and six hundred feet deep, to encounter an army on the other side consisting of 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8,000 chariots, and 6,000 war elephants.
Alexander was so angry at their reluctance that he shut himself up in his tent, saying that if they would not cross the Ganges, he owed them no thanks for anything they had done so far. But finally the persuasions of his friends, and the pleas of his soldiers, got Alexander to agree to turn back.
To exaggerate his reputation, Alexander left bridles and armor that were much bigger than normal, and huge altars to the gods. On a flotilla of rafts and barges, Alexander's army floated down the Indus River.
Along the way, they stopped to take some fortified cities, and at one of them Alexander came very close to losing his life. Alexander was the first one up the ladders onto the wall of the city of the Mallians, and then he jumped down into the town with only two of his guards behind him.
Before the rest of the Macedonians could catch up and save him, Alexander had taken an arrow in the ribs and had been knocked dizzy by a club. He was unconscious when they carried him away, and he fainted when the doctors cut out the arrow. Rumors spread that Alexander was dead.
While in India, Alexander took ten of the Brahmins prisoner. These men had a great reputation for intelligence, so Alexander decided to give them a test. He announced that the one who gave the worst answer would be the first to die, and he made the oldest Brahmin the judge of the competition.
Which are more numerous, Alexander asked the first one, the living or the dead? "The living," said the Brahmin, "because the dead no longer count."
Which produces more creatures, the sea or the land? Alexander asked the second. "The land," was his answer, "because the sea is only a part of it."
The third was asked which animal was the smartest of all, and the Brahmin replied: "The one we have not found yet."
Alexander asked the fourth what argument he had used to stir up the Indians to fight, and he answered: "Only that one should either live nobly or die nobly."
Which is older: day or night? was Alexander's question to the fifth, and the answer he got was: "Day is older, by one day at least." When he saw that Alexander was not satisfied with this answer, the Brahmin added: "Strange questions get strange answers."
What should a man do to make himself loved? asked Alexander, and the sixth Brahmin replied: "Be powerful without being frightening."
What does a man have to do to become a god? he asked the seventh, who responded: "Do what is impossible for a man."
The question to the eighth was whether death or life was stronger, and his answer: "Life is stronger than death, because it bears so many miseries."
The ninth Brahmin was asked how long it was proper for a man to live, and he said: "Until it seems better to die."
Then Alexander turned to the judge, who decided that each one had answered worse than another. "You will die first, then, for giving such a decision," said Alexander. "Not so, mighty king," said the Brahmin, "if you want to remain a man of your word. You said that you would kill first the one who made the worst answer." Alexander gave all of the Brahmins presents and set them free, even though they had persuaded the Indians to fight him.
Alexander's voyage down the Indus took seven months. When he finally arrived at the Indian Ocean, he decided not to take the army home by ship but to march them through the Gedrosian Desert. After sixty miserable days, they arrived at Gedrosia, where they finally found enough to eat and drink. Many died in that desert: out of the 120,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry that Alexander took with him into India, only one in four came back.
THE ARAB INVASIONS
636 C.E. - 850 C.E.
In one of the Hadiths (Muslim scripture) the Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying "Two groups of my Ummah, Allah has protected from the hellfire: a group that will conquer India and a group that will be with Isa ibnu Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary)." The first attempted invasion of India by Muslims occurred in 636 CE -- under Caliph Umar, within four years of Muhammad's death. The first 16 invasion attempts utterly failed. But the 17th attempt to invade India by Muhammad bin Qâsim, which was carried out against the wishes of the Kalifate, was successful. Muhammad bin Qâsim marched to Sindh with 15,000 men. He arrived at Debal, a port city near the modern Karachi, in 711. There he was bolstered by the arrival of his artillery by sea, and took the town. This was followed by his conquest of Alor, located north of Hyderabad in June 712. In the fighting before Aror the Raja Dâhir was slain. The next year he also conquered the important city of Multan.
Following the rapid conquest of Sindh, Arab progress was checked. In part this was caused by internal division. In 714 Hajjâj died, and in 715 the Calif Walid I (705-715) took interest in the campaign and recalled the conquering general, Muhammad bi Qâsim. Arab control thereafter rapidly disintegrated, leading many local rulers to repudiate their allegiance to the Arabs. The Arabs also met stiff resistance from neighboring Indian kings. When an Arab governor of Sindh, Junaid, sought to seize Kacch and Malwa, he was foiled by the Pratihara and Gurjara kings. The Arabs were thus unable to expand beyond Sindh, but they were able to maintain their hold on the province. In 985 an Ismaili Fatamid dynasty declared its independence in Multan.
THE TURKISH INVASION
1000 C.E. - 1206 C.E.
The break-up of the Gurjara-Pratihara empire led to a phase of political uncertainty in north India. As a result, little attention was paid to the emergence of the aggressive and expansionist Turks from north-west.
The three most important of the Rajput states in north India were the Gahrwals of Kanauj, the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chauhans of Ajmer.
There were other smaller dynasties in different parts of the country, such as the Kalachuris in the area around Jabalpur, the Chandellas in Bundelkhand, the Chalukyas of Gujarat, the Tomars of Delhi, etc. Bengal remained under the control of the Palas and later, the Senas.
There was a continuous struggle and warfare between the various Rajput states. It was these rivalries which made it impossible for the Rajput rulers to join hands to oust the Ghaznavids from the Punjab. In fact, the Ghaznavids felt strong enough to make raids even up to Ujjain.
Most of the Rajput rulers of the time were champions of Hinduism, though some of them also patronized Jainism. The Rajput rulers protected the privileges of the brahmanas and of the caste system. Between the tenth and the twelfth century, temple-building activity in north India reached it's climax.
The most representative temples of this type are the group of temples at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Most of these temples were built by the Chandellas, who ruled in the area from the beginning of the ninth to the end of the thirteenth century. In Orissa, magnificent examples of temple architecture are the Lingaraja temple (11th century) and the Sun temple of Konark (13th century). The famous Jagannath temple at Puri also belongs to this period.
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni raided the country in 1000 AD, with his first great victory against the Hindushahi kings of Peshawar. The muslim rulers of Multan were the second targets. In a short period of 25 years, he is said to have made 17 raids into India. From the Punjab, Mahmud raided Nagarkot in the Punjab hills and Thanesar near Delhi.
His most daring raids, however, were against Kanauj in 1018 and against the fabulously rich Somnath temple in Gujarat. No attempt was made to annex any of these areas. The rich spoils from the temples, which were repositories of wealth, helped him to consolidate his rule and embellish Ghazni with palaces and mosques. He died in Ghazni in 1030.
Muhammad of Ghur
The second Turkish attack was led by Mu'izzu'd-Din Muhammad (also known as Muhammad Ghuri), who conquered Sindh and Lahore in 1182. Soon after, he commenced his attack on the Rajput kingdoms. Prithviraj Chauhan successfully led the Rajputs against Ghuri at the first battle of Tarain in 1191 AD. However, at the second battle of Tarain in 1192 AD, Prithviraj was defeated and the kingdom of Delhi fell to Muhammad Ghuri. Before Ghuri's assassination in 1206, Turkish control had been established along the whole length of the Ganga. Bihar and Bengal were also overrun.
Ghuri's conquests started a new era in Indian history... The Delhi Sultanate
THE MAMLUK (SLAVE) DYNASTY
1206 C.E. - 1290 C.E
Ghuri's conquest became the nucleus of a new political entity of India - the Delhi Sultanate. For almost one hundred years after that, the Delhi Sultanate was involved in foreign invasions, internal conflicts among the Turkish leaders and the dispossessed Rajput rulers and chiefs to regain their independence.
Ghuri left his Indian possessions in the care of his former slave, General Qutb-ud- din Aibak. He played an important part in the expansion of the Turkish sultanate in India after the battle of Tarrain.
On the death of his master, Aibak severed his links with Ghazni and asserted his
independence, and founded the Slave Dynasty (mamluks). This helped to prevent India being drawn into central asian politics and enabled the Delhi Sultanate to develop independently.
Iltutmish (1210 AD - 1236 AD), son-in-law of Aibak - succeeded Aibak as the sultan by defeating Aibak's son. Thus, the principle of heredity, of son succeeding his father was checked at the outset. Iltutmish must be regarded as the real consolidator of the Turkish conquests in north India.
He gave the new state capital, Delhi, a monarchical form of government and governing class. He introduced Iqta - grant of revenue from a territory in lieu of salary. He maintained a central army and introduced coins of Tanka (silver) and Jital (copper). The famous Qutub Minar was completed during his reign. He despatched an expedition against the Chalukyas of Gujarat but it was repelled with losses.
Around this time, Mongols under the leadership of Ghinghiz Khan, swept across central Asia and mercilessly sacked the kingdoms. They periodically crossed river Indus to attack Punjab and Iltutmish had to keep constant check on this side.
During his last years, Iltutmish finally nominated his daughter Raziya (1236 AD - 1239 AD) to the throne. Raziya was the First and only Muslim lady to sit on Delhi Throne. In order to assert her claim, Raziya had to contend against her brothers as well as against powerful Turkish nobles, and could rule only for three years.
Though brief, her rule had a number of interesting features like the beginning of the struggle for power between the monarchy and the Turkish chiefs, sometimes called as the forty or Chahalgami. She sent an expedition against Ranthambhor to control the Rajputs, and successfully established law and order in the length and breadth of her kingdom. In 1239 AD, an internal rebellion broke out in which Raziya was imprisoned and killed by bandits.
The struggle between the monarchy and the Turkish chiefs continued till one of the Turkish chiefs Balban (Ulugh khan) (1265 AD - 1285 AD) ascended the throne. During the earlier period he held the position of naib or deputy to Nasiruddin Mahmud, a younger son of Iltultmish. He broke the Chahalgami and made the Sultan all important.
After Balban's death, there was again confusion in Delhi for some times. In 1290, the Khilji's, under the leadership of Jalaluddin Khilji, wrested power from the incompetent successor of Balban.
1290 C.E. - 1320 C.E.
The Khiljis used their Afghan descent to win the loyalties of the discontented nobles, who felt that they had been neglected by earlier Slave sultans.
Jalaluddin Khilji (1290 AD - 1296 AD) tried to mitigate some of the harsh aspects of Balban's rule. He was the first ruler to put forward the view that the state should be based on the willing support of the governed and that since the majority of Indians were Hindus, the state cannot be truly Islamic.
Alauddin Khilji (1296 AD - 1316 AD) treacherously murdered his uncle and father-in-law, Jalaluddin. By harsh methods, he cowed down the nobles and made them completely subservient to the crown. He was ambitious and dreamt of an all India empire.
Over a twenty five years period, Malwa, Gujarat and Rajasthan was brought under his control. To solve the water problems in summer, he constructed lot of Baolis (Wells). His famous general Malik Kafur led the campaign (1308 AD - 1312 AD) to the south and defeated the Yadavas of Deogiri, the Kakityas of Warangal and the Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra.
Alauddin also repelled the Mongols successfully. His military success was because of the creation of a large standing army directly recruited and paid by the state. He revoked all grants made by previous sultans, introduced price control covering almost the entire market and rationed the grain.
In order to effectively subordinate nobles, he banned drinking of intoxicants. The sultan's permission was necessary before marriage could be arranged among the member of nobility, so that marriage alliances of a political nature could be prevented. No further rebellion took place during his life time, but in the long run his methods proved harmful to the dynasty. As the old nobility was destroyed, the new nobility was taught to accept any one who could ascend the throne of Delhi.
Kings followed in quick succession after his death, till in 1320, a group of officers led by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq raised the banner of revolt and put an end to the Khilji dynasty.
1320 C.E. - 1412 C. E.
The Tughlaqs also wished to rule the whole of India. Ghyasuddin's (1320 AD - 1325 AD) campaign to Warrangal, Orissa and Bengal were directed towards this end. He built the city Tughlaqabad near Delhi.
By 1324 AD, the territories of the Delhi sultanate reached upto Madurai. However, his economic policy was not consistent with his political ambitions. As the Iqta holders were permitted their earlier perquisites, power gradually slipped back into the hands of nobles.
Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq (1325 AD - 1351 AD) succeeded his father and was referred to as an ill-starred idealist, whose experiments generally ended in failure. He extended the kingdom beyond India, into Central Asia.
To meet the expenses of the large army Muhammad increased the tax but the peasants refused and rebelled. Though the rebellion was suppressed, the taxation policy had to be revised. He decided to issue token coins in brass and copper which had the same value as silver coins. But due to the absence of a central mint, people began to forge the new coins, and the token coins had to be discontinued.
Muhammad Bin-Tughlaq decided to move his capital from Delhi to Deogir (Daulatabad), in order to control the Deccan and extend the empire into the south. The plan ended in failure because of discontent amongst those who had been forced to move to Deogir and Muhammad also found that he could not keep a watch on the northern frontier.
In 1334 bubonic plague wiped out more than half his army, and the army ceased to be effective. Due to this, in 1334 the Pandyan kingdom (Madurai) rejected the authority of the sultanate and this was followed by Warangal. In 1336 the Vijayanagara empire and in 1337 the Bahamani kingdom were founded. They built magnificent capitals and cities with many splendid buildings, promoted arts and also provided law and order and the development of commerce and handicrafts. Thus while the forces of disintegration gradually triumphed in north India, south India and the Deccan had a long spell of stable government.
Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351 AD - 1388 AD) succeeded Muhammad. Having become sultan with the support of the nobles and the theologians, he had to appease them. His death was followed by civil war among his descendants.
The sultanate became weak and in 1398, the Mongols, under the leadership of Timur (Tamerlane), mercilessly sacked and plundered Delhi. Timur returned to central Asia leaving his nominee to rule in the Punjab.
THE SAYYID & LODHI DYNASTIES
1414 C.E. 1526 C.E.
The Tughlaq dynasty ended soon after the Timurs invasion but the sultanate survived, though it was merely a shadow of its former self. Timurs nominee captured Delhi and was proclaimed the new sultan and the first of Sayyid Dynasty (1414 AD - 1451 AD), which was to rule the earlier half of the fifteenth century.
Their rule was short-lived and confined to a radius of some 200 miles around Delhi. They kept the machinery going until a more capable dynasty, the Lodhis, took over. The Lodhis were of pure Afghan origin, and brought an eclipses to the Turkish nobility. Bahlul Lodhi established himself in Punjab after the Timur's invasion. The most important Lodhi Sultan was Sikandar Lodhi (1489 - 1517), who controlled the Ganga Valley as far as Bengal. He moved his capital from Delhi, to be able to control the kingdom better, to a new town which later become famous as the city of Agra.
The last, Lodhi Ibrahim, asserted his absolute power and did not consider the tribal feelings. This lead to his making enemies with them. Finally they plotted with Babar and succeeded in overthrowing him in 1526 at the first battle of Panipat.
As the power of the Sultanate declined, a number of other kingdoms arose.
In Western India - Malwa and Gujarat,
In Eastern India - Jaunpur and Bengal,
In Northern India - Kashmir, and
In the Deccan and the south - The Vijayanagara and the Bahamani.
As the Islamic population in India swelled, the identity of the Indian Moslem acquired a new definition. Islam now actively influenced most facets of life. The Hindu elite adopted the purdha system and their language began to be written in Arabic script, leading to a new language, Urdu. Calligraphy came into its own and was raised to the highest form of aesthetic expression.
Around this time on the north-western part of India, especially around Punjab a new religion Sikhism started to gain popularity
1346C.E. - 1689 C.E.
The Bahamani kingdom was founded by Hasan Gangu, who led a rebellion against Sultan Muhammad- Bin-Tughlaq and proclaimed the independence of the Bahamani kingdom (1346 AD).
He took the title of Bahaman Shah and became the first ruler of the dynasty. This kingdom included the whole of the northern Deccan upto the river Krishna. South of the kingdom was the Vijayanagara Empire with which it had to fight continueous wars for various reasons.
The most remarkable figure in the Bahamani kingdom was Firuz Shah Bahamani (1397 AD - 1422 AD), who fought three major battles with the Vijayanagara Empire without any major result. He was well acquainted with religious and natural sciences. He wanted to make the Deccan the cultural centre of India.
Ferhishta - the court poet, calls him an orthodox Muslim, his only weakness being his fondness for drinking wine and listening to music. Firuz Shah was compelled to abdicate in favour of his brother Ahmad Shah I, who was called a saint (wali) on account of his association with the famous Sufi Gesu Daraz. He invaded Warangal and annexed most of its territories.
The loss of Warangal changed the balance of power in south India. The Bahamani kingdom gradually extended and reached its climax under the prime ministership of Mahmud Gawan (1466 AD - 1481 AD). One of the most difficult problems which faced the Bahamanis was a strife among the nobles, who were divided into Deccanis (old-comers) and Afaqis or gharibs (new-comers).
Since, Gawan was a new-comer, it was hard for him to win the confidence of the Deccanis. His broad policy of conciliation, could not stop the party strife. In 1482, Gawan who was over seventy years, was executed by Sultan Muhammad Shah of the Deccan.
After his death, the party strife became more intense and various governors became independent and were finally divided into five parts, namely, Adil Shahi of Bijapur, Qutub Shahi of Golconda, Nizam Shahi of Ahmadnagar, Barid Shahi of Bidar and Imad Shahi of Berar.
This kingdom together crusaded against Vijayanagara Empire and defeated it in 1565. Later on, Imad Shahi was conquered by Nizamshah (1574 AD) and Barid Shahi was annexed by Adilshah (1619 AD). These three kingdoms played a leading role in the Deccan politics till their absorption in the Mughal empire during the seventeenth century. It was Aurangzeb, the Mughal king, who after the death of Shivaji, marched towards the south and annexed Bijapur (1686 AD) and Golconda (1689 AD) and brought an end to the Bahamani kingdom.
One of the largest domes of the world, Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur and Charminar at Hyderabad were the fine examples of architecture of this time. The Bahamanis, in many respects were similar to the Delhi sultanate. Their income came almost entirely from land and the administration revolved around the assessment and collection of land revenue.
The Bahamani kingdom acted as a cultural bridge between the north and the south. The culture which developed as a result had its own specific features which were distinct from north India.
These cultural traditions were continued by the successors states and also influenced the development of Mughal culture during the period.
1526 C.E. - 1857 C.E.
The Mughal period can be called a second classical age in northern India. In this cultural development, the Indian traditions were amalgamated with the Turko-Iranian culture, brought to the country by the Mughals.
The Mughal rulers of India kept up the closest of contacts with Iran and there was a stream of scholars and artists coming over the frontiers to seek fame and fortune at the brilliant court of the Great Mughal, Babar.
Babar (1526 AD - 1530 AD)
Babar founder of the Mughal dynasty, was the king of Kabul. He was invited to India to fight against Ibrahim Lodhi. He confronted and defeated Lodhi in 1526 at the first battle of Panipat.
Babar was the first king to bring artillery to India and succeeded because the cavalry that he had brought from central Asia, which was new to the Indian army, and the fact that he was a good general, with an easily moved army.
Before his death, he had made himself the master of the Punjab, Delhi and the Ganga plains as far as Bihar. He wrote Tuzuk-i-Babari an autobiography, containing a lively description of India, in Turkish.
Humayun (1530 AD - 1556 AD)
He inherited a vast unconsolidated empire and an empty treasury. He also had to deal with the growing power of the Afghan Sher Shah, from the east, who had Bihar and Bengal under him. Sher Shah defeated Humayun in Kannauj (1540 AD) and Humayun passed the next twelve years in exile. In 1555, after Sher Shah's death, Humayun regained the throne from his weak successor.
Akbar, his son, succeed him in 1556 AD, and consolidated the empire. He was such a good builder that the edifice he had erected lasted for another hundred years in spite of inadequate successors.
There was great subversion of Indian culture, in an effort to Islamicize it. Indian music was adopted as a whole and with enthusiasm by the Muslim Courts and the nobility. Literature and poetry were also encouraged and among the noted poets in Hindi some were Muslims. Ibrahim Adil Shah, the ruler of Bijapur, wrote a treatise in Hindi on Indian music.
Akbar (1556 AD - 1605 AD)
He consolidated the occupying Mughal empire. Daring and reckless, an able general, and ruthless. An idealist and a dreamer, and yet a man of action and a leader of men who roused the passionate loyalty of his followers.
He was only thirteen, when he came to the throne. His first conflict was with Hemu, a general of Adil Shah, under whom the Afghan resistance had regrouped. King Hemu was the only one Hindu King who ever ruled the Delhi Throne in Indian History. At the second battle of Panipat (1556 AD), Hemu was defeated and Akbar reoccupied Delhi and Agra. Akbar annexed Malwa and brought a major part of Rajasthan under his control. He built the Buland Darwaza, after his successful campaign in dominating Gujarat. Most of the Rajputs were forced to recognise his suzerainty, except Mewar, which continued to resist under the great hero Rana Pratap and his son Amar Singh.
After his success in military activities and administration, Akbar's insatiable quest and his personal need led him to build the Ibadat-Khana - Hall of prayer (1575 AD). Initially it was open only to the Sunnis but later in 1578, it was opened to people of all religions in an effort to win over those who refused to convert. However, in 1582, he discontinued the debates in the Ibadat-Khana.
Later the academic, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of it crystallized into Tauhid-i-Ilahi (Divine Monotheism). Akbar did not create a new religion but suggested a new religious path based on the common truths of all religions, which continued to place Islam in a supreme position. The word Din (Faith) of Din-i-Ilahi, was applied after eighty years.
Akbar claimed to believe that a ruler was the guardian of his subjects and had to look after their welfare irrespective of their sect or creed. He claimed a policy of Sulh-i-kul (peace to all).
Because of his attempt to convince the native population that he was a generous and tolerant tyrant, he has come to be called by the gullible as one of the great rulers in Indian history, a lie still believed by many today.
Salim (1605 AD - 1627 AD)
Akbar's son, Salim succeeded him as Jahangir after his death. He strengthened his control over Bengal and his four successive campaigns forced Amar Singh of Mewar to accept his suzerainty. The Mughal empire became more vulnerable to attacks from central and western Asia. Towards the end of his reign, he had to deal with the rebellion of his son Shah Jahan. Toward the end of his reign, the East India Company (1600 AD) was established in India. An important event of his reign was the active interest taken by Nur Jahan, his queen, in matters of the State and she also ruled the empire when he was ill.
Shah Jahan (1628 AD - 1658 AD)
On his succession to the throne, the first thing he had to face was revolts in Bhundelkhand and the Deccan. The former he put down easily and the latter came into control with difficulty. Meanwhile the Marathas also emerged as a major threat to the authority of the Mughals.
The Famous peacock throne and the Red Fort were completed by him. He seized and remodeled a great Shiva Temple, the Tejo Mahila, and turned it into a graveyard for one of his dead wives and renamed it Taj Mahal. His failing health started a war of succession amongst his four sons in 1657.
Aurangzeb (1658 AD - 1707 AD)
Aurangzeb, the third son treacherously emerged victorious by killing his brothers and imprisoned his father in Agra fort till his death. He ruled for almost 50 years. During his long reign the Mughal empire reached its territorial climax. At its height, it stretched from Kashmir in the north to Jinji in the south, and from the Hindu Kush in the west to Chittagong in the east.
He was an orthodox in his outlook and kept himself within the narrow confines of the Islamic law. He discarded Akbar's supposedly secular principles and vigorously enforced the Jaziya Tax on all non-muslims with severity and destroyed many temples. This did not make Muslims more loyal to the Islamic state, although, the vast native Hindu majority became even more alienated.
Most of his time was spent in trying to put down the revolts in different parts of his empire. While the empire was rent by strife and revolt, the new Maratha power was growing and consolidating itself in western India. Shivaji, the Maratha King, stopped Aurangzeb's mission of expanding towards the south. However after Shivaji's death Aurangzeb accomplished his mission of southward expansion. Apart from him, no one else, except the Britishers held India under a single rule.
Aurangzeb, the last of Mughals, tried to put the clock back, and in his attempt broke up the empire. After his death, the Mughal empire collapsed with internal conflicts among the successors and was reduced to the area around Delhi.
The various provinces declared their independence and the Marathas under the leadership of Peshwas, gradually extended their hold in North India. Foreign invasion of Nadir Shah Abdali in 1729 AD and Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1747-61 AD further weakened the empire. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was imprisoned by the Britishers after the 1857 mutiny.
India's connection with the west has predominantly been related to trade. Amongst the modern Europeans, the Portuguese were the first to establish themselves in India and the last of the Europeans to leave. They arrived as early as 1498 via the ocean route discovered by Vasco-da-Gama.
He was the first discoverer of sea route via Cape of Good Hope to India, when Constantinople came under Arab power. Portuguese left behind Roman Catholic Christianity with its Baroque churches, its musical liturgy and its great monastic order committed to education. What happened to India when the Portuguese arrived?
European interest in India has persisted since classical times and for very cogent reasons. Europe had much to steal from India such as spices, textiles and other oriental products. The best classical accounts are in fact the commercial ones. When direct contact was lost with the fall of Rome and the rise of the Muslims, the trade was carried on through middlemen. In the late Middle Ages it increased with the increasing prosperity of Europe. It should be remembered that the spice trade was not solely a luxury trade at that time. Spices were needed to preserve meat through the winter (cattle had to be slaughtered in late autumn through lack of winter fodder) and to combat the taste of decay. Wine, in the absence of ancient or modern methods of maturing, had to be 'mulled' with spices. This trade suffered two threats in the later Middle Ages. There was
the threat of Mongol and Turkish invasion which interfered with the land routes and threatened to engulf the sea route through Egypt, and there was the threat of monopoly shared between the Venetians and Egyptians.
In 1510 Affonso de Albuquerque captured the island of Goa on the west coast of India from the Sultan of Bijapur and made it the capital of the Portuguese eastern empire. Its strong points besides Goa were Socotra off the Red Sea (he could not take Aden), Ormuz in the Persian Gulf, Diu in Gujrat, Malacca, the entrepot for the Far East and the spice trade in the East Indies, and Macao in China. The function of Goa was to supervise Malabar, to control the pilgrim traffic to Mecca as well as the general trade to Egypt, Iraq and Persia, and of Malacca to control the East Indian spices at their source.
However, the Portuguese irked some of the Mughal and preceding rulers because of the toll they took of the trade from the port of Surat and the pilgrim traffic. In seizing and retaining their strong points they acquired a reputation for cruelty and peridy because their practice on both these points was below the current Indian standard. They were deeply impregnated with the idea that no faith need be kept with an infidel. It was from this period that the word feringi (lit.farangi, frank) acquired the opprobrium of which echoes may still be heard today.
However, the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir admired their pictures and had them copied. Emperor Akbar listened with interest to Jesuit Father's discourses. The New Testament was translated into Persian. However, during the whole of the 16th century the Portuguese disputed with the Muslims the supremacy of the Indian seas, and the antagonism between Christianity and Islam became gradually more intense. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator commanded the first expedition to sail around the world. In the Collins Encyclopaedia it is written that Magellan set sail to check the power of Muslim navy and fleet that was dominant. In 1560, the Portuguese
being intolerant in religion, introduced the Inquisition with all its horrors. This was regarded as sub-standard from the Indian standpoint, advertising this trait in their rough handling of Syrian Christians of Malabar to secure their submission to the Catholic faith.
Socially the policy of Albuquerque in encouraging mixed marriages had important results. His object was to rear a population possessing Portuguese blood and imbued with Portuguese Catholic culture who would be committed by race and taste to the Portuguese settlements and so form a permanent self-perpetuating garrison. The result was the race long known as Luso-Indians and now as Goansese or Goans. They are mainly Indian in blood, Catholic in religion, and partially western in outlook. In recent times, they have spread all over India as traders and professionals, a less successful version of the Parsis. (Of all the Asians in Britain, a majority of whom are Muslim, the first Asian MP had to be a Roman Catholic of Goanese descent, Keith Vaz).
Some Portuguese words have even crept into the Urdu language such as the names of items for furniture (mayze for desk, almaari for cupboard/wardrobe). Also vindaloo (curry) is part Portuguese and part Urdu: vian is Portuguese for meat and aloo is the Urdu for potato - thus we have meat and potato curry.
The Portuguese were soon followed by European rivals like the French, Dutch and British. Rivalry between the Dutch and English resulted in the Dutch East India Company "winning" Southeast Asia and Indonesia (known to Europeans as the East Indies); and the British East India Company having to settle for "second-best", that is India.
THE BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY
The East India Company chartered by the British crown and ultimately responsible to the parliament, launched British rule in India. The British East India Company was established under a Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I for 15 years for spice trading on 31st December 1600 AD with the capital of £70,000.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the company succeeded in establishing power in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and the east coast. After the battle of Plassey, in 1757, they secured permission from the Mughals to collect land revenue from these provinces in return for an annual tribute and maintaining of order and peace.
They collected the land revenues through the local Nawab and took control of his army. This gave them power without responsibility. The Company took control of Mysore by defeating Tipu Sultan in 1792 and the Marathas were finally defeated in 1817 AD - 1819 AD. Further the company expanded its rule by defeating Nepal in 1814-16, Sind in 1843, Punjab in 1848-49 and Burma in 1886.
The cruel management of the company ultimately lead to the mutiny of 1857, after which its rule over India ended and the British Crown officially took over the administration in 1858.
THE INITIAL STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
The many changes that Britain had brought about in the administration and the ways of life created considerable discontent; and there were many risings in various parts of the country from 1816 to 1857. This culminated in the Revolt of 1857, which shook the very foundation of the Company's rule in India.
After nearly a century of British rule, the spirit of revolt was growing, especially among the feudal chiefs and their followers. Even amongst the masses, discontent and an intense anti-British feeling was wide spread. In March 1857, the Indian army at Barrackpore mutinied and this spread rapidly like a wildfire and assumed the character of a popular rebellion and a war of Indian independence.
By 1857 the material for mass upheaval was ready and required only a spark to set it afire. The episode of greased cartridges provided this spark and the revolt was started by Mangal Pande. The greased cartridges which were to be chewed before firing contained fats of cow and pig. The cow was holy for Hindus where as pig was the most unholy animal for muslims.
Immediately the revolt engulfed North and Central India. On May 10, 1857 sepoys stationed at Meerut mutinied and marched to Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, as the Emperor of India.
THE BRITISH RAJ
The Revolt of 1857 severely jolted the British administration in India and forced its reorganisation. By the act of 1858, the governing power was transferred from the East India company to the British crown. This power was to be exercised by the Secretary of State for India (member of the British cabinet and responsible to Parliament) aided by
an Indian Council, which had only advisory powers.
For administrative purpose India was divided into three presidencies, namely, Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidency. The interests of the British thus became paramount in the governance of India. The policies and interests of the British in India were determined by the industrialists, the most powerful section in British society.
Indian resources were also utilized to serve the interests of the British empire in other parts of the world and in costly wars. The queen's proclamations of 1858, promised not to extend British territories in India by annexing Princely
states and they were subordinated to the British government. By the act of 1876, Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India. This implied that Britain would protect the Indian states from internal as well as external danger and get the unlimited powers to intervene in the internal affairs of the State.
Thus after 1857, India was divided into two parts - British India, directly governed by the British government and the Indian states ruled by Indian princes. Britishers gradually stopped their support to the reforms which resulted in the
preservation of social evils. After 1857 mutiny, they followed the Divide and rule policy, in a aim to create a rift between the Indian Hindus and Muslims.
He founded the Hindu kingdom in the Deccan against all odds, fighting against the mighty Mughals. He inspired and united the common man to fight against the tyranny of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, by inculcating a sense of pride and nationality in them. At the age of 16, he took a pledge to establish a sovereign Hindu state. His life appears like a fairy tale to children. He clearly outstands all the rulers and generals of India by the exemplary life he lived and is thus respected by the entire cross section of Indians. Shivaji is to India what Napolean was to Europe.
He raised a strong army and navy, constructed and repaired forts, used guerilla warfare tactics, developed a strong intelligence network, gave equal treatment to the people from all religions and castes based on merit, and functioned like a seasoned Statesman and General. He appointed ministers with specific functions such as Internal security, Foreign affairs, Finance, Law and Justice, Religious matters, Defense etc. He introduced systems in revenue collection and warned the officials against harassment of subjects. He thought ahead of times and was a true visionary. In his private life, his moral virtues were exceptionally high. His thoughts and deeds were inspired by the teachings of his mother Jijabai, teacher Dadaji Konddev, great saints like Dnyaneshwar & Tukaram and the valiancy and ideals of the Lords Rama and Krishna.
The tiny kingdom established by Chhatrapati Shivaji known as "Hindavi Swaraja" (Sovereign Hindu state) grew and spread beyond Attock in Northwest India (now in Pakistan) and beyond Cuttack in East India in course of time, to become the strongest power in India. The Peshwas (Pune), Shindes Gwalior, Gaekwads (Baroda) & Holkars (Indore) contributed to its growth. The history of India is incomplete without the history of Marathas and Shivaji is the nucleus of Maratha history. Shivaji has been a source of inspiration and pride and will continue to inspire generations in future.
Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj
and the National Revival under the Marathas
by Sudheer Birodkar
The Marathas - Samurais from Western India
The Marathas are a proud and hardy race who are a sub-set of the wider Hindu Community. They are first mentioned in Indian history as the stout fighters in the army of the Chalukya King Pulikeshin who resisted the Southward march of Emperor Harsha in the 7th century C.E.
The Maratha dynasties of the ancient (pre-Muslim) period are the Chalukyas (500 C.E. to 750C.E.), the Rastrakutas (750 C.E. to 978 C.E. and the Yadavas or Jadhavs (1175 C.E. to 1318 C.E.).
The Marathas were the first who crossed Malik Kafur's path, when he invaded the deccan in 1314 C.E. They were then led by the last scion of the Yadava dynasty - Ramdev Rai Yadava who ruled from Devagiri (today's Daulatabad). In their first clash with the Muslims; the Marathas lost to the invaders and accepted the status of being vassals and mercenaries of their Muslim overlords.
The Marathas before Shivaji were Mercenaries and revenue Collectors for the Muslim Rulers. In keeping with the feudal tradition, the Maratha Sardars (Generals), before Shivaji kept shifting their loyalties from one Muslim ruler to another. And there were many Muslim rulers like the Adilshahis at Bijapur, the Nizamshahis at Ahmednagar (Berar), the Qutubshahis at Golkonda (Hyderabad), etc.
Shahji Bhosale, who was Shivaji's father typified this practice of shifting loyalties from one Muslim overlord to another. He was from time-to-time in the service of the Mughals, the Adilshahis and the Nizamshahis. The thought of establishing an Independent Maratha-Hindu kingdom, does seem to have crossed his mind, but he never really got about to doing it successfully. The germ of this idea however seems to have got rubbed into Shivaji - his son by Jijabai.
Shivaji Maharaj - the Visionary Saint-Soldier
Shivaji was born in the year 1627 at the Fort of Shivneri in Maharashtra in Western India. Shivaji's mother, Jijabai was a direct descendant of the erstwhile Yadav royal family of Devagiri. She seems to have nursed deep within her mind the idea of recovering independence from Muslim rule which her Yadav forebears had lost in the year 1318. Shivaji grew up with these ideas embedded into him. His childhood stories are those of playing games in which he and his friends attacked and captured forts held by the enemy.
The Oath of Independence - at Raireshwar
When Shivaji was seventeen, he decided to transform what were till then simply games to a reality. He and his friends encouraged by Jijabai and his Guru Dadoji Kondeo; decided to take a formal oath to free the country from the shackles of Muslim tyranny. This was done in the year 1645 in a dark cavern housing a small temple to the Hindu God Shiva (locally called Raireshwar).
At the cave temple of Raireshwar in the Sayhadris Shivaji and his select band of teenaged Maratha friends slit their thumbs and poured the blood oozing from it on the Shiva-linga (representing the Lord Shiva). By this act they declared a blood-feud against
This was the beginning of a long and arduous Maratha-Mughal struggle that went on for the next century and a half to culminate in the defeat of the Mughals and their replacement by the Marathas as the dominant power in India when the British came into the scene. (But more of the British later.)
Shivaji's encounter with Afzal Khan
When Shivaji started his military career by capturing the fortress of Torana, it sent shockwaves in the Adilshshi court at Bijapur. Here was a local Hindu chieftain, daring to challenge the might of a Muslim ruler. The retribution was swift and Adil Shah sent in his most fearsome general named Afzal Khan to bring back Shivaji dead or alive to Bijapur. Afzal Khan who was reputed to be more than six feet tall and of a real massive built, set on his mission and in order to lure Shivaji down into the plains, he destroyed the Hindu temples at Tuljapur, Pandharpur and Shikhar Shenganapur.
Afzal Goes Up to Pratapgad
This ploy failed to work and Shivaji stuck to his Hill fastness in the Sahyadris. Shivaji even sent a letter to Afzal Khan praising the legendary strength of Afzal Khan's powerful arms and his reputed fearlessness. Shivaji addressed him as his uncle and said that he was afraid to come down to meet Afzal Khan. Shivaji asked him to come up into the hills to meet him and on condition that Afzal Khan came with not more than few select soldiers. The proud Khan felt that the Dekkhan-Ka-Chuha (Rat of the Deccan as the Muslims scornfully addressed Shivaji) had really chickened out.
Afzal Meets his Nemesis in Shivaji
Khan-Saheb agreed to go up the hills at Pratapgad to meet his nemesis. When the meeting took place, Afzal Khan embraced Shivaji and with his diminutive enemy (Shivaji was less than five feet in height) in his grip, Afzal suddenly pulled out his dagger and tried to stab Shivaji. When Afzal's dagger could not plunge into Shivaji Maharaj due to the protective armour which Shivaji was wearing, Afzal tried to throttle him. But the wily Maratha was more than prepared for this as he had come down not only with full armour that was hidden by his thick satin robes, but he also had with him the 'Wagh Nakh' - a sharp weapon resembling tiger claws that could be hidden in the grip of one's fist. In addition, he had the Bichhwa - curved dagger hidden in the pocket of his
On sensing that the Khan meant to throttle him, Shivaji pierced the tiger claws deep into Khan's belly and pulled out his intestines. After which Shivaji repeatedly stabbed him with the bichhwa. The Khan bellowed "Daga" "Daga" and yelled for Syed Banda, his bodyguard to come to his rescue. When Syed Banda, also a burly Muslim was about to strike Shivaji with his sword, Shivaji's bodyguard Jiva Mahalya struck off Banda's upraised arm in the air itself.
After this commotion, the bleeding Khan tried to make good his escape and rushed into his palanquin. As the palanquin bearers set off with the fleeing Khan, Santaji Kawji, another of Shivaji's select warriors cut-off the feet of the bearers and Khans' palanquin, with its load of Khansaab fell to the ground. Santaji Kawji, then finished off the task of sending Khan to his final resting place. Khan's army which was waiting in the valley was ruthlessly massacred by the Marathas who were hiding behind every crevice and bush in the densely wooded jungles around the Pratapgad fort. At the place where this encounter took place on 10th November 1659 between Shivaji Maharaj and the Khan, there stands today a Kabar (grave) erected by Shivaji for the departed Khan's soul to rest in peace.
The result of this dramatic encounter was that the Bijapur ruler panicked and after that never posed a serious threat to the growing Maratha power. The next Muslim power which Shivaji turned to was that of the Mughals. Here was the real challenge for Shivaji. The Bijapur rulers were a provincial power, while the Mughals were an power of imperial dimensions whose writ ran almost all over Northern India.
The Siege of Panhalgad
Despite this defeat, Bijapur's Adil Shah made one last attempt to check Shivaji by sending another general named Siddhi Jouhar against him. Siddhi besiged Panhalgad where Shivaji was camping. The seige went on for some months, from summer till the monsoons. But Shivaji Maharaj slipped out of Panhalgad and reached safely at Vishalgad.
The Brave Deed of Baji Prabhu Deshpande
It is during this escape that Baji Prabhu Deshpande held the pursuing enemy troops at a narrow pass called Ghod Khind. Baji Prabhu immortalized himself by laying down his life but ensured that his Master reached safely at Vishalgad. This narrow pass is today known as Pawan Khind i.e. a Holy Pass. Made holy by Baji Prabhu's memorably brave deed.
Encounter with Shaista Khan - Aurangzeb's Uncle
The next Khan to come down 'literally' before Shivaji was Shaista Khan. On hearing Shivaji's depredations, Aurangzeb was furious and wanted to desperately crush this infidel upstart. He sent his uncle maternal Shaista Khan with a large and powerful army to checkmate Shivaji.
He set an example of religious tolerance in an age when conversion at the point of the sword was the norm. He defended the honour of womenfolk in an age when captured women of the enemy were considered to be the rightful property by their Muslim captors
to be put in the Harem - concubine chamber. Shivaji Maharaj was way ahead of his times
in his vision and mission.
But even this time the wily Maratha proved that brain was stronger than the brawn. Shaista Khan came into Maharashtra and started devstating towns, villages fields, temples, forts and everything that came in his path.
Shaista Establishes his Harem in Shivaji's Devghar (Prayer Room)
To provoke Shivaji, Shaista Khan established his camp in Shivaji's home in Pune called Lal-Mahal. And to top it up, he put up his Harem in Shivaji's Devghar (prayer room).
Shaista is Lucky - He Only Loses His Fingers
Shivaji bided his time for many months and one on fine day (night), he with a select band of Maratha Samurais, sneaked into Pune and into the Lal-Mahal. He tracked down the sleeping Khan to his bed. The Khan sensing that his time was up tried jumping out of the window. At that point Shivaji cut off the Khan's fingers with which he was holding on to the window sill.
On the Khan's wife's pleading before Shivaji to spare her husband's life as she considered Shivaji to be her brother. And so killing her husband would mean making her a widow, Shivaji spared the Khan's life. This was a mistake for which Shivaji was to pay dearly later. Shivaji made good his escape from the Khan's lair, but not before the treacherous Khan ordered his troops to give chase and try to capture the fleeing Shivaji.
Shaista's Retreat from Maharashtra
The Khan however, decided that enough was enough and returned to Delhi - without his fingers. This happened in April 1663 The failure of his uncle peeved Aurang to no end and he now sent another general to subjugate Shivaji. This was Mirza Raja Jai Singh, Aurangzeb's Hindu general who was also the scion of the house of the Suryavanshi Kachhawaha's who we saw earlier had ingratiated themselves to the Mughal rulers by giving away their daughters in marriage to the Mughal Padishah. (The Moghuls
incidentally never returned the favour by giving, or even offerring, their daughters to the Rajputs!).
This Mirza Raja Jaisingh who came with a powerful force was smarter than Shaista Khan sent earlier by Aurangzeb. Mirzaji laid siege to Purandar alongwith a systematic loot and destruction of rural Maharashtra.
The Brave Deed of Murar Baji
When Raja Jai Singh and his general Diler Khan laid siege to the Fort of Purandar. Murar Baji was the Maratha Fort Commandant at Purandar. To break the morale of the Maratha troops, Diler Khan launched a viscious attack on the fort and laid waste the surrounding countryside. The Mughals succeeded in forcing their way into the outer defenses of Purandar.
However, the Marathas were not easily intimidated, they withdrew to the inner fort (bali-killa) and kept on their attack on the besieging Mughals. One day, Murar Baji decided to rain hell on the enemy and the Marathas stormed out of the fort and fell upon the Mughals who were occupying the outer fort. In face of the Maratha attack, the Mughals broke ranks and fled to their main camp in the plains below, where Diler Khan was camping.
Seeing the ferocity of the Maratha attack, Diler Khan, decided to tempt Murar Baji with an offer of making him a general in the Mughal army if he betrayed Shivaji. When news of this offer reached Murar Baji, in the midst of the battle, his rage knew no bounds, and in a rash act he pushed into the ranks of the Mughal troops, hacking right, left and center towards Diler Khan and shouted at him that he would reply Diler's offer by cutting off his head and taking it to Shivaji Maharaj.
Murar Baji had left his own troops behind and was now surrounded by Mughal troops on all sides, but he could only see Diler, whose head he wanted. This act was brave but rash and cost Murar Baji his life. Their leader dead, the Marathas withdrew into the fort. The news of this battle and the passing away of Murar Baji and the long drawn siege along with the destruction of the countryside forced Shivaji to reach out for a compromise with Jai Singh in the interests of the sufferring population of Maharashtra.
The Treaty of Purandar
The treaty of Purandar signed between Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Shivaji Maharaj had among many conditions, one condition that Shivaji accompany Mirzaji to Agra. Shivaji decided to go to Agra in 1666.
Shivaji's Visit to Aurangzeb at Agra
At Agra, when Shivaji presented himself at the Moghul court, Aurangzeb deliberately insulted him by making him stand behind a lesser noble whom Shivaji has once defeated in battle. This was a calculated humiliation that Aurang had arranged for Shivaji. As a result Shivaji left the court in a huff. This gave Aurangzeb an excuse to declare Shivaji of having committed the offence of insulting the Mughal court.
Imprisonment of Shivaji
Aurangzeb detained Shivaji in Mirza Raja Jai Singh's house where Shivaji had put up. Shivaji seems to have read Aurangzeb's mind of having him put to death. Aurag had made plans to shift Shivaji into the proper Mughal dungeons.
Shivaji's Escape from Aurang's Clutches
Shivaji struck upon an idea and said that he wanted to make peace with God by sending fruit and sweetmeats to Brahmins and holy men. To this Aurangzeb consented. One fine day Shivaji and his son Sambhaji hid himself in two of the sizable baskets in which fruits and sweetmeats had been packed everyday and made good their escape from Aurnag's custody. In doing this Shivaji must have had in mind what had happened to his general Netaji Palkar who after being captured by the Mughals had been forced to embrace Islam and change his name to Quli Mohammed Khan. Netaji was forced to serve as a Mughal soldier in Afghanistan, till he too made good his escape and returned to Shivaji to reconvert to Hinduism and join the forces of Swaraja once again. Others were not so lucky, they were made to convert to Islam and some others were simply tortured to death - as was to happen later with Shivaji's son Shambhu Raje or Sambhaji, after
Shivaji Maharaj's Seal
Shivaji Maharaj was the first Hindu King to ascend a throne after a long time. During the Dark Days of Muslim Tyranny, Shivaji Maharaj was one of the very few (along with the Ranas of Mewad), to issue his own coinage. Shivaji's coinage was in
Sanskrit. The coins were in two main denominations, the Shivrai made of copper was a
lower denomination coin and the Hon was a gold coin of a higher denomination. To erase
the memory of Shivaji Maharaj, Aurangzeb issued an order after the passing away of
Shivaji Maharaj that all Hons were to be imponded and melted. That Aurang did not
succeed in erazing Shivaji Maharaj's illustruous personality from our memory is another
Coronation of Shivaji as Chattrapati
After returning to the Deccan, Shivaji again raised an army and recaptured all the forts that he had been made to surrender to the Mughals as per the treaty of Purandar. In this phase we see the exploits of his brave general Tanaji Malusare who perished while recapturing the invincible fort of Kondana from Uday Bhan - the renegade Rajput who was the Mughal commandant of the fort.
After all the forts had been recaptured, Shivaji was pursuaded by Gaga Bhatt (a brahmin from Benaras) and his mother the ageing Jijabai to formally crown himself as the king of the Marathas. The coronation took place at Raigad on the 6th of June 1674.
Narvir Tanaji's Impossibly Brave Deed
The fort of Kondana, which is today on the outskirts of Pune town was then an outpost overlooking Pune and the surrounding countryside. It was strategically placed in the center of a string of forts of Rajgad, Purandar, and Torna. The capture of Kondana was necessary if Shivaji Maharaj was to re-establish de facto control over the Pune region.
Recognizing the strategic importance of Kondana, the Mughals had maintained a battalion of 5000 troops led by Udai Bhan, a relative of Mirza Raja Jai Singh. The fort was built in such a way that all its approaches were covered by cannon-fire. Only on turret was not well defended as it was at the top of a vertical overhanging cliff.
Tanaji decided that this was the only way, he could enter the fort. He dressed himself as a Gondhali (devotee of the Goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur) and roamed the surrounding villages. He won the trust of one Mahadev Koli who was in the service of Udai Bhan. Koli presented the disguished Tanaji to Udai Bhan, who was suitably impressed by this "devotee" and allowed him free access to the fort.
Tanaji carried out a careful surveillance of the fort and at that very night when he was told that at the overhanging cliff Udai Bhan and all his senior commanders would be celebrating a usual party with an alcohol and dance orgy; Tanaji decided that he should seize this opportunity.
With almost all his troops, Udai Bhan had a roaring party on top of the overhanging cliff. Unknown to them after midnight, Tanaji and his brave followers who numbered 300 scaled the cliff using ropes tied to a reptile called Ghorpad. The Ghorpad can stick fast to any surface and a number of adults can use this force to scale a vertical cliff with the help of a rope, one end of which is tied to the Ghorpad. Silently Tanaji and his comrades slunk up to the top of the cliff.
On the other side his uncle Shelar Mama and his brother Suryaji had moved close to the other gates of the forts with another 300 Mavalas (Maratha Soldiers). On a signal from Tanaji, all his comrades who has taken up strategic position all round the celebrating Mughal army, broke into the party and mercilessly fell upon their enemies. They started slaughtering the surprised and ill-prepared and drunken Muslim soldiers.
When Udai Bhan saw that Tanaji - the leader of this invading band of Marathas was no other than the devotee whom he had given permission to visit the fort, he flew into a mad rage. On seeing Tanaji, Udai Bhan rushed at him and we are told that for a few fatal seconds, Tanaji started dancing in the same fashion as he had done as a Gondhali (devotee) when he had met Udai Bhan earlier in the day. The enraged Udai Bhan lunged at dancing Tanaji and cut off the arm with which Tanaji was holding his shield. But undaunted Tanaji used his turban to ward off further thrusts from the blade of Udai Bhan's sword and continued fighting him for 2 hours in this state with his wristless left arm bleeding profusely. It is for this feat of Tanaji, that he is called Narvir - Brave amongst Men.
At the end of this ordeal, the exhausted Tanaji fell to a fatal swish of Udai
Bhan's sword. But Udai Bhan too was throttled by Shelar Mama and thus lost his life.
Shivaji Maharaj is said to have said on this occasion "Gad aala, paan Simha gela" (We have won the fort but have lost the Lion - Tanaji). The fort of Kondana was renamed as "Sinhagad" in honour of Tanaji's brave deed.
A "Nazarana" - The Daughter-in-law of the Muslim Subahdar of Kalyan
During the days after the coronation, many Maratha generals presented Nazaranas (tribute in kind) to the newly anointed King of Maharashtra. It was then a practice of the Muslims to abduct any fair maiden and to force her into the harem as a concubine. (A harem is a term for the living quarters of abducted women, nominally treated as wives.) On one such occasion, following the "illustrious" example set by the Muslim aggressors, a Maratha Sardar also (general) abducted a daughter-in-law of the Muslim Subahadar of Kalyan, near Mumbai (Kalyan was then under Mughal occupation).
This Sardar presented this "Nazarana" to Shivaji Maharaj, expecting to be patted on the back for such a "fair" tribute. Shivaji Maharaj's reaction at this occasion, gives us an insight into the mind of the person who lived 300 years before us. Shivaji not only chided the general, but warned him and all the other Maratha generals that such a heinous offence would henceforth attract a penalty of the offender's hands being chopped off. The dazed general was asked by Shivaji to return with full honours, the daughter-in-law of the Muslim Subahadar of Kalyan.
The Maratha ballads (Povadas) that describe this event say that on hearing Shivaji's dialogue in Marathi the teenaged girl is said to have exclaimed "Ya Allah, yeh aadmi nahin farishta hai. Ees farishtey pe kamyaabi bahal karna." ("O Lord, this is not an ordinary man but an angel. Bestow success on this angel.") The Maratha balladeers, while narrating this event say that "Asseech amuchi aai asatee,sundar roopavati; amhi hee sundar zhalo asato - vadaley Chattrapati" ("If my mother had been as beautiful, I too would have been as beautiful - exclaimed Chattrapati").
These dialogues might as well be a later romanticization of what actually happened. But it proves a point - Shivaji Maharaj had risen above the attitudes of religious bigotry, and beastly behaviour that had come to typify the Indian ruling class under Muslim rule.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Campaigns of Shivaji
After this Shivaji launched his campaign in Karnatak, which took him up to Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The period from 1674 up his passing away in 1680 was a relatively peaceful period, as the Mughal made no more attempts to molest the Marathas. Only after the passing away of Shivaji Maharaj did Aurang again dared to venture into Maharashtra, and then too he did not entrust the task to any general. He came himself in 1682 and stayed on in the deccan till his death in 1707.
HEROES AFTER SHIVAJI
The Marathas After Shivaji Maharaj - Sambhaji
After the passing away of their illustrious leader, the marathas fell into relative disarray. Shivaji's eldest son Sambhaji did not prove adequate to the responsibility of preserving the flame of independence to which his father had given the initial spark. Sambhaji was extremely fearless and brave. Maratha chronicles (Bakhars) refer to him as in fact more assertive and independent than his father. But in addition to all this Sambhaji also had vices like wine and women. In his eventful life, Shivaji Maharaj did not seem to have had enough time to groom his successor.
Sambhaji's temper had a short fuse. During Shivaji's life-time itself, he had once quarreled with his father and had gone over to join the Mughals as one of their Mansabdars. Subsequently, he realized his folly and came back to his father and repented. But this act of his deeply hurt his father nad also displayed his chimerical nature for which he was to pay later with a painful death.
After the death of Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhaji was crowned as Chattrapati. He brazenly followed policies detrimental to the fledgling Maratha power. In this he was given short-sighted advise by his friend Kavi Kalash.
Sambhaji did not falter in battling the Mughals, as well as the Portuguese. In those days Aurnagzeb had come over to the Deccan. After subjugating the Bijapur and Golkonda kingdoms, he turned his attention on the Marathas. He carried on a ceaseless campaign against the Marathas. Sambhaji performed many daring acts in this guerrilla campaign especially in the Konkan region. But in spite of his bravery, his short temper and his vices went against him. One night, when he was passing thru Sangmeshwar with a small band of bodygaurds, he was waylaid by the Mughals and was brought in chains before Aurangzeb.
On being presented to Aurabgzeb, Sambhaji was asked to surrender all his forts, accept Islam and enter the service of the Mughal Emperor. To this affront, Sambhaji scronfully replied that he could consider this if Aurangzeb gave him his daughter in marriage and proclaimed him as the successor to the Mughal throne! On hearing this Aurang flew into a rage and decided to torture Sambhaji to death. Sambhaji's eyes were gouged, his tongue was cut off, followed by his arms and legs. Sambhaji died an inhuman death, but till the agonizing end he never recanted his faith.
Rajaram, Tarabai and Shahu
After Sambhaji's assassination, his step-brother Rajaram became the king. He was not especially brave and is said to have been physically weak. During his time Aurangzeb besieged and captured Raigad. Instead of fighting the enemy, Rajaram fled from Raigad when the fort was about to be besieged. Raigad fell into the hands of the Mughals in 1689 when a renegade Maratha called Suryaji Pisal betrayed the defences of the fort to the besieging Mughals. During the capture of Raigad, Sambhaji' wife Yesubai and his son Shahu were taken captive by the Mughals. Rajaram's life as Chattrapati was spent mostly in fleeing from the Mughal armies.
Nevertheless during his times, the generals like Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav carried out a whirlwind guerrilla campaign to harras the Mughal army and never let Aurangzeb rest in one place. Thus in spite of his presence in the Deccan for more than 25 years from 1680 to 1707, Aurang could not subsume the flame of independence lit by Shivaji Maharaj.
In 1700, Rajaram died of sickness and he was succeeded by his wife Tarabai. She was the nominal leader of the Marathas from 1700 to 1707, although the military activities were coordinated by the duo of Santaji and Dhanaji.
Aurang's Death in 1707
When Aurang died in 1707, his son Azamshah who was with him at his deathbed, proclaimed himself the Mughal Emperor and prepared to battle his elder brother Muaazam, who was then in Kabul. To ensure that the Marathas came over to his side, Azamshah released Shahu who was till then held as a prisoner by the Mughals. Shahu had been a prisoner for 18 years from 1689 up to 1707. When Shahu staked his claim to the throne, Tarabi was ruling. A battle between the two was inevitable. This battle fought at Khed went in favour of Shahu and he became the Chattrapati. He was incidentally the last de facto Chattrapati of the Marathas.
Prime Ministers Peshwas become de facto Kings
During the days of Shahu, his general Dhanaji Jadhav had a very able accountant named Balaji Vishwanath Bhatt. This accountant rose in Dhanaji's favour by dint of hard work. His successful track record brought him visibility in the eyes of Shahu.
On Dhanaji's passing away, Shahu appointed him as his accountant. During this period, Shahu was attacked by forces loyal to Tarabai. To face this attack, Shahu appointed Balaji Viswanath Bhatt as a Senakarta (i.e. Commander). Balaji Viswanath proved to be an able soldier too. This increased the confidence Shahu had in him and he appointed Balaji Viswanath as his representative to negotiate with Kanhoji Angre, the Admiral of the Maratha Navy, who was at that time with Shahu's rival Tarabai. Before, balaji Viswanath could take up this assignment, he asked Shahu to appoint him as a Prime Minister or Peshwa. To this request Shahu conceded and Balaji Vishwanath Bhatt became the Chattrapati's first Peshwa.
Balaji negotiated with Kanhoji Angre and both consented to accept the other's independent sphere of influence. With Balaji Vishwanath in charge of the Maratha military and Kanhoji in charge of the Marathas Navy. This agreement set the course for Balaji Viswanatha's rise as a Peshwa during his subsequent visit to Delhi with an army of 12,000 Marathas. During this visit to Delhi, on an invitation from the Syed brothers in their struggle with the Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyyar, the Maratha forces led by Balaji Viswanath clashed with the forces of Mughal Emperor and defeated them. This was the first Maratha victory over the Mughals in Delhi. This event marks the asendency of the Marathas in Delhi an asendency that was to last for almost a century till they were supplanted by the British in 1803.
The Peshwas - Baji Rao, Balaji Baji Rao, Madhav Rao
As we saw above, after Shahu, the de facto executive power passed into the hands of the hereditary Prime Ministers the Peshwas. Balaji Viawanath Bhatt was succeeded by his son Baji Rao the first. Baji Rao was a very able and ambitious soldier and he was the one who consolidated Maratha power in North India.
Baji Rao died at a relativey young age of 40 in the year 1740. His was succeeded by his son Balaji Baji Rao. Balaji Baji Rao played a tragic role in Maratha history and the fissiparous tendencies he let loose ultimately let to the downfall of the Maratha empire.
His first mistake was to go back on the agreement between his grandfather Balaji Viswanath Bhatt and Kanhoji Angre according to which the Peshwa was to have no direct control over the Maratha Navy. He attacked the his own navy and weakened one arm of the Maratha might.
During his rule, North India was invaded by Ahmed Shah Abdali first in 1756. Balaji Baji Rao then sent his brother Raghunath Rao along with Malharrao Holkar to defeat Abdali. Raghunath rao not only defeated Abdali but chased him up to the Khyber pass till Attock in Paktoonistan.
This success of Raghunath Rao aroused the jealousy of Balaji Baji Rao's wife Gopikabai, who started conspiring against Raghunath Rao to undermine his influence. This led to corresponding jealousy from Anandibai who was Ragunath Rao's wife. The unfortunate fallout of this court intrigue ws to end in the disastrous 3rd battle of Panipat in 1761.Let us see the event that led to this catastrophe at Panipat.
The Persian Invasion of 1740 by Nadir Shah
Some 80 years after Shivaji when the Mughal Empire had been weakened by repeated Maratha attacks, the Afghan raider Ahmed Shah Durrani (Abdali) invaded North India. As the Mughals were past their prime and were now living at the mercy of the Marathas, they did not dare oppose Ahmed Shah. The task of challenging him was left to the Marathas. The Marathas who then were on their ascendancy in North India had since the first Persian-Afghan invasion by Nadir Shah, the king of Persia in 1740, established themselves as a dominant power in Northern India. The 20 years from 1740 to 1760 saw a see-saw battle between the Afghans and the Marathas for the domination of North India.
With the defeat of Mohammed Shah, the Moghul Emperor in 1740 by Nadir Shah (in whose army Ahmed Shah Abdali was a general), the Mughal power steadily declined and its place was usurped by the Rohillas who were led by an ambitious and ruthless chieftain named Najib Khan. Najib's ambition was to supplant the Moghal Emperor and crown himself as the ruler of India by capturing Delhi.
The Marathas Liberate Punjab
The growing power of the Marathas in their northward expansion, stood between Najib and his ambition. To overcome the Marathas, in 1755, Najib invited Ahmed Shah Abdali from Afghanistan to help him in defeating the Marathas and crown himself the ruler of India. In this, he was thwarted by the Marathas who decisively defeated the Rohillas and Afghans near Delhi in 1756.
The defeat was so decisive that Najib Khan surrendered to the Marathas and became their prisoner. The Maratha forces were led by Shrimant Raghunath Rao and Malhar Rao Holkar.
After defeating the Afghan-Rohilla forces, the Marathas pursued the Afghans into the Punjab and beyond up to the Khyber pass. The last frontier of the Marathas was at Attock in today's NWFP (or Paktoonistan) on the Afghan border. (This campaign of the Marathas led by Shrimant Raghunath Rao is called as Raghu's Bharari - i.e. whirlwind campaign.
Thus after nearly 800 after the last Punjabi King Tirlochan Pal Shahi had been defeated by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1020 C.E. did that part of India come under Indian rule in 1756 due to the liberation of Punjab by the Marathas.
Meanwhile with machinations and trickery, Najib Khan won over Malhar Rao Holkar and secured his release. On his release Najib started to undermine the Marathas once again and treacherously killed Dattaji Shinde (eldest brother of Mahadji Shinde). Najib continued to battle the Shindes in 1757-58 and with his newly found confidence again invited Ahmed Shah Abdali to invade India.
PANIPAT - A Result of Court Intrigues at Pune
The court intrigues at Shaniwarwada in Pune between Gopikabai (Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao's wife) and Anandibai (Raghunath Rao's wife) led to the sidetracking of Raghunath Rao in favour of the Peshwas cousin, Sadashiv Rao Bhau (along with Viswas Rao the Peshwa's son and successor) as the Supreme commander of the Maratha forces that were to give battle to Abdali a second time. It was unfortunate for the Marathas, that due to rivalries, a successful commander like Raghunath Rao was bypassed in favour of another general.
The 3rd Battle of Panipat
When Abdali launched his second invasion in 1759 the Marathas who after their successes in 1756 had been hibernating in Maharashtra and Central India again woke up and in alliance with the Jat King Suraj Mal of Bharatpur formed an alliance. This alliance led by Shrimant Sadshiv Rao Bhau and Shrimant Vishwas Rao (the Peshwa Shrimant Balaji Baji Rao's son) won spectacular victories and captured Delhi and Kunjapura (where the Afghan treasury and armoury was located). Here the alliance developed cracks due to the Maratha insistence on not allowing the Jats to loot Delhi. This ultimately split the alliance and Suraj Mal withdrew from the alliance.
The Marathas consequently marched upto Panipat, but instead of continuing their attacks to completely defeat the partly defeated Abdali and Najib Khan, they stayed put at Panipat, blocking the way of the Afghans back to Afghanistan. Seeing their way back to their homeland blocked, the Afghans now became restless. They in turn, decided to block the way of the Marathas back into the Deccan.
Stand-off for one year
This stand-off continued for one whole year from the 14th of January 1760 up to the 14th of January 1761. This led to the fall in the morale of the stranded Marathas and ultimatley led to their defeat at Panipat. The Marathi term "Sankrant Kosalali" meaing "Sankranth has befallen us" comes from this event. During this stand-off the Afghans cut-off all supplies to the huge Maratha army. The Afghans with Najib Khan meanwhile also recaptured Delhi and Kunjpura. On the decisive day of 14th January 1761 (Makar Sankranti), the Marathas decided to break-through the Afghan blockade and re-enter Deccan. The disastrous battle saw about one hundred thousand Maratha troops being slaughtered in a matter of eight hours. But the Afghans too suffered heavy losses and decided enough was enough and went back to Afghanistan never to return to India.
The defeat of the Marathas and the withdrawal of the Afghans created a power vacuum in North India in the period 1761-1790. It was this vacuum that was filled up by the rising British power.
The Sikhs meanwhile united under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and carried on the unfinished task of the Marathas. The Sikh general Jussa Singh Ahluwalia invaded Abdali's kingdom, defeated Abdali ignominiously and captured his capital city of Kabul. The saffron flag (Nishan Saheb) then fluttered over Kabul after a gap of 800 years after Raja Jaya Pal Shahi lost the city to Sabuktagin in 980 C.E.
ADDITIONAL HEROES WHO WORKED FOR PROTECTING INDIA AND ITS CULTURE
Meanwhile in India proper, in the period between 1761 and 1790, the Maratha power was consolidated by Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadnavis and Shrimant Madhav Rao Peshwa. Mahadji Shinde took initiative in military matters and he successfully checked the British in the first Anglo-Maratha war. Later of course, the Marathas were to succcumb to the British in after the third Anglo-Maratha war of 1817.
Maratha Rule did not Change the Feudal Relations of Production and Distribution
But as far as changing the feudal economic relations were concerned, the Maratha rule did nothing. The feudal relations remained intact. Politically speaking too, the Maratha intermission from around 1720 to 1790 was too brief a period and though the writ of the Marathas ran in the whole of western India with parts of the north and south under their domination they could not bring the entire country uniformly under their rule. And in those parts of the country they ruled, the feudal relations did not undergo any fundamental change apart from the abolition of the Jazia penal tax levied on the Hindus by the Muslim rulers and general freedom from religious persecution of petty Muslim chieftains and representative of the Muslim monarchy based at Delhi.
Maharana Pratap was a great Rajput King. The Rajputs are a brave and a chivalrous race who were feudal kings in ancient India before the Mughals came. They were the first to resist the Mughal invaders and many wars were fought between the Rajputs and the Mughals. Though the Mughals captured the north of India they were unsuccessful in capturing central India where they faced tough opposition from the Rajput kings there. Akbar wanted to control the whole of India and used a mix of tolerance, generosity, and force to over come the Rajput kings. One of the most gallant Rajput kings was Rana Pratap who did not want to give up his kingdom to the Mughals. Rana Pratap was the Grandson of Raja Udai Singh (Udaipur is named after him), the king of Chittod. Rana Pratap led the Rajputs against the army of Akbar to preserve the independence of Mewar. Rana Pratap not only had to face the mighty Mughals but also had to fight against other Rajput kings (Raja Todar Mal and Raja Man Singh) who aligned with the Mughals. In the Battle of Haldighati (1576) fought between Maharana Pratap and the Mughals; the Rajputs were not able to overcome the combined strength of the Mughals and the renegade Rajput princes who had played the role of traitors.
Maharana Pratap was badly hurt in the battle and was saved by his wise horse Chetak, who took him in an unconscious state away from the battle scene. Rana Pratap died in 1597 when his son Amar Singh took over the kingdom. Although Maharana Pratap was not able to thwart the Muslims successfully, the saga of Rajput resistance to Muslim rule continued till the 17th century when the baton of the struggle for Indian Independence from Mughals was taken up by the upcoming power of the Marathas, who brought about an end to Muslim domination of India.
He was a hero of the fight for freedom in 1857. His very name made the mighty English generals tremble. Deceived by his friend, he faced death like a hero, for the sake of his country. The British troops had pitched their tents on the parade grounds near the fort of Shivpuri, 75 miles from Gwalior. The day was April 18, 1859. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon. A smiling, charming prisoner was brought out of the prison.
His hands and feet were chained. Under guard he was taken to the hangman's post. He had been condemned to death. The prisoner stepped towards the post fearlessly. There was no hesitation as he stepped upon the platform. It was the custom to cover the eyes of the condemned man with a scarf. When soldiers stepped forward with the scarf, he smiled and made signs to say, 'I don't need all this.' Nor did he allow the hands and feet to be bound. He himself put the noose around his neck. The rope was tightened. Then, at last, there was a pull.... In a moment it was all over.
It was a heart-rending scene, which moved the whole country to tears. The man who was hanging lifeless on the gallows of the English was no criminal. He was not a thief, nor was he a cutthroat. He was the supreme commander in the War of Indian Independence, which in 1857, had challenged the hold of the British over India. It was he who, more than anybody else, shook the mighty British Empire to its foundations. Holding aloft the flag of freedom, he sought to break the chains of slavery and fought the military might of the English heroically. His name was Tatia Tope, a household word for bravery.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji
He is one of the most radiant stars in the galaxy of religious leaders. Time cannot wither nor stale the luster of the sacrifices that he made for the cause of religious freedom. His transformation of senile and sloppy mentality of degraded and demoralized Hindu society of that time into militant and challenging fervor is a landmark in our history. It can be said, throughout the annals of history there was no other individual who could be a more inspiring personality than Guru Gobind Singh's. But mankind has yet to know and appreciate and understand the height of his spiritual ideals and his own practical adherence to their dictates and the way in which they sprouted and blossomed in the hearts of his followers.
A study of his life and personality and all that he achieved in a span of forty two years that he lived, confirms that he has become a most eloquent symbol of all that is virile and positive in our religious traditions.
Govind was born at Patna (Bihar) in the year 1666 and was assassinated at Nandar (Deccan) in the year 1708 A.D. He was hardly nine years of age when Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred at Delhi. Guru Gobind Singh then assumed the Spiritual suzerainty and became Guru. He soon trained himself for fulfillment of his duties both in spiritual and temporal sense. He became a great poet, a mystic scholar, a fine soldier, a tactical General, and an astute politician. He was soon able to consolidate the Sikhs into a body of brave fighting people with common loyalty and common purpose. As he has his life's mission: "Extend the region of righteousness on earth seize and destroy the evil and the sinful"
It reached a culmination point in 1699 when Guru originated baptism-Nectar-Amrit ceremony for the saint soldiers. They stood liberated, this information was verily a psychological miracle. Low born and untouchables shed their inborn and innate repression. The outstanding example of Guru Gobind Singh's power to make the sparrow to hunt the hawk and one man fight a legion was the sovereign tested truth after the baptism. These liberated souls were Guru's Khalsa - Guru in his tribute to the Khalsa records.
"All the battles I have won against tyranny I have fought with the devoted backing of these people."
All baptized Sikhs must wear the five symbols which are bestowed on them - the five "K's" KESH, KANGA, KARA, KIRPAN, KACHCHA - namely unshorn hair, a comb, a steel bangle, a sword and short underwear.
This uniform of unshorn hair and bearded appearance enjoined by the Guru for the baptized disciples was a bold step as one to feel that he has emerged from larval skin leaving behind chrysalis of a dead past. Guru Gobind Singh thus built on foundations so nobly laid by his predecessors an enduring nationality. He infused new enthusiasm for freedom, democracy, righteousness and self sacrifice in to the minds of vanquished people suppressed under the killing weight of Mughal despotism. He kindled an unextinguished passion for brave deeds in love of God and down trodden which made the Sikhs a distinct people a model of inspiration for all times.
In performance of divine mission his two sons were lost fighting the Mughal hordes while other two were bricked alive at Sirhind under orders of a Mughal Governor. Guru Gobind Singh retained equanimity in all circumstances whether he was at Anandpur riding his blue steed, with regal plume or in desert of Machivara barefoot and forlorn his heart was in constant harmony with the Supreme Being.
All the battles Guru fought had no personal ambitious or territorial aim. They depict man's inner struggle against tyrannies, religious, social and otherwise. They vividly portray that spirit ultimately triumphs against all impediments. His life's emblem of sacrifice, represents the price spirit has to offer to redeem freedom.
The other great thing in the career of Guru Gobind Singh is his self effacement in the domain of spiritual leadership. He abolished the office of earthly guru. He declared Guru Granth was to act as GURU henceforth and it will act as supreme leader and teacher while his personality will amalgamate with Khalsa.
Khalsa mera Roop-e-Khas Khalsa me ho Karu Nivas. Khalsa represents my facial appearance and I indwell with them. Thus he achieved his mission of life.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
He was a great Sanskrit scholar and astronomer. He fixed the origin and date of Rigvedic Aryans, which was highly acclaimed and universally accepted by orientalists of his time. His role in Congress and advocating Home Rule for India were enormous. His newspaper (Kesari) founded in 1881 is going strong even today. He was Guru to V.D. Savarkar and hundreds of nationalists and thousands of Indians. He led the Indian Freedom Movement, till 1920, his death. After him Gandhiji took over. Although Gandhi accepted Gokhale as his mentor, in practice, he adopted all of Tilak's ideas of Swadeshi and of social reform.
His words, "Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!" roused a sleeping nation to action, making Indian people aware of their political plight under a foreign rule. Tilak did not question the British Sovereignty nor his demands were rebellious or revolutionary. All he was asking was favorable conditions in India, to enable people to learn to govern themselves. May be all over the world, the separatist forces should follow his vision and define freedom as ability to govern one's land. But the handful rulers who ruled India's millions thought otherwise. They thought that Tilak was whipping a rebellion and he was imprisoned twice; two years for the first and six during the second. They said, he had committed treason.
Born in Ratnagiri, a small coastal town in 1856 in a middle class family, Tilak had to feed himself for college education. At an early age he was convinced that the educational system the British provided for the Indians was not at all adequate. After graduation and a law degree, he helped found a school which laid emphasis on nationalism. He started a news paper 'Kesari' which tried to teach Indians of their glorious past and reminded them to be self reliant (Swadeshi).
Tilak rightly calculated the attitude of the British towards the economic exploitation of the Indians. The British used the raw material from the Indian soil and produced finished products in their country, which in turn were sold in India. This made the Indians totally dependent on the British. In the process, all the self-employing industries of India like spinning, weaving, glass making, sugar ,dyeing, paper making were destroyed. People became destitute for no fault of theirs to help an empire become richer and stronger.To fight this situation, he gave four mantras called Chatuhsutri: (1). Boycott of foreign goods (2) National Education (3) Self Government (4) Swadeshi or self reliance. He realized that mere protest against British rule was not going to help and insisted on native production and reliance.
He founded Deccan Education Society to give better education as per the country's needs. He wrote articles over inhuman punishment meted out to the nationalist youth who protested the division of Bengal (VangaBhanga). Indian newspapers were not to criticize the British policy in those days and two articles titled "Has the Government lost its head ?" .and "To Rule is not to wreak vengeance" appearing in Kesari landed him in jail, after a namesake trial. For the first time in British history, intellectuals in England (including the great orientalist, Max Muller) were able to convince the Government that the trial was unfair. But the second time (1908) was no different. Tilak advocated his own case and when the judgment of six years of black-waters (kala pani) imprisonment was pronounced, he gave the famous statement :
"All I wish to say is that in spite of the verdict of the jury, I maintain my innocence. There are higher powers that rule the destiny of men and nations. It may be the will of Providence that the cause I represent may prosper by suffering than by remaining free".
His trial and punishment led to national upheaval. But the British were careful enough to arrange everything in secret and the judgment was delivered at midnight and Tilak was taken under military vigil to be deported to Burma (present Myanmar, which was also under British control).
At 52, Tilak wrote his famous commentary on Bhagavad-Gita, the sacred book of Hindus; Geeta-Rahasya in the jail. By the time Tilak completed his six year prison term, he was the unquestioned leader of the Indians - the uncrowned king. He was known as the Tilak Maharaj.
There was unprecedented jubilation after Tilak was free and back in India. Civil resistance, the concept of Swaraj, and nationalism had taken deep roots. Tilak's suffering did not go in vain. A band of leaders, full of zeal for nationalism and self-sacrifice was coming up. National schools were coming up in all corners of India. He paved the way for Khadi (hand woven cloth), picketing against foreign goods and alcoholism. His death in 1920 brought Mahatma Gandhi on the scene and Gandhiji gave a concrete shape to Tilak's ideas of Swadeshi.
He was born in September 27, 1907 in the village Banga of Layalpur to Mata Vidyavati and Sardar Kishan Singh. Bhagat Singh grew up in a patriotic atmosphere as his father and uncle, were great freedom fighters and were put in jail many times by the British.
Bhagat Singh grew up at a time when the Freedom struggle was all around him. Since his young age he wondered why so many Indians could not get freedom from a few British invaders, he dreamed of a free India. The massacre at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919 drove him to go to Amritsar, where he kissed the earth and brought back home a little of the blood soaked soil, he was just 12 years old then. Kartar Sing Sarabha, hanged at the age of 19 by the British was Bhagat Singh's hero.
Bhagat Singh, along with the help of Chandrashekhar Azad, formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA). The aim of this Indian revolutionary movement was defined as not only to make India independent, but also to create "a socialist India."
In February 1928, a committee from England visited India. It came to be known as the Simon Commission. The purpose of its visit was to decide how much freedom and responsibility could be given to the people of India. Indian freedom fighters started an agitation called "Simon go back". It was in this agitation that during a police lathicharge, Lala Lajpat Rai was hurt and died. To avenge the death of Lala Lajpat rai, Bhagat Singh and Rajguru shot and killed the British Officer who had hit Lala Lajpat Rai.
In April 1929, the Central Legislative Assembly met in Delhi. The British Government wanted to place before the Assembly two bills which were likely to harm the country's interests. Even if the Assembly rejected them, the Viceroy could use his special powers and approve them, and they would become laws. Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt planned to throw a bomb in the Legislative Assembly and, get arrested. On 8th of April 1929 this is what they exactly did. The idea of the attack was not to kill anyone but to create awareness about India's freedom struggle. They were arrested after this attack.
In their trial Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt stated, "If the deaf are to hear, the sound has to be very loud. When we dropped the bomb, it was not our intention to kill anybody. We have bombed the British Government. The British must quit India and make her free."
In the trial it was decided that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were to be hanged for all their anti British activities. On 24th of March 1931 Bhagat Singh walked upto the hanging rope kissed it and put it around his neck to be hanged.
Bhagat Singh became "Shaheed Bhagat Singh" or Martyr at the age of 24. The stories of his courage and patriotism became an inspiration for many youth at that time who wanted to see India independent. Even today Shaheed Bhagat Singh's memory continues to inspire the youth and many poems and songs have been written about his courage and undying patriotism.
He was a brave revolutionary who gave up his life smilingly for the sake of the Motherland. He was persecuted by an enraged foreign government, hunted by the police and betrayed by follow workers. And yet he lit the fire of revolution to burn down the slavery. He was the brave leader of the Kakori Rail Dacoity episode. His poetry is also a lamp lighted at the altar of the Mother land.
Kakori is a village near Lucknow. It became famous, because the attack on the train took place near by.
It was the evening of the 9th of August 1925; the number eight down train was passing near Kakori. Ramaprasad and his nine revolutionary followers pulled the chain and stopped it. They looted the money belonging to the government, deposited in the Guard's carriage. Excepting that one passenger was killed by an accidental shot, there was no bloodshed.
This extremely well planned dacoity jolted the government. After a month of detailed preliminary inquiries and elaborate preparations the government cast its net wide for the revolutionaries. Arrest warrants were issued not only against the ten participants but also against other leaders of the Hindusthan Republican Association. With the lone exception of Chandrashekhar Azad, all participants were caught.
The case went on for over a year and a half, Ramaprasad, Ashfaqullah Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri all four were sentenced to death. A strong campaign was organized throughout India to save the lives of these revolutionary heroes. All the leaders of public life appealed to the British Government to show mercy to the condemned men. But the Government was unyielding.
It was the 18th of December 1927. A middle-aged lady was waiting at the main gates of the Gorakhpur Central Jail. Her face was radiant but anxiety was writ large on it. She was eagerly waiting to be called into the prison.
By that time her husband also arrived there. He was surprised that his wife was there before him. He also sat down to wait for the call.
Another young man came there. He was not related to them. He knew that the couple would be permitted to enter the prison. But how could he manage to enter? This was his problem.
The officials of the prison called in the husband and the wife. The young man followed them. The guard stopped him and rudely asked, "Who are you?"
"Permit him also, brother. He is my sister's son", the lady said in an entreating voice. The guard relented.
All the three entered the prison to visit a freedom fighter that was to face his death on the morrow.
The freedom fighter was brought there in chains. They were like ornaments on him. This was the last time that he could see his mother, the last time he could address her as 'Mother'. At this thought grief welled up in him. He stood speechless and tears rolled down his cheeks.
In a firm voice the mother said, 'What is this, my son? I had thought of my son as a great hero. I was thinking that the British Government would shiver at the very mention of his name. I never thought that my son would be afraid of death. If you can die only in this way, weeping, why did you take up such activities?"
The officials were astounded at the firmness of the mother. The freedom fighter replied, "Mother dear, these are not tears of fear - the fear of death. These are tears of joy - joy at beholding so brave as mother!"
The brave son of that brave mother was Ramaprasad Bismil. He was the leader of the famous Kakori Rail Dacoity case. The last meeting ended.
Next morning Ramaprasad got up earlier than usual, bathed and said his morning
prayers. He wrote his last letter to his mother. Then he sat down with a calm mind awaiting his death.
The officials came and removed his chains. They took him from the prison cell-towards his death.
He was completely untroubled and walked like a hero. The officials were amazed. As he moved to the gallows he joyfully chanted Vande Matharam' and 'Bharath Matha ki Jai'. At the top of his voice he shouted down with the British Empire." Then he calmly recited prayers like 'Vishwani deva savithaha dunithani....” And embraced death.
As he was being executed, there was a strong guard around the prison. When he was dead the officials brought out the dead body. Not only his parents but also hundreds of his countrymen were waiting in tears.The people of Gorakhpur deco rated the body of the brave son of Bharath as befitted a hero and carried it in a procession. Flowers were showered on the body, and the last rites were performed.
Ramaprasad Bismil joined the select band of martyrs who dreamt of a free India and made the supreme sacrifice, so that the dream might come true.
'Bismil' is the penname of Ramaprasad. As 'Bismil' he is well known as a great
revolutionary poet in Hindi. At the end of his autobiography, he has reproduced some selected poems. Every line of his poems throbs with patriotic fervor.
In one poem he prays: 'Even if I have to face death a thousand times for the sake of my Motherland, I shall not be sorry. Oh Lord!Grant me a hundred births in Bharath. But grant me this, too, that each time I may give up my life in the service of the Mother land.'
In a poem written just before going to the gallows, he prays: 'Oh Lord! Thy will be done. You are unique. Neither my tears nor I will endure. Grant me this boon, that to my last breath and the last drop of my blood, I may think of you and be immersed in your work.'
(Excerpts from Author N.P.Shankara Narayan Rao)
M. S. Golwalkar
He was known throughout India as Guruji, was the second Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. His full name was Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. His was an impressive personality: dignified gait; a long flowing beard reaching down to his chest; curly locks of hair touching the shoulders; a face luminous with innate intellect and learning. His was an inspiring presence. It aroused instant reverence. Whoever saw him spontaneously folded their hands and bowed their heads. Such was Guru.
He instilled patriotism in the hearts of millions of youths of the country. He explained to them the Hindu way of life and philosophy in simple words. Like a true friend, he shared in the joys and sorrows of his countrymen. He molded them into effective instruments for the worship of Bharat Mata as her worthy children. He demonstrated that strength derives from organization. He traveled untiringly through the length and breadth of the country almost a hundred times during the 33 years of his glorious tenure as Sarsanghchalak, kindling in the society the immortal flame of enduring love for the Motherland.
He had scaled the highest levels of spirituality through his intense austerity and perseverance. By constant study and reflection he had become a veritable treasure of knowledge. He was a voracious reader even as a boy. He avidly read whatever books he could lay his hands on, from childhood through youth. Several are the disciplines in which he had acquired commendable mastery - History, Art, Religion, Culture, Sciences, Sociology and Economics, to name a few; and he dedicated all his stupendous intellectual faculties to the service of the country. He vastly expanded the network of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in multipledirections, and inspired and guided thousands of efficient dedicated workers spread throughout the country.
Countless discourses, thousands of letters and hundreds of press statements by Shri Guru are now part of the cherished knowledge legacy of humanity. The life of Shri Guru is lustrous and multi - faceted. His thoughts are a perennial source of inspiration for mankind. Here are a few rays of that brilliance:
1. Fearlessness is the first and foremost virtue of the brave, and the starting point of all sublime qualities.
2. 'This is my Dharma, my Vedanta. This is my Hindu Rashtra. I have to live and strive for its realization. I must live as an example for the entire world to follow'-only such abiding faith would provide a firm foundation for reorganization of theHindus.
3. The will of a person becomes tempered like steel when he prepares himself for the supreme sacrifice for a just and lofty goal.
4. We are not so narrow-minded as to call any one as 'alien' merely because he has changed his mode of worship. We have no objection to the use of any name in addressing God. We in the Sangh are Hindus in every particle of ours. That is why we respect all religious faiths equally. A person with religious intolerance cannot be called a Hindu at all.
5. The most demeaning sin is to remain weak in the world. It not only destroys us, but also incites others to attack us with violence.
6. No doubt it requires two to fight. But both of them need not necessarily be fighters. It is, all the same, a fight, even if one goes on beating and the other gets beaten. There is no guarantee that others would behave properly with us even if we remain peaceful and cordial with them.
7. There must be an axis at the center of a wheel if it has to rotate. No wheel would rotate if its axis were outside it. There cannot be a circle with its center outside it. It is impossibility. Those cherishing extra-national loyalties can only be called traitors. Will it not be treacherous if an individual is drawing inspiration from elements beyond the boundaries of his country?
8. A grain of salt completely dissolves in water, and then retains no separate existence. But the salty taste will beevident in each drop of that water. Likewise an individual should dissolve him in the nation.
Author - Rasika Puttige
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
He was born on 18th May, 1883 in Nasik, Maharashtra. In his later years he came to be known as Vir Savarkar. He was born at a time which was the preparatory period for India's freedom Struggle.This was the time when Indian national Congress was initiated.
The end of nineteenth century and the start of twentieth century saw the revolutionary movement gain momentum.
This was also the period of English cultural influence on Indians. Well-to-do fathers wanted their sons to go to England, learn the English language, acquire the English way of life and manners.
Madanlal Dhingra, Aurobindo Ghose, Vir Savarkar, had all gone or been sent to England for this purpose, to acquire English education and English way of life, but they all became more Indian. The more they came close to the English language and the English life-style, the more their hearts burned for revolution, for freeing their Motherland from the shackles of foreign rule.
Savarkar was also such an able son of India. After getting his B.A. degree, he went to England to study Law, but he joined the Indian revolutionaries there. The British Government had kept an eye on them. Vir Savarkar was arrested and was deported, that is, sent back to India. But the man of independent spirit that he was, he wanted to be free and jumped from the ship into the water. He was captured, brought to India and was sent to the Andamaris (prison).
There he had to grind oil and do all sorts of strenuous work. His elder brother Ganesh Savarkar was also there. They had to face evil behaviour of their keepers. The British Authorities wanted to break the spirit of these young patriots. The British thought that physical pain and torture would make these revolutionaries forget their mission and bring them on the right or normal way of life.
The British had no knowledge of the urge and devotion felt by these revolutionaries. No amount of torture could turn away these brightest sons of India from their determined course. On 26th February, 1966, Savarkar passed away. Yet another brighter star from the Indian sky had fallen.
He was the most visionary and fierce activist in the pre-independence era. Known as Netaji, he followed the path which no one even could have thought of.
An unparalleled example of the declaration of Independent Indian government with a cabinet & its own army was seen in form of the Indian National Army under the leadership of Subhash Chanda Bose. It literally had a military attack on British India & had confronted them till Imphal. With the help from Germany & active support from Japan, they shook the very foundation of the British Empire. The saga of their valor is chronicled separately, under the head Indian National Army.
While he was the president of Indian National Congress during 1937 to 1939, he founded the Indian National Congress. He was acclaimed as a god-like figure and continued as a legend in Indian mind.
Subhas Chandra was born on January 23rd 1897 in Cuttack (in present day Orissa) as the ninth child among fourteen, of Janakinath Bose, an advocate, and Prabhavatidevi, a pious and God-fearing lady. A brilliant student, he topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and passed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Calcutta. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda's teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. He joined the Indian Civil Services in England as per his parent's wishes. This kept him a little away from the Indian Freedom Movement. He finished those examinations also, at the top of his class (4th rank), he could not complete his apprenticeship and returned to India, being deeply disturbed by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress . Gandhiji directed him to work with Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the Bengali leader whom Bose acknowledged as his political guru.
Due to his outspoken character for the British Government, he went to jail for around 11 times between 1920 and 1941 for periods varying between six months and three years. He was the leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party, in the forefront of the trade union movement in India and organized Service League, another wing of Congress. He was admired for his great skills in organizational development .
Bose advocated complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas the Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status. Other younger leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru supported Bose and finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress had to adopt Poorna Swaraj (complete freedom) as its motto. Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and the inability of the Congress leaders to save his life infuriated Bose and he started a movement opposing the Gandhi-Irvin Peace Pact. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. But defying the ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again!
He was elected president of the Indian National Congress twice in 1937 and in 1939, the second time defeating Gandhiji's nominee. He brought a resolution to give the British six months to hand India over to the Indians, failing which there would be a revolt. There was much opposition to his rigid stand, and he resigned from the post of president and formed a progressive group known as the Forward Block (1939).
During the World War 2nd he was against rendering any kind of help to the British. He warned them so. The second World War broke out in September of 1939, and just as predicted by Bose, India was declared as a warring state (on behalf of the British) by the Governor General, without consulting Indian leaders. The Congress party was in power in seven major states and all state governments resigned in protest.
Subhas Chandra Bose now started a mass movement against utilizing Indian resources and men for the great war. To him, it made no sense to further bleed poor Indians for the sake of colonial and imperial nations. There was a tremendous response to his call and the British promptly imprisoned him . He took to a hunger-strike, and after his health deteriorated on the 11th day of fasting, he was freed and was placed under house arrest. The British could do nothing except locking him in the prison.
It was in 1941, that Bose suddenly disappeared. The authorities did not come to know for many days that he was not in his Barrack ) the house in which he was being guarded) He traveled by foot, car and train and resurfaced in Kabul (now in Afghanistan), only to disappear once again. In November 1941, his broadcast from German radio sent shock waves amongst the British and electrified the Indian masses who realized that their leader was working on a master plan to free their motherland. It also gave fresh confidence to the revolutionaries in India who were challenging the British in many ways.
The Axis powers (mainly Germany) assured Bose military and other help to fight the British. Japan by this time had grown into another strong world power, occupying key colonies of Dutch, French, and British colonies in Asia. Bose had struck alliance with Germany and Japan. He rightly felt that his presence in the East would help his countrymen in freedom struggle and second phase of his saga began. It is told that he was last seen on land near Kiel canal in Germany, in the beginning of 1943. A most hazardous journey was undertaken by him under water, covering thousands of miles, crossing enemy territories. He was in the Atlantic, the Middle East, Madagascar and the Indian ocean. Battles were being fought over land, in the air and there were mines in the sea. At one stage he traveled 400 miles in a rubber dingy to reach a Japanese submarine, which took him to Tokyo. He was warmly received in Japan and was declared the head of the Indian army, which consisted of about 40,000 soldiers from Singapore and other eastern regions. Bose called it the Indian National Army (INA) and a government by the name "Azad Hind Government" was declared on the 21st of October 1943. INA freed the Andaman and Nicobar islands from the British and were renamed as Swaraj and Shaheed islands. The Government started functioning.
Bose wanted to free India from the Eastern front. He had taken care that Japanese interference was not present from any angle. Army leadership, administration and communications were managed by Indians only. Subhash Brigade, Azad Brigade and Gandhi Brigade were formed. INA marched through Burma and occupied Coxtown on the Indian Border. A touching scene ensued when the solders entered their 'free' motherland. Some lay down and kissed, some placed pieces of mother earth on their heads, others wept. They were now inside India and were determined to drive out the British! Delhi Chalo (Let's march to Delhi) was the war cry.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the history of mankind. Japan had to surrender. Bose was in Singapore at that time and decided to go to Tokyo for his next course of action. Unfortunately, the plane he boarded crashed near Taipei and he died in the hospital of severe burns. He was just 48.
He was the man whom the Indians looked upon as their future leader. They never believed that he died in plane crash. Some believe that he is still alive.
Vallabh Bhai Patel
He was the iron-man of India, born on 13th October, 1875, in a small village Karamsadh of Bombay region. His father Jhaber Bhai Patel was a simple farmer and mother Laad Bai was a simple lady.
From his childhood itself, Patel was a very hard-working individual. He used to help his father in farming and studied in a school at Patelaad. He passed his high-school examination in 1896. Throughout school he was a very wise and intelligent student. Inspite of poor financial conditions his father decided to send him to college but VallabhBhai refused. Around three years he stayed at home, worked hard and prepared for the District Leader's examinaton, hence passing with very good precentage.
Sardar Patel hated to work for anyone, especially the Britishers. He was a person of independent nature. He started his own practice of law in a place called Godhara. Soon the practice flourished. He saved money, made financial arrangement for the entire family. He got married to Jhaberaba. In 1904, he got a baby daughter Maniben, and in 1905 his son Dahya was born. He sent his elder brother to England for higher studies in law. In 1908, Vittha Bhai returned as barrister and started practising in Bombay. In 1909 his wife became seriously ill and was taken to Bombay for treatment VallabhBhai had to go for the hearing of an urgent case and his wife died. He was stunned. He admitted his children in St. Mary's school Bombay, and he left for England. He became a barrister and retuned to India in 1913.
He started his practice in Ahmedabad and soon he became aware of the local life, activities and people's problems. He became an extremely popular person and he got elected in the Municipal Corportaion in 1917. Around 1915, he came across Mahatma Gandhi. The Swadeshi Movement was at its peak. Gandhiji gave a lecture at a place in Ahmedabad where Patel heard him and was very impressed and started actively participating in the freedom movement. The British government's atrocities were increasing. The government declared to confiscate all the lands of farmers. He forced the British government to amend the rules. He brought together the farmers and encouraged them and hence got the title of 'Sardar' and thus became famous.
The British government considered him as a threat and his lectures were considered anti-government and he was imprisoned several times. In 1942, he took part in the Quit India Movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. He was arrested along with other leaders and was sent to Ahmednagar jail. Inspite of the British Rule, rulers of the small kingdoms were spending a lot of public money, and were having a nice time. Sardar Vallabh Bhai opposed this.
With great wisdom and political foresight, he consolidated the small kingdoms. The public was with him. He tackled the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Junagarh who intially did not want to join India. There were a lot of problems connected with the reunion of the numerous states into India. Sardar Patel's untiring efforts towards the unity of the country brought success. Due to the achievement of this massive task, Sardar Patel got the title of 'Iron Man'. ' He is one of the prestigious leaders of the world who became immmortal by uniting a scattered nation without any bloodshed.
His enthusiasm to work for the independent nation got a big jolt when Gandhiji was murdered. Patel was very attached to Gandhiji and considered him, his elder brother and teacher. He was encouraged by Mahatma Gandhi in all his work. Gandhiji's death left him broken. On 15th December, 1950 he died of a cardiac arrest. The news of his death spread all over the world. The entire nation plunged into deep sorrow, everyday life came to a standstill. A grateful nation paid a tearful homage to it's beloved leader. In 1991 the grateful nation conferred upon him the honour of Bharat Ratna.
She was the fiery patriot who first unfurled India's flag at an international assembly. She turned away from a life of luxury and lived an exile - to serve her country. And the mighty British Government grew afraid of her.
Madame Cama, Veer Savarkar and some other patriots met and designed that tricolor flag in 1905. It was flown first in 1905 in Berlin and next in 1907 in Bengal.
The tricolor flag contained green, saffron and red stripes. In the green stripe at the top there were eight blooming lotuses. India was then divided into eight provinces and the flowers represented these provinces. The words 'Vande Mataram' in Devanagari script across the central saffron strip of the flag were a salutation to Mother India. In the red stripe at thebottom there was a half-moon on the right and the rising sun on the left. Red represents strength, saffron represents victory; and boldness and enthusiasm are represented by green. "This flag was designed by a distinguished selfless young Indian patriot" said Madame Cama. She was referring to Veer Savarkar.
In August 1907, she learnt that the International Socialist Conference would be held in Stuttgart 'in Germany. Madame Cama got a golden opportunity to expose to worldview the conditions in enslaved India. A thousand representatives from several countries of the world attended the Conference. When India's turn came, Madame Cama ascended the rostrum. She was wearing a colorful saree. She had an attractive personality. Dignity shone in the face. The representative’s thought: 'She is an Indian princess.'
Madame Cama spoke about the sorrows and the poverty of lakes of Indians who were suffering silently.
'One-fifth of mankind lives in India. All lovers of freedom should cooperate to free these people from subjection.' This was the gist of the resolution, she boldly placed before the conference. She condemned the British Government which was looting from India thirty-five million pounds every year. She explained how the Indian economy was growing weaker day by day because of the lawless imperialists sucking the blood of India. At the end of her speech she unfurled the Indian flag and said:
"This flag is of Indian Independence. Behold it is born! It has been made sacred by the blood of young Indians who sacrificed their lives.I call upon you, gentle men, to rise and salute this flag of Indian Independence. In the name of this flag I appeal to lovers of freedom all over the world to cooperate with this flag."
As if held by magic, the whole assembly stood up and honored the flag. Madame Cama was the lady who first unfurled the Indian flag, in a foreign land, in the presence of representatives of many countries! "It is my practice to speak under the flag of my country" - she would say and unfurl the flag before she spoke at any function.
After the conference in Germany concluded she came to America. To gain the support of the people there for the sacred cause in which she was engaged she had to start a campaign. In New York she explained her objects to press reporters who met her and they were full of praise for her. She told the reporters that lakes and lakes of people in India,although illiterate and suffering from hunger, loved their country. There was confidence and hope in the voice of Madame Cama when she said that Indians would attain independence within a few years and live in liberty, equality and brotherhood.
It was 28th October 1907. The Minerva Club had organized a meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The speaker was Madame Cama. In her speech she said that Indians should be given the political right to vote.
"People here may know of Russia. But they may not know much about conditions in India. The British Government is adopting the practice of destroying people who are educated and can think, or of sending them to jail. They are torturing the people and driving them to hospitals in jails. We desire a peaceful atmosphere and not bloody revolution. By proceeding in a non-violent manner as far as possible we have to overthrow despotic rule" said Madame Cama. Also Madame Cama spoke at several places. She may be called Mother India's representative to the United States of America.
In 1914, when the First World War began, Madame Cama's activities to gain the country's freedom became intense. The leading articles in the press condemning the autocratic rule of the British grew sharper.
To the Indian soldiers fighting for the British, she gave a warning in the following words: "Children of Mother India, you are being deceived. Do not take part in this war. You are going to fight and die, not for India, but for the British.The British have put shackles on Mother India's hands; think how they can be removed. If you help the British, you will tighten the shackles."
She herself would visit army camps in Marseilles. There she would meet Indian soldiers and ask them to keep away from the war. Questioned she: "Are you going to fight for those who have imprisoned your mother?" Return the arms, she would preach.
The French were allies of the British. Therefore the French Government must have been dissatisfied with the propa- ganda carried on by Madame Cama. The French Government warned Madame Cama that she was carrying on false propaganda against the British.
Madame Cama passed away on 13th August 1936. She had fought for India's freedom. That freedom dawned eleven years after her death.
In a sense Madame Cama's life abroad where she fought for India's freedom was like living in obscurity. She sacrificed her life for the motherland. Even during the last moments of her life she urged repeatedly: "To gain freedom from subjection stand up against all difficulties." "He who loses freedom will lose virtue. Opposition of tyranny is obedience to God's command" said Madame Cama; she practiced what she preached.
(Exerpts from Author M.S.Narasimha Murthy)
HALL OF SHAME (Muslim Rulers and Criminals Against India)
There have been many villains throughout the history of the many invasions and occupations of India. And many of the worst of these despots and murderers are today considered by many to have been "great leaders" of India's past. In an effort to appease the Muslim minority, some of the worst of the butchers of the Hindu people have been turned into national heroes, and the true heroes and defenders of the Indian people have been all but forgotten. Here we offer brief biographies of those who invaded, occupied and butchered Hindus throughout India. Some may argue that these were great rulers who contributed great things to Indian civilization, but we must always remember that Adolf Hitler also brought great efficiency to German government and made the trains run on time as well.
Firaz Shah Tughlaq
General Reginal Dyer
Mahmud of Gaznavi
(From the accounts of arikh-i-Yamini of Utbi the secretary of Mahmud of Gaznavi)
"The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously at Thanesar that the stream was discolored, not withstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultan returned with plunder which is impossible to count. Praise be to Allah for the honor he bestows on Islam and Muslims."
"The Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshipers of sun and fire.... The number of infidels killed exceeded 50,000"
"The infidels...deserted the fort and tried to cross the foaming river...but many of them were slain, taken or drowned... Nearly fifty thousand men were killed."
Mahmud of Ghori
(from Hasan Nizami's Taj-ul-Maasir)
At Kol (Modern Aligarh)
"Those of the horizon who were wise and acute were converted to Islam, but those who stood by their ancestoral faith were slain with the sword"
20,000 prisoners were taken and made slaves. Three bastions were raised as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcases became food for the beasts of prey.
50,000 prisoners were taken as slaves
At Varnasi or Kasi (Benaras) :
Kamil-ut-Tawarikh of Ibn Asir records, "The slaughter of Hindus (at Varanasi) was immense; none were spared except women and children,(who were taken into slavery) and the carnage of men went on until the earth was weary."
Zahiru'd-Din Muhammed Babur (1526 C.E. - 1520 C.E.)
Babur's Own Words on Killing Hindus: “For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer, I battled infidels and Hindus, I am determined to become a martyr. Thank God I became a Killer of Non-Muslims!
From Baburnama, the Memoires of Babur Himself: In AH 934 (2538 C.E.) I attacked Chanderi and by the grace of Allah captured it in a few hours. We got the infidels slaughtered and the place which had be Daru'l-Harb (nation of non-muslim) for years was made into a Daru'l-Islam (muslim nation).
Guru Nanak on Babur's atrocities: Source:Rag Asa Guru Nanak Dev witnessed first hand the atrocities Babur committed on Hindus and recorded them in his poems. He says: Having attacked Khuraasaan, Babar terrified Hindustan. The Creator Himself does not take the blame, but has sent the Mugal as the messenger of death. There was so much slaughter that the people screamed. Didn't You feel compassion, Lord? pg (360)
On the condition of Hindu women in Babur's monster rule: Those heads adorned with braided hair, with their parts painted with vermillion - those heads were shaved with scissors, and their throats were choked with dust.They lived in palatial mansions, but now, they cannot even sit near the palaces.... ropes were put around their necks, and their strings of pearls were broken. Their wealth and youthful beauty, which gave them so much pleasure, have now become their enemies. The order was given to the soldiers, who dishonored them, and carried them away. If it is pleasing to God's Will, He bestows greatness; if is pleases His Will, He bestows punishment pg(417-18)
On the nature of Mughal rule under Babur: First, the tree puts down its roots, and then it spreads out its shade above. The kings are tigers, and their officials are dogs; they go out and awaken the sleeping people to harass them. The public servants inflict wounds with their nails. The dogs lick up the blood that is spilled. Source:Rag Malar, (pg.1288)
From an article by Dr. Harsh Narain on Muslim Testimony (Indian Express 2/26/90): Since the establishment of Zahiru'd-Din Ghazi's rule, officers and religious leaders spread Islam vigorously desteroying the Hindu faith. We cleared the filth of Hinduism from Faizabad and Avadh.
Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq
(from Insha-i-Mahry by Amud Din Abdullah bin Mahru)
Delhi: -a punishment in detail (from Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi), "A report was brought to the Sultan than there was in Delhi an old Brahman who persisted in publicly performing the worship of idols in his house and that people of the city, both Muslims and Hindus used to resort to his house to worship the idol. The Brahman had constructed a wooden tablet which was covered within and without with paintings of demons and other objects. An order was accordingly given to the Brahman and was brought before Sultan.The true faith was declared to the Brahman and the right course pointed out. but he refused to accept it. A pile was risen on which the Kaffir with his hands and legs tied was thrown into and the wooden tablet on the top. The pile was lit at two places his head and his feet. The fire first reached him in the feet and drew from him a cry and then fire completley enveloped him. Behold Sultan for his strict adherence to law and rectitude."
Delhi : (after Hindus paid the toleration tax (zar-i zimmiya) and poll-tax(jizya) they were foolish enough to build their temples.so...) "Under divine guidance I (Sultan) destroyed these temples and I killed the leaders of these infedility and others I subjected to stripes and chastisement "
Gohana (Haryana): "Some Hindus had erected a new idol-temple in the village of Kohana and the idolaters used to assemble there and perform their idolatrous rites. These people were seized and brought before me. I ordered that the perverse conduct of these leaders of this wickedness be punished by publicly abd that they should be put to deathe before the gate of the palace."
Jajnagar:(Expedition objectives as stated by Sultan: Source:Ainn-ul-Mulk) massacring the unbelievers, demolishing their temples, hunting the elephants, getting a glimpse of their enchanting country.
Orissa: 'Sirat-i-Firoz Shahi' records his expedition with the following words:
"Nearly 100,000 men of Jajnagar had taken refuge with their women, children, kinsmen and relations The swordsmen of Islam turned the island into a basin of blood by the massacre of the unbelievers. Women with babies and pregnant ladies were haltered, manacled, fettered and enchained, and pressed as slaves into service in the house of every soldier."
The Jihads of Shihabuddin, the Sultankalka of Ghur
Around 1140, the Islamized Turko-Mongol chiefs of the Shansabanid tribe occupied Ghor in Afghanistan. Initially it was a vassal of the Ghaznavid Sultans, but around 1130 it came into conflict with them, after one of the leading Shansabanid nobles was murdered by the Ghaznavid Sultan, Bahram. A ferocious war ensued between the Sultans of Ghor and Ghazni, till Alla-ud-din Ghori invaded Ghazni with his entire cavalry and wrested it from Bahram. Alla-ud-din sacked the Indian spoils that Mahmud had placed there, massacred the city’s population in a 7-day killing spree and subsequently burnt it down. The next Ghaznavid Sultan, Khushro Maliq was driven out of Afghanistan by a coalition of Oghuz Turks and the Ghorids in 1157, and the Oghuz took Ghazni. The sons of Alla-ud-din, Ghiyas-ud-din Mu’azz-ud-din Ghori and Shihab-ud-din Muhammad Ghori defeated the Oghuz and annexed Ghazni in 1174. Ghiyas-ud-din, crowned himself Sultan, and appointed his brother Sultankalka. Shihab-ud-din was assigned the task of extending the kingdom to the East and he naturally gravitated towards India. 13 bloody campaigns that ravaged Northern India followed:
• Early in 1175 he invaded Punjab and sacked and burned Uch...(1)
• In 1178 he advanced south and marched towards Gujarat, but here the Indians acted quickly and rallying under the western chAlukya king MUlarAja II routed the Islamic forces completely forcing him to retreat...(2)
• In 1179 Ghori sent a message to PrithivirAja chAhamAna to make common cause with him against the Chalukyas. Prithivaraj however, wise disregarding his foolish minister, kadambavAsa’s advise to make a common cause with Ghori, preemptively attacked NaDDula and reconquered it from the Moslems.
• Shihab recovered in 1180 and invaded Sindh and ravaged the population carrying away much loot...(3)
• Then Shihabuddin Muhammad, quickly followed it up in 1181 and 1184 with two invasions of Lavapura (Lahore) accompanied with much slaughter...(4+5)
• In 1186 he invaded the Ghaznavid occupied Punjab and defeated the Sultan Khushro Maliq and wrested Punjab...(6)
• 1188 The Ghur Sultankalka invaded the ChAhamAna kingdom and sacked the fort of Tabarhindah killing the Hindu male populace and raping the women. Hindu refugees flocked around Delhi alarming the ChAhamAnas...(7)
• 1191 PrithivirAj advanced to meet Shihabuddin’s raid and routed him in the great battle of Tarai. While the Muslims suffered a crushing defeat, the Indians failed to butcher them to man and allowed Shihab to get away unharmed. He fled back to Central Asia leaving Punjab completely undefended...(8)
• 1191 PrithivirAj attacked Tabarhindah and took it back from the Muslims. Here the biggest mistake of the Hindus was not to reconquer and arm Punjab suitably.
• 1192 Shihab returned and sacked Tabarhindah again. This was followed by the second battle of Tarai, the ChAhamAna army was crushed and Prithiviraj was captured and brutally tortured to death...(9)
• 1192 the Ghur Sultankalka made a second trust towards Ajayamerupura (Ajmer) and sacked it smashing Hindu temples and a Hindu university in course of this invasion. The Hindus captured in this expedition caused slave prices to fall to a few Dirhams in the Muslim markets...(10)
• 1193 The sultankalka invaded Kannauj and slew the GAhadwala king Jayachandra. He followed this up with an invasion of vArANsipura slaughtering Hindus with great savagery and desecrating the holy city...(11+12)
After this, his viceroy Kutub-ud-din (also his lover?) and the Turkish adventurer Ikhtiyaruddin Khalji furthered the violence of Islam in the land of Hind. Meanwhile Shihab’s brother died in Ghazna and he crowned himself Sultan and immediately launched himself into another Jihad on the infidels of Hindustan in 1206. The exact course of this campaign is not clear. While on the North-western reaches of the Sindhu, he was ambushed by the Khokar chiefs and shot down by an arrow...(13). Thus ended the carrier of the Moslem brigand who brought misery to the whole of northern India through his 13 invasions.
The Jihads of Alla-ud-din Khalji
The one time when it appeared that the sanAtana dharma might vanish off the face of bhArata was during the ferocious jihads of Alla-ud-din of the Khalji tribe. The Khaljis entered India from Ghazna during the reign of the Mamluq Sultan Qutub-ud-din Aibak. The first of them to make his mark Bakhtiyar Khalji, whose savage jihad in Bihar and destruction of the Indian centers of learning like Nalanda is only well known. Jalal-ud-din Khalji, another member of this tribe, was accepted as the Sultan of Delhi by a confederation of Turkic tribes, after the collapse of the Mamluq Balban’s regime. Jalal opened his innings by consolidating the Turkic regime in India by suppressing other competing Maliqs and appointed his nephew, Alla-ud-din to expand his domains. We shall briefly consider his campaigns:
• In 1291 he was sent to destroy the remaining Kaffirs of Bhilsa in Central India. Il-tut-mish, the Mamluq had earlier desecrated this Hindu-Buddhist temple-university complex but it had fallen away from Islamic control. Alla invaded and conquered Bhilsa and total exterminated the Kaffirs and left behind a ghost city whose long lost temple remnants can be seen even today.
• 1292 He attacked the Vidisha in Central India, a great center of learning and destroyed it completely and slew the inhabitants.
• 1292 His spies got him the news of the great wealth of the yAdava dynasty of mahArashTra and Alla promptly invaded it and carried away a large amount of loot.
• 1295 In a remarkable campaign Alla carried the war right to Devagiri the heart of the yAdava kingdom. He demolished and looted all the temples in Devagiri.
• In 1296 with this loot Alla bought most of the Khalji army and murdered his uncle Jalal and drove away his aunt and cousin and declared himself Sultan of Hind. Jaziya was imposed on the Kaffirs.
• 1296. Latter in the year he joined the Southern Alliance of the Chagadai Ulus (predominantly Turkic tribes) against the Northern Alliance (predominantly Mongolic) and routed the latter in a battle at Jallandar securing the Panjab for himself.
• In 1297 he invaded Gujarat and destroyed the ancient Surya temples at Mehsana and subjugated the Hindus of the land with much slaughter. The rAja of Gujarat fled to Devagiri and the Hindu kings tried to fight back under shankara yAdava. Alla sent Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan against them, who defeated the yAdavas and the Gujarat king. They captured and castrated a Hindu youth who was name Maliq Kaffr and presented him to Alla, who took him as his lover.
• 1298 He sent his fiercest il-ghazi, Zafar Khan, to wage a jihad against the pagan Northern Alliance chief Suldus who was sent by Chagadai Kha’Khan Duwa. The battle concluded in a draw after fierce fighting.
• 1298 Later in the year he battled against Qutulugh Khawaja, a son of Duwa, of the Northern Alliance, the results were inconclusive
• 1299 Qutulugh Khawaja reached the doors of Delhi with a large horde. Alla’s il-ghazi’s Zafar Khan, Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan defeated Qutulugh Khawaja, but Zafar Khan was shot dead by an arrow in this battle.
• 1299 Ulugh Khan was sent to quell the Hindu resistance in Gujarat. He conquered the fort of Junagad and demolished all the temples in the surrounding regions and then went on to attack Somnath and destroy the great temple that the Hindus had rebuilt.
• 1299. Hammira Deva of the Ranthambhor defeated Alla as he attempted to sack the Rajput stronghold.
• 1301. Alla returned with his entire force to sack Ranthambhor. He succeeded and slew Hammira Deva. He conducted a massive temple demolition operation destroying all the temples of Jhain and Sawai Madhopur and slew the inhabitants.
• 1303. Chittor alone that had held out against the Muslims, attracted Khalji’s attention due to its beautiful queen Padmini. Khalji sacked and burned Chittor after slaying Rana Rattan Singh.
• 1303. Turghai and Ali Beg of the Northern Alliance wrested the Punjab from Alla and invaded Sindh. They blockaded Delhi itself for two months but retreated due to the summer heat.
• 1304. Jihad was launched on Ujjaini. This ancient center of Indian learning was destroyed completely. Chanderi was attacked next by Alla and the ancient temples were demolished.
• 1305. Malwa and Mandu were savaged and the inhabitants slaughtered.
• 1306. Then Turghai and Ali Beg defeated Khalji’s army and captured Lahore and Amroha near Delhi. Tughlaq Khan, a general of Alla, counter-attacked defeated and captured 9000 Pagan Turko-Mongols of the Northern Alliance. He had them all trampled to death by elephants for refusing to accept Islam.
• 1308. Qebek (another son of Chagadai ruler, Duwa) and Ibaqmand of the Northern Alliance struck back captured Multan. But Alla defeated them on their way back and again slaughtered all the pagan prisoners he took.
• 1308. Later in the year, the Rajputs regrouped in Sivana and declared independence but Alla smashed them in a lightning campaign and destroyed the temples in the region.
• 1309. He sent Maliq Kaffr against Devagiri that was attempting to reassert itself. Maliq Kaffr defeated the yAdavas and penetrated the Hoysala kingdom.
• 1310 Maliq Kaffr destroyed Dwarasamudra after a fierce battle and ended the Hindu Hoysala rule over those regions.
• 1311 Maliq Kaffr devastated Telengana and destroyed the temples of Warangal. He then invaded Madhurai and destroyed the Pandyan kingdom. The temples of Madhurai and Chidambaram were destroyed. Kaffr returned with enormous amounts of gold looted from the destroyed temples.
• 1311 Alla invaded Jalor to destroy the Rajput fight back and massacred the Hindu population while destroying the city.
• 1313 Devagiri made another attempt to defy the Muslim terror, Alla personally invaded mahArashTra to ravage the Devagiri kingdom.
• 1314 Alla more or less became a puppet in the hand of his lover Kaffr and subsequently died in 1316.
• 1316 Death.
Thereafter, Maliq Kaffr killed all the members of the Khalji tribe except for Qutbuddin Mubarak, Alla’s last son, and ruled in his name. Kaffr was murdered by the Turkish chiefs of the Southern Alliance and Mubarak ascended the throne. In 1318 Qutbuddin Mubarak invaded Devagiri again as its ruler Haripala Deva had cast off the Muslim yoke. Haripala faced a massive defeat and was captured. He was skinned alive and his head and skin were placed on display at the entrance to the Devagiri fort. Thus ended the yAdava dynasty and Hindu sovereignty in mahArashTra. Mubarak’s lover Khusru murdered him and made himself Sultan. Amir Qazaghan of the Qara’Unas tribe, from Konduz, became the lord of the Southern Alliance and sent his commander al Ghazi al Maliq Tughlaq to seize the throne of Delhi after murdering Khusru.
Sources: Histoire des Mongols D’Ohsson.; Hafiz-i-Abru, trns Byani (Paris 1936). Tazjiyat-al-amsar va tajriyat of Wassaf; A Forgotten Empire : Vijayanagar : A Contribution to the history of India", Robert Sewell
Aurangazeb (1658 C.E. - 1707 C.E.)
Aurangzeb considered himself "The Scourge Of The Kafirs" (non-believers) and closed Hindu schools and libraries. In his lifetime he destroyed more than 10,000 Hindu, Buddhist and Jam temples and often erected mosques in their stead.3 In 1669 in Agra he had hacked off the limbs of the recalcitrant Hindu King Gokla and in 1672 several thousand revolting Hindus were slaughtered in Mewat.
From: Maasi-i-Alamgiri: He issued general order to destroy all centers of Hindu learnings including Varnasi and destroyed the temple at Mathura and renamed it as Islamabad
In Khandela (rajastan) he killed 300 Hindus in one day for they resisted the destruction of their temple.
In Udaipur all Hindus of the town were killed as they vowed to defend the temple of Udaipur from destruction -- 172 temples were destroyed in Udaipur. 66 temples were pulled down in Amber. All Hindu clerks were dismissed from the office of the Imperial empire.
In Pandhpur , Maharashtra, the Emperor ordered and executed the destruction of temple and butchering of cows within the temple.
Aurangazeb also tortured to death the disciples of Guru Tegh bahadur before his death and also killed Guru. Guru Tegh Bahadur - the pride of Hindustan was martyred for he spoke for the persecuted Hindus of Hindustan. Aurangazeb also killed Guru Gobind singh's two children aged less than ten by walling them alive for not accepting the choice of Islam. In Punjab Muslim governors killed hundreds of Sikh children and made Sikh women eat the flesh of their own killed children. Banda Bahadur another great Sikh martyr before being torturd to death was also made to eat the flesh of his own children killed before his eyes. Any Muslim bringing the head of a dead Sikh was also awarded money.
Jahangir (1605 C.E. - 1628 C.E.)
Source: Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri: Though in the beginning of his rule Jahangir followed the humanistic rule of his father Akbar the great -the policy of sulehkul even issued a proclamation against the forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam, he revoked Akbar's orders that those who have been forcibly converted from Islam could return to Hinduism. He severely punished Kaukab, Sharif and Abdul Latif for showing inclination to Hinduism. He also prohibited the free inter-marriage customs between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir. Hindus marrying Muslim girls and those who had already married were given a hoice between Islam and death. Many were killed.
Jahangir's torture of Guru Arjun Dev ji: Guru was imprisoned at Lahore fort. He was chained to a post in an open place exposed to the sun from morning to evening in the summer months of May to June. Below his feet a heap of sand was put which burnt like a furnace. Boiling water was poured on his naked body at intervals. His body was covered with blisters all over. In this agony Guru used to utter.
Tera Kiya Metha lage, naam padarath Nanak mange(whatever you ordain appears sweet. I supplicate for the gift of name)
The Guru was ordercd to be executed. In addition a fine of Rupees two lakhs was imposed on him. Some historians say that, as a measure of clemency at the intervention of Mian Mir, this fine was imposed in lieu of the sentence of death. The Sikhs offered to pay the fine themselves but the Guru forbade them to do so. He replied to the Emperor, "Whatever money I have is for the poor, the friendless and the stranger. If thou ask for money thou mayest take what I have; but if thou ask for it by way of fine, I shall not give thee even a Kaurz (penny)." The Guru accepted death by torture.
Shah Jahan (1658 C.E. - 1707 C.E.)
In 1632 Shah Jahan ordered that all Hindu temples recently erected or in the course of construction should be razed to the ground. In Benares alone seventy six temples were destroyed. Christian churches at Agra and Lahore were demolished. In a manner befitting the Prophet he had ten thousand inhabitants executed by being "blown up with powder, drowned in water or burnt by fire". Four thousand were taken captive to Agra where they were tortured to try to convert them to Islam. Only a few apostacised, the remainder were trampled to death by elephants, except for the younger women who went to harems.
Shahjahan put enormous eonomic pressure on Hindus particularly peasents to become Muslims. The criminals too were forced to become Muslims.
Source: Badshah Nama, Qazinivi & Badshah Nama , Lahori
When Shuja was appointed as governor of Kabul he carried on a ruthless war in the Hindu territory beyond Indus...The sword of Islam yielded a rich crop of converts....Most of the women (to save their honour) burnt themselves to death. Those captured were distributed among Muslim Mansabdars.
Source: Manucci, Storia do Mogor vol-II p.451 & Travels of Frey Sebastian Manrique
Under Shahjahan peasents were compelled to sell their women and children to meet their revenue requirements....The peasents were carried off to various Markets and fairs to be sold with their poor unhappy wives carrying their small children crying and lamenting. According to Qaznivi Shahjagan had decreed they should be sold to Muslim lords.
General Reginal Dyer -- Commander of Amritsar Massacre
Soon after Dyer's arrival, on the afternoon of April 13, 1919, some 10,000 or more unarmed men, women, and children gathered in Amritsar's Jallianwala Bagh (bagh, "garden"; but before 1919 it had become a public square) to attend a protest meeting, despite a ban on public assemblies. It was a Sunday, and many neighbouring village peasants also came to Amritsar to celebrate the Hindu Baisakhi Spring Festival. Dyer positioned his men at the sole, narrow passageway of the Bagh, which was otherwise entirely enclosed by the backs of abutted brick buildings. Giving no word of warning, he ordered 50 soldiers to fire into the gathering, and for 10 to 15 minutes 1,650 rounds of ammunition were unloaded into the screaming, terrified crowd, some of whom were trampled by those desperately trying to escape. According to official estimates, nearly 400 civilians were killed, and another 1,200 were left wounded with no medical attention. Dyer, who argued his action was necessary to produce a "moral and widespread effect," admitted that the firing would have continued had more ammunition been available.
The governor of the Punjab province supported the massacre at Amritsar and, on April 15, placed the entire province under martial law. Viceroy Chelmsford, however, characterized the action as "an error of judgment," and when Secretary of State Montagu learned of the slaughter, he appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by Lord Hunter. Although Dyer was subsequently relieved of his command, he returned a hero to many in Britain, especially conservatives, who presented him with a jeweled sword inscribed "Saviour of the Punjab."
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre turned millions of moderate Indians from patient and loyal supporters of the British raj into nationalists who would never again place trust in British "fair play." It thus marks the turning point for a majority of the Congress' supporters from moderate cooperation with the raj and its promised reforms to revolutionary noncooperation. Liberal Anglophile leaders, such as Jinnah, were soon to be displaced by the followers of Gandhi, who would launch, a year after that dreadful massacre, his first nationwide satyagraha ("devotion to truth") campaign as India's revolutionary response.
"It was a horrible duty to perform. But I think it was a merciful thing. I thought I should shoot well and shoot straight so that I or anybody else would not have had to shoot again.''
The words of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer himself -- the perpetrator of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which left 379 dead and 1,500 injured in 1919.
Deposing before the Hunter commission inquiring into the shooting, General Dyer said his action was meant to punish the people if they disobeyed his orders. He thought from a military point of view, such an action would create a good impression in Punjab.
However, what was more damning was his statement, ''I think it quite possible that I could have dispersed the crowd without firing but they would have come back again and laughed, and I would have made, what I consider, a fool of myself.''
He contended that martial law existed de facto in Amritsar at that time although only demonstrations had been forbidden. He also claimed that his military column had stopped at every important point to announce that all meetings have been banned which were accompanied by the beating of drums.
However, when questioned with the help of a map of the city, General Dyer was forced to admit that important localities had been omitted, and a large number of people would not have known about the proclamation.
He confessed he did not take any steps to attend to the wounded after the firing. ''Certainly not. It was not my job. Hospitals were open and they could have gone there,'' came his pathetic response.
However, the misery suffered by the people was reflected in Rattan Devi's account. She was forced to keep a nightlong vigil, armed with a bamboo stick to protect her husband's body from jackals and vultures. Curfew with shoot-at-sight orders had been imposed from 2000 hours that night.
Rattan Devi stated, ''I saw three men writhing in great pain and a boy of about 12. I could not leave the place. The boy asked me for water but there was no water in that place...At 2 am, a jat who was lying entangled on the wall asked me to raise his leg. I went up to him and took hold of his clothes drenched in blood and raised him up. Heaps of bodies lay there, a number of them innocent children. I shall never forget the sight. I spent the night crying and watching..."
General Dyer admitted before the commission that he came to know about the meeting at Jallianwala Bagh at 1240 hours that day, but took no steps to prevent it.
Colum, a scholar who interviewed his widow and consulted his papers, said, "This unexpected gift of fortune, this unhoped for defiance, this concentration of rebels in an open space -- it gave him an opportunity as he could not have devised. It separated the guilty from the innocent, it placed them where he would have wised them to be -- within the reach of his sword.''
However, General Dyer admitted in his deposition that the gathering at the Bagh was not a concentration only of rebels, but people who had covered long distances to participate in the Baisakhi fair.
Swinson, an English journalist, described the scene as: ''Hundreds were asleep in the sun, others were concentrating on their game of cards. A number of them had come with their children, three to 12 years old. Some 27,000 odd people had gathered in the Bagh, an open space surrounded on all sides by houses with only four narrow entrances.''
General Dyer said he would have used his machine guns if he could have got them into the enclosure, but these were mounted on armoured cars. He said he did not stop firing when the crowd began to disperse because he thought it was his duty to keep firing until the crowd dispersed, and that a little firing would do no good.
He was censured by the Hunter commission for his action. He retired and was sent back to England. However, he continued to maintain that he had done no disservice to the Raj, and what he did was right, for which the British ought to be thankful.
In London, the general was given a hero's welcome. Called ''the saviour of India,'' the editor of the Morning Post collected 3,000 pounds to award him for his services. The Tories and a majority of members in the House of Lords rallied to his support. The army counsel which took up the case charged him only for an error of judgement, and recommended his retirement on half pay with no prospects of further employment. A British court even exonerated him of this charge.
* * *
The Hindu Holocaust continues throughout the world today. More than any other religious group anywhere, Hindus are being persecuted and murdered by fanatical members of other religious groups, and even by the Government of India itself. In the supposedly "secular" country of India, we find that the minority religions are given special treatment and allowed to manage their own affairs. Muslims in India are offered a financial subsidy to pay for their religious pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj Subsidy), and Christian missionaries are allowed to run rampant using various forms of deception and material promises to convert entire villages, while the Hindu religion is denigrated in India's universities. Patriotic Hindus are called fundamentalists and fanatics, while Muslim and Christian terrorists carry out an unprecedented campaign of murder and violence against Hindus. Hindu temples are not allowed to be managed by the Hindus themselves, rather huge amounts of donations are collected by the "secular" government and pocketed by non-Hindu officials while the Temples are left to fall into ruins. At the same time, Muslim "Madrassas", or religious schools, are growing by leaps and bounds, and left free to preach their hatred against Hindus. Muslim and Christian separatists threaten to tear Mother India apart even more than she has already been in order to secede and carve out new nations from India based on religious governments, rather than on secular lines that insure religious freedom for all.
Islamic Destruction of Hindu Temples
For those who don’t believe or do not know of the amount of destruction that took place in India at the hands of the Muslim invaders and Islamic rulers who established themselves in parts of India, we can review the Islamic chronicles of the deeds of these rulers of the day, as written by the Muslim contemporary writers or historians. So what follows is a review of some of the books and their authors who recorded the histories of the Islamic rulers, and quotes from some of the descriptions within them about the cities they attacked and the temples they destroyed. It really shows how demoniac and cruel these rulers were.
The evidence of destruction of thousands of Hindu temples can be primarily found from two different sources:
1. Literary Evidence from the work of renowned Islamic historians
2. Epigraphic Evidence from the inscriptions on numerous Mosques all over India.
This article deals with only the literary evidence.
Hundreds of Muslim historians have glorified the deeds of their Muslim heroes all over India. This by no means is an exhaustive list! To learn more about this, please read both volumes of, Hindu Temples: What Happened To Them? by Sita Ram Goel.
There is elaborate literary evidence from the Islamic sources which glorify the crimes committed by the Muslims in India. Crimes such as the desecration of the Hindu idols, looting of the temples, killing devotees and raping have been well documented by the Muslim historians themselves. They have done so because according to them these Muslim rulers by doing such deeds were following the tenets of Islam and Sunnah of the prophet Mohammed. The literary evidence stated below is in chronological order with reference to the time at which a particular work was written.
1. Name Of The Book: Hindustan Islami Ahad Mein (India under Islamic Rule)
Name Of The Historian: Maulana Abdul Hai.
About The Author: He is a highly respected scholar and taken as an authority on Islamic history. Because of his scholarship and his services to Islam, Maulana Abdul Hai was appointed as the Rector of the Darul Nadwa Ullum Nadwatal-Ulama. He continued in that post till his death in February 1923.
The following section is taken from the chapter Hindustan ki Masjidein (The mosques of India) of the above mentioned book. Here we can see a brief description of few important mosques in India and how each one of them was built upon plundered Hindu temples.
a. Qawwat al-Islam Mosque at Delhi: "According to my findings the first mosque of Delhi is Qubbat al-Islam or Quwwat al-Islam which, Qutubud-Din Aibak constructed in H. 587 after demolishing the Hindu temple built by Prithvi Raj and leaving certain parts of the temple outside the mosque proper; and when he returned from Ghazni in H. 592 he started building, under orders from Shihabud-Din Ghori, a huge mosque of inimitable red stones, and certain parts of the temple were included in the mosque..."
b. The Mosque at Jaunpur: "This was built by Sultan Ibrahim Sharqi with chiseled stones. Originally it was a Hindu temple after demolishing which he constructed the mosque. It is known as the Atala Masjid."
c. The Mosque at Qanauj: "It is well known that this mosque was built on the foundations of some Hindu temple that stood here. The mosque was built by Ibrahim Sharqi in H. 809 as is recorded in Gharbat Nigar."
d. Jami Masjid at Etwah: "This mosque stands on the bank of the Jamuna at Etawah. There was a Hindu temple at this place, on the site of which this mosque was constructed. ."
e. Babri Masjid at Ayodhya: "This mosque was constructed by Babar at Ayodhya which Hindus call the birth place of Ramchandraji... Sita had a temple here in which she lived and cooked for her husband. On that very site Babar constructed this mosque in H.963 "
f. Mosque at Benaras: "Mosque of Benares was built by Alamgir Aurangzeb on the site of Bisheshwar Temple. That temple was very tall and held as holy among Hindus. On this very site and with those very stones he constructed a lofty mosque, and its ancient stones were rearranged after being embedded in the walls of the mosque. It is one of the renowned mosques of Hindustan."
g. Mosque at Mathura: "Alamgir Aurangzeb built a mosque at Mathura. This mosque was built on site of the Govind Dev Temple which was very strong and beautiful as well as exquisite."
2. Name Of The Book: Futuhu'l-Buldan
Name Of The Historian: Ahmed bin Yahya bin Jabir
About The Author: This author is also known as al-Biladhuri. He lived at the court of Khalifa Al-Mutawakkal (AD 847-861) and died in AD 893. His history is one of the major Arab chronicles.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Ibn Samurah (AD 653)
"On reaching Dawar, he surrounded the enemy in the mountain of Zur, where there was a famous Hindu temple." "...Their idol of Zur was of gold, and its eyes were two rubies. The zealous Musalmans cut off its hands and plucked out its eyes, and then remarked to the Marzaban how powerless was his idol..."
b. Qutaibah bin Muslim al-Bahili (AD 705-715)
"Other authorities say that Kutaibah granted peace for 700,000 dirhams and entertainment for the Moslems for three days. The terms of surrender included also the houses of the idols and the fire temples. The idols were thrown out, plundered of their ornaments and burned..."
c. Mohammed bin Qasim (AD 712-715)
"...The town was thus taken by assault, and the carnage endured for three days. The governor of the town, appointed by Dahir, fled and the priests of the temple were massacred. Muhammad marked a place for the Musalmans to dwell in, built a mosque, and left 4,000 Musalmans to garrison the place..."
"...Ambissa son of Ishak Az Zabbi, the governor of Sindh, in the Khilafat of Mu'tasim billah knocked down the upper part of the minaret of the temple and converted it into a prison..."
"...He then crossed the Biyas, and went towards Multan...Muhammad destroyed the water-course; upon which the inhabitants, oppressed with thirst, surrendered at discretion. He massacred the men capable of bearing arms, but the children were taken captive, as well as ministers of the temple, to the number of 6,000. The Musalmans found there much gold in a chamber ten cubits long by eight broad..."
d. Hasham bin 'Amru al-Taghlabi
"He then went to Khandahar in boats and conquered it. He destroyed the Budd (idol) there, and built in its place a mosque."
3. Name Of The Book: Tarikh-i-Tabari
Name Of The Historian: Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir at-Tabari
About The Author: This author is considered to be the foremost historian of Islam. The above mentioned book written by him is regarded as the mother of histories.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Qutaibah bin Muslim al-Bahili (AD 705-715)
"The ultimate capture of Beykund (in AD 706) rewarded him with an incalculable booty; even more than had hitherto fallen into the hands of the Mohammedans by the conquest of the entire province of Khorassaun; and the unfortunate merchants of the town, having been absent on a trading excursion while their country was assailed by the enemy, and finding their habitations desolate on their return contributed further to enrich the invaders, by the ransom which they paid for the recovery of their wives and children. The ornaments alone, of which these women had been plundered, being melted down, produce, in gold, 150,000 meskals; of a dram and a half each. Among the articles of the booty, is also described an image of gold, of 50,000 meskals, of which the eyes were two pearls, the exquisite beauty and magnitude of which excited the surprise and admiration of Kateibah. They were transmitted by him, with a fifth of the spoil to Hejauje, together with a request that he might be permitted to distribute, to the troops, the arms which had been found in the palace in great profusion."
"A breach was, however, at last effected in the walls of the city in AD 712 by the warlike machines of Kateibah; and some of the most daring of its defenders having fallen by the skill of his archers, the besieged demanded a cessation of arms to the following day, when they promised to capitulate. The request was acceded to the Kateibah; and a treaty was the next day accordingly concluded between him and the prince of Samarkand, by which the latter engaged for the annual payment of ten million of dhirems, and a supply of three thousand slaves; of whom it was particularly stipulated, that none should either be in a state of infancy, or ineffective from old age and debility. He further contracted that the ministers of his religion should be expelled from their temples and their idols destroyed and burnt; that Kateibah should be allowed to establish a mosque in the place of the principal temple...."
"...Kateibah accordingly set set fire to the whole collection with his own hands; it was soon consumed to ashes, and 50,000 meskals of gold and silver, collected from the nails which had been used in the workmanship of the images."
b.. Yaqub bin Laith (AD 870-871)
Balkh and Kabul (Afghanistan)
"He took Bamian, which he probably reached by way of Herat, and then marched on Balkh where he ruined (the temple) Naushad. On his way back from Balkh he attacked Kabul..."
"Starting from Panjhir, the place he is known to have visited, he must have passed through the capital city of the Hindu Sahis to rob the sacred temple -- the reputed place of coronation of the Sahi rulers -- of its sculptural wealth..."
"The exact details of the spoil collected from Kabul valley are lacking. The Tarikh [-i-Sistan] records 50 idols of gold and silver and Mas'udi mentions elephants. The wonder excited in Baghdad by baghdad by elephants and pagan idols forwarded to the Caliph by Ya'qub also speaks for their high value."
4. Name Of The Book: Tarikhu'l-Hind
Name Of The Historian: Abu Rihan Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Biruni al-Khwarizmi.
About The Author: This author spent 40 years in India during the reign of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (AD 997 - 1030). His history treats of the literature and learning of the Hindus at the commencement of the 11th century.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Jalam ibn Shaiban (9th century AD)
"A famous idol of theirs was that of Multan, dedicated to the sun, and therefore called Aditya. It was of wood and covered with red Cordovan leather; in its two eyes were two red rubies. It is said to have been made in the last Kritayuga .....When Muhammad Ibn Alkasim Ibn Almunaibh conquered Multan, he inquired how the town had become so very flourishing and so many treasures had there been accumulated, and then he found out that this idol was the cause, for there came pilgrims from all sides to visit it. Therefore he thought it best to have the idol where it was, but he hung a piece of cow's flesh on its neck by way of mockery. On the same place a mosque was built. When the Karmatians occupied Multan, Jalam Ibn Shaiban, the usurper, broke the idol into pieces and killed its priests..."
b. Sultan Mahmud of Gazni (AD 997-1030)
"The city of Taneshar is highly venerated by Hindus. The idol of that place is called Cakrasvamin, i.e. the owner of the chakra, a weapon which we have already described. It is of bronze, and is nearly the size of a man. It is now lying in the hippodrome in Ghazna, together with the Lord of Somnath, which is a representation of the penis of the Mahadeva, called Linga."
"The linga he raised was the stone of Somnath, for soma means the moon and natan means master, so that the whole word means master of the moon. The image was destroyed by the Prince Mahmud, may God be merciful to him! --AH 416. He ordered the upper part to be broken and the remainder to be transported to his residence, Ghaznin, with all its coverings and trappings of gold, jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the hippodrome of the town, together with Cakrasvamin, an idol of bronze, that had been brought from Taneshar. Another part of the idol from Somnath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet."
5. Name Of The Book: Kitabu'l-Yamini
Name Of The Historian: Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Jabbaru'l-Utbi.
About The Author: This author's work comprises the whole of the reign of Subuktigin and that of Sultan Mahmud down to the year AD 1020.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Amir Sbuktigin Of Ghazni
"The Amir marched out towards Lamghan, which is a city celebrated for its great strength and abounding wealth. He conquered it and set fire to the places in its vicinity which were inhabited by infidels, and demolishing idol temples, he established Islam in them. He marched and captured other cities and killed the polluted wretches, destroying the idolaters and gratifying the Musulmans."
b. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (AD 997-1030)
"The Sultan again resolved on an expedition to Hind, and marched towards Narain, urging his horses and moving over ground, hard and soft, until he came to the middle of Hind, where he reduced chiefs, who, up to that time obeyed no master, overturned their idols, put to the sword the vagabonds of that country, and with delay and circumspection proceeded to accomplish his design..."
"After the Sultan had purified Hind from idolatry, and raised mosques therein, he determined to invade the capital of Hind to punish those who kept idols and would not acknowledge the unity of God...He marched with a large army in the year AH 404 (AD 1013) during a dark night..."
"A stone was found there in the temple of the great Budda on which an inscription was written purporting that the temple had been founded 50,000 years ago. The Sultan was surprised at the ignorance of these people, because those who believe in the true faith represent that only seven hundred years have elapsed since the creation of the world, and the signs of resurrection are even now approaching. The Sultan asked his wise men the meaning of this inscription and they all concurred in saying that it was false, and no faith was to be put in the evidence of a stone."
"The chief of Tanesar was...obstinate in his infidelity and denial of God. So the Sultan marched against him with his valiant warriors, for the purpose of planting the standards of Islam and extirpating idolatry.."
"The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously, that the stream was discoloured, not withstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it...The victory gained by God's grace, who has established Islam for ever as the best religions, notwithstanding that idolaters revolt against it...Praise be to God, the protector of the world, for the honour he bestows upon Islam and Musulmans."
Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)
"The Sultan then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindus. The name of this place was Mahartul Hind... On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work..."
"In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it: --'If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an 100,000,000 red dinars, and it would occupy 200 years even though the most experience and able workmen were employed'... The Sultan gave orders that all temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground."
Kanauj (Uttar Pradesh)
"In Kanauj there were nearly 10,000 temples, which the idolaters falsely and absurdly represented to have been founded by their ancestors two or three hundred thousand years ago...Many of the inhabitants of the place fled and were scattered abroad like so many wretched widows and orphans, from the fear which oppressed them, in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Many of them thus effected their escape, and those who did not fly were put to death."
6. Name Of The Book: Diwan-i-Salman
Name Of The Historian: Khawajah Masud bin Sa'd bin Salman
About The Author: Khawajah Masud bin Sa'd bin Salman was a poet. He wrote poems in praise of the Ghaznavid Sultans-Masu'd, Ibrahim and Bahram Shah. He died sometime between AD 1126 and 1131.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Sultan Abu'l Muzaffar Ibrahim (AD 1059-1099)
"As power and the strength of a lion was bestowed upon Ibrahim by the Almighty, he made over to him the well-populated country of Hindustan and gave him 40,000 valiant horsemen to take the country, in which there were more than 1000 rais...The army of the king destroyed at one time a thousand temples of idols, which had each been built for more than a thousand years. How can I describe the victories of the King..."
"The narrative of any battles eclipses the stories of Rustam and Isfandiyar... By morning meal, not one soldier, not one Brahmin remained unkilled or uncaptured. Their heads were levelled with the ground with flaming fire… Thou has secured the victory to the country and to religion, for amongst the Hindus this achievement will be remembered till the day of resurrection. "
Malwa (Madhya Pradesh)
"…On this journey, the army destroyed a thousand idol-temples and thy elephants trampled over more than a hundred strongholds. Thou didst march thy army to Ujjain… The lip of infidelity became dry through fear of thee, the eye of plural-worship became blind..."
7. Name Of The Book: Chach-Namah
Name Of The Historian: Mohammed Al bin Hamid bin Abu Bakr Kufi
About The Author: The Persian history was translated from Arabic by the above mentioned author in the time of Nasiruddin Qabacha, a slave of Mohammed Ghori.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Mohammed bin Qasim (AD 712-715)
Siwistan and Sisam (Sindh)
Mohammed bin Qasem wrote to al-Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq:
"The forts of Siwistan and Sism have been already taken. The nephew of Dahir, his warriors and principal officers have been dispatched, and infidels converted to Islam or destroyed. Instead of idol temples, mosques and other places of worship have been built, pulpits have been erected, the Khutba is read, the call to prayers is raised so that devotions are performed at sacred hours."
"Mohammed Qasem arose and with his counselors, guards and attendants, went to the temple. He saw there an idol made of gold, and its two eye were bright red rubies... Muhammed Qasem ordered the idol to be taken up. Two hundred and thirty ‘mans’ of gold were brought to the treasury together with the gems and pearls and treasures which were obtained from the plunder of Multan."
8. Name Of The Book: Jamiu'l-Hikayat
Name Of The Historian: Maulana Nuruddin Muhammed `Ufi
About The Author: The author was born in or near the city of Bukhara in Transoxiana. He came to India and lived in Delhi for some time in the reign of Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236)
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Amru bin Laith (AD 879-900)
"It is related that Amru Lais conferred the governorship of Zabulistan on Fardaghan and sent him there at the head of four thousand horses. There was a large Hindu place of worship in that country, which was called Sakawand and people used to come on pilgrimage from the most remote parts of Hindustan to the idols of that place. When Fardaghan arrived in Zabulistan he led his army against it, took the temple, broke the idols in pieces and overthrew the idolaters... "
9. Name Of The Book: Taju'l-Ma'sir
Name Of The Historian: Sadru'd-Din Muhammed Hasan Nizamii
About The Author: The author was born at Nishapur in Khurusan. He had to leave his ancestral place because of the Mongol invasion. He came to India and started writing his history in AD 1205.
The Muslim Rulers He Wrote About:
a. Sultan Muhammed Ghuri (AD 1175-1206)
"He destroyed the pillars and foundations of the idol temples and built in their stead mosques and colleges, and the precepts of Islam, and the customs of the law were divulged and established. .."
Kuhram and Samana (Punjab)
"The Government of the fort of Kohram and Samana were made over by the Sultan to Kutuu-din. He purged by his sword the land of Hind from the filth of infidelity and vice, and freed it from the thorn of God-plurality, and the impurity of idol-worship and by his royal vigor and intrepidity, left not one temple standing..."
Meerut (Uttar Pradesh)
"Kutub-d din marched from Kohran and when he arrived at Meerut which is one of the celebrated forts of the country of Hind, for the strength of its foundations and superstructure, and its ditch, which was as broad as the ocean and fathomless- an army joined him, sent by the dependent chiefs of the country. The fort was captured, and a Kotwal was appointed to take up his station in the fort, and all the idol temples were converted into mosques."
"He then marched and encamped under the fort of Delhi...The city and its vicinity were freed from idols and idol-worship, and in the sanctuaries of the images of the Gods, nosques were raised by the worshippers of one God. Kutub-d din built the Jami Masjid at Delhi and adorned it with stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by the elephants, and covered it with inscriptions in Toghra, containing the divine commands."
Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
"From that place (Asni) the royal armi proceeded towards Benares which is the center of the country of Hind and here they destroyed nearly 1000 temples, and raised mosques on their foundations and the knowledge of the law became promulgated, and the foundations of religion were established. ."
Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh)
"There was a certain tribe in the neighbourhood of Kol which had occasioned much trouble. Three bastions were raised as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcasses became the food of beasts of prey. That tract was freed from idols and idol-worship and the foundation of infidelity were destroyed."
"When Kutub-d din heard of Sultan's march from Ghazna, he was much rejoiced and advanced as far as Hansi to meet him. In the year AH 592 (AD 1196), they marched towards Thangar, and the center of idolatry and perdition became the abode of glory and splendour.."
Kalinjar (Uttar Pradesh)
"In the year AH 599 (Ad 1202), Kutub-d din proceeded to the investment Kalinjar, on which expedition he was accompanied by the Sahib-Kiran, Shamsu-d din Altmash... The temples were converted into mosques and abodes of goodness, and the ejaculations of bead counters and voices of summoners to prayer ascended to high heaven, and the very name of idolatry was annihilated. ."
b. Sultan Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236)
"The Sultan then returned from Jalor to Delhi..and after his arrival 'not a vestige or name remained of idol temples which had raised their heads on high; and the light of faith shone out from the darkness of infidelity.. and the moon of religion and the state became resplendent from the heaven of prosperity and glory."
10. Name Of The Book: Kamilu't-Tawarikh
Name Of The Historian: Ibn Asir
About The Author: The author was born in AD 1160 in the Jazirat ibn Umar, an island on the Tigris above Mosul.
The Muslim Rulers he Wrote About:
a. Khalifa Al-Mahdi (AD 775-785)
"In the year 159 (AD 776) Al Mahdi sent an army by sea under Abdul Malik bin Shahabu'l Musamma'i to India. They proceeded on their way and at length disembarked at Barada. When they reached the place they laid siege on it. The town was reduced to extremities and God prevailed over it in the same year. The people were forbidden to worship the Budd, which the Muhammadans burned."
11. Name Of The Book: Tarikh-i-Jahan-Kusha
Name Of The Historian: Alaud-Din Malik ibn Bahaud-Din Muhammed Juwaini
About The Author: The author was born a native of Juwain in Khurasan near Nishapur. He was the Halaku during the Mongol campaign against the Ismai'lians and was later appointed the governor of Baghdad. He fell from grace and was imprisoned at Hamadan.
The Muslim Rulers he Wrote About:
a. Sultan Jalalud-Din Mankbarni (AD 1222-1231)
"The Sultan then went towards Dewal and Darbela and Jaisi... The Sultan raised Masjid at Dewal, on the spot where an idol temple stood."
12. Name Of The Book: Mifathu'l-Futuh
Name Of The Historian: Amir Khusru
About The Author: The author, Amir Khusru was born at Delhi in 1253. His father occupied high positions in the reigns of Sultan Shamsu'd Din Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236) and his successors. Reputed to be the dearest disciple of Shykh Nizamuddin Auliya, he became the lick-spittle of whoever came out victorious in the contest for the throne at Delhi. He became the court poet of Balban's successor, Sultan Kaiqbad.
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a. Sultan Jajalu'd-Din Khalji (AD 1290-1296)
"The Sultan reached Jhain in the afternoon of the third day and stayed in the palace of the Raya he greatly enjoyed his stay for some time. Coming out, he took a round of gardens and temples. The idols he saw amazed him. Next day he got those idols of gold smashed with stones. The pillars of wood were burnt down by his order. A cry rose from the temples as if a second Mahmud has taken birth. Two idols were made of brass, one of which weighed nearly thousand ‘mans’. He got both of them broken, and the pieces were distributed among his people so that they may throw them at the door of Masjid on their return to Delhi."
b. Sultan Alaud-Din Khilji (AD 1296-1316)
Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh)
"When he advanced from the capital of Karra, the Hindus, in alarm, descended into the earth like ants. He departed towards the garden of Behar to dye that soil with blood as red as tulip. He cleared the road to Ujjain of vile wretches, and created consternation in Bhilsan. When he affected his conquests in that country, he drew out of the river the idols which had been concealed in it.
"But see the mercy with which he regarded the broken-hearted, for, after seizing the rai, he set him free again. He destroyed the temples of the idolaters, and erected pulpits and arches for mosques
13. Name Of The Book: Nuh Siphir
Name of the Historian: Amir Khusru
About the Author: The above mentioned book is the fourth historical mathnavi which Amir Khusru wrote when he was 67 years old. It celebrates the reign of Sultan Mubarak Shah Khalji.
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a.. Sultan Mubarak Shah Khalji (AD 1315-1320)
Warrangal (Andhra Pradesh)
"They pursued the enemy to the gates and set everything on fire. They burnt down all those gardens and groves. That paradise of idol-worshippers became like hell. The fire-worshippers of ‘Bud’ were in alarm and flocked round their idols…"
14. Name of the Book: Siyaru'l-Auliya
Name of the Historian: Sayyed Muhammed bin Mubarak bin Muhammed
About the Author: He was the grandson of an Iranian merchant who traded between Kirman in Iran and Lahore. The family traveled to Delhi after Shykh Farid's death and became devoted to Shykh Nizamu'd-din Auliya.
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a.. Shykh Mu'in al-Din Chisti Ajmer (AD 1236)
"..Because of his Sword, instead of idols and temples in the land of unbelief now there are mosques, mihrab and mimbar. In the land where there were the sayings of the idol-worshippers, there is the sound of 'Allahu Akbar'...The descendants of those who were converted to Islam in this land will live until Day of Judgement; so too will those who bring others into the fold of Islam by the sword of Islam. Until the Day of Judgment these converts will be in debt of Shaykh al-Islam Mu'in al-din Hasam Sijzi..."
15. Name of the Book: Masalik'ul Absar fi Mamalik'ul Amsar
Name of the Historian: Shihabu'd-Din 'Abu'l Abbas Ahmed bin Yahya.
About the Author: He was born in AD 1301. He was educated in Damascus and Cairo. He is considered to be a great man and scholar of his time and author of many books. He occupied high positions in Syria and Egypt.
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a. Sultan Muhammed bin Tughlaq (AD 1325-1351)
"The Sultan is not slack in Jihad. He never lets go of his spear or bridle in pursuing jihad by land and sea routes. This is his main occupation which engages his eyes and ears. Five temples have been destroyed and the images and idols of ‘Budd’ have been broken, and the lands have been freed from those who were not included in the daru'l Islam that is, those who had refused to become zimmis. Thereafter he got mosques and places of worship erected, and music replaced by call to prayers to Allah... The Sultan who is ruling at present has achieved that which had not been achieved so far by any king. He has achieved victory, supremacy, conquest of countries, destruction of the infidels, and exposure of magicians. He has destroyed idols by which the people of Hindustan were deceived in vain..."
16. Name of the Book: Rehala of Ibn Battuta
Name of the Historian: Shykh Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Lawatt at-Tanji al-Maruf be Ibn Battuta.
About the Author: He belonged to an Arab family which was settled in Spain since AD 1312. His grandfather and father enjoyed the reputation of scholars and theologians. He himself was a great scholar who traveled extensively and over many lands. He came to India in 1325 and visited many places. He was very fond of sampling Hindu girls from different parts of India. They were presented to him by the Sultan Mohammed bin-Tughlaq with whom Ibn Battuta came in close contact. He also married Muslim women wherever he stayed and divorced them before his departure.
a. His Travel description:
"Near the eastern gate of the mosque, lie two very big idols of copper connected together by stones. Every one who comes in and goes out of the mosque treads over them. On the site of this mosque was a bud Khana that is an idol-house. After the conquest of Delhi, it was turned into a mosque..."
17. Name of the Book: Tarikh-i-Firuz
Name of the Historian: Shams Siraj Alif
About the Author: The author became a courtier of Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq and undertook to complete the aforementioned history of Barani who had stopped at the sixth year of Firuz Shah's reign.
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a. Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351-1388)
"The Sultan left Banarasi with the intention of pursuing the Rani of Jajnagar, who had fled to an island in the river...News was then brought that in the jangal were seven elephants, and one old shoe-elephant, which was very fierce. The Sultan resolved upon endeavoring to capture these elephants before continuing the pursuit of the Rai... After the hunt was over, the Sultan directed his attention to the Rai of Jajnagar, and entering the palace where he dwelt he found many fine buildings. It is reported that inside the Rai's fort, there was a stone idol which the infidels called Jagannath, and to which they paid their devotions. Sultan Firoz, in emulation of Mahmud Subuktign, having rooted up the idol, carried it away to Delhi where he placed it in an ignominious position."
b. Nagarkot Kangra(Himachal Pradesh)
"..Sultan Muhammed Shah bin Tughlaq and Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq were sovereigns especially chosen by Almighty from among the faithful, and in their whole course of their reigns, wherever they took an idol temple they broke and destroyed it."
"A report was brought to the Sultan that there was in Delhi an old Brahmin who persisted in publicly performing the worship of idols in his house; and that people of the city, both Musalmans and Hindus, used to resort to his house to worship the idol. The Brahmin had constructed a wooden tablet which was covered within and without with paintings of demons and other objects. An order was accordingly given that the Brahmin, with his tablet, should be brought into the presence of the Sultan at Firozabad. The judges and doctors and elders and lawyers were summoned, and the case of the Brahmin was submitted for their opinion. Their reply was that the provisions of the Law were clear: the Brahmin must either become a Musalman or be burned. The true faith was declared to the Brahmin, and the right course pointed out, but he refused to accept it. Orders were given for raising a pile of faggots before the door of the darbar (court). The Brahmin was tied hand and foot and cast into it; the tablet was thrown on top and the pile was lighted. The writer of this book was present at the darbar and witnessed the execution. The tablet of the Brahmin was lighted in two places, at his head and at his feet; the wood was dry and the fire first reached his feet, and drew him a cry, but the flames quickly enveloped his head and consumed him. Behold the Sultan's strict adherence to law and rectitude, how he would not deviate in the least from its decrees!"
Here Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq glorifies his own criminal acts in Bharat as sanctioned by the "holy" Koran.
18. Name of the Book: Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi
Name of the Historian: Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq
About the Author: Sultan had got the eight chapters of his work inscribed on eight slabs of stone which were fixed on eight sides of the octagonal dome of a building near the Jami Masjid at Firuzabad.
a. Prayers of Temple-destroyers in this Book
"The next matter which by God's help I accomplished, was the repetition of names and titles of former sovereigns which had been omitted from the prayers of Sabbaths and Feasts. The names of those sovereigns of Islam, under whose happy fortune and favour infidel countries had been conquered, whose banners had waved over many a land, under whom idol-temples had been demolished, and mosques and pulpits built and exalted..."
Delhi and Evirons
"The Hindus and idol-worshippers had agreed to pay the money for toleration (zar-i zimmiya) and had consented to the poll-tax(jiziya) in return for which they and their families enjoyed security. These people now erected new idol-temples in the city and the enviorns in opposition to the law of the Prophet which declares that such temples are not to be tolerated. Under divine guidance I destroyed these edifices and I killed those leaders of infidelity who seduced others into error, and the lower orders I subjected to stripes and chastisement, until this abuse was entirely abolished. The following is an instance: In the vilalge of Maluh, there is a tank which they call kund (tank). Here they had built idol-temples and on certain days the Hindus were accustomed to proceed thither on horseback, and wearing arms. Their women and children also went out in palankins and carts. Then they assembled in thousands and performed idol-worship. ...when intelligence of this came to my ears my religious feelings prompted me at once to put a stop to this scandal and offence to the religion of Islam. On the day of the assembly I went there in person and I ordered that the leaders of these people and the promoters of this abominations should be put to death. I destroyed their idol-temples and instead thereof raised mosques."
"Some Hindus had erected a new idol-temple in the village of Kohana and the idolators used to assemble there and perform their idolatrous rites. These people were seized and brought before me. I ordered that the perverse conduct of the leaders of this wickedness should be publicly proclaimed, and that they should be put to death before the gate of the palace. I also ordered that the infidel books, the idols and the vessels used in their worship, which had been taken with idols, should all be publicly burnt. The others were restrained by threats and punishments, as a warning to all men, that no zimmi could follow such wicked practices in a Muslaman country."
19. Name of the Book: Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi
Name of the Historian: Yahya Ammad bin Abdullah Sirhindi
About the Author: The author lived in the reign of Sultan Muizu'd-Din Abu'l Fath Mubarak Shah (AD 1421-1434) of the Sayyid dynasty which ruled at Delhi from AD 1414-1451.
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a. Sultan Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236)
Vidisha and Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)
"In AH 631 he invaded Malwah, and after suppressing the rebels of that place, he destroyed that idol-temple which had existed there for the past three hundred years. Next he turned towards Ujjain and conquered it, and after demolishing the idol-temple of Mahakal, he uprooted the statue of Bikramajit together with all other statues and images which were placed on pedestals, and brought them to the capital where they were laid before the Jami Masjid for being trodden under foot by the people
20. Name of the Book: Tarikh-i-Muhammadi
Name of the Historian: Muhammed Bihamad Khani
About the Author: The author was the son of the governor of Irich in Bundelkhand. He was a soldier who participated in several wars. His history covers a long period - from Prophet Mohammed to AD 1438-39
The Muslim Rulers he wrote About:
a. Sultan Ghiyasu'd-Din Tughlaq Shah II (AD 1388-89)
Kalpi (Uttar Pradesh)
"In the meanwhile Delhi received news of the defeat of the armies of Islam which were with Malikzada Mahmud bin Firuz Khan...This Malikzada reached the bank of the Yamuna via Shahpur and renamed Kalpi which was the abode and center of the infidels and the wicked, as Muhammadabad, after the name of Prophet Muhammed. He got mosques erected for the worship of Allah in places occupied by temples, and made that city his capital. "
b. Sultan Nasiru'd-Din Mahmud Shah Tughlaq (AD 1389-1412)
Prayag and Kara (Uttar Pradesh)
"The Sultan moved with the armies of Islam towards Prayag and Arail with the aim of destroying the infidels, and he laid waste both those places. The vast crowd which had collected at Prayag for worshipping false gods was made captive. The inhabitants of Kara were freed from the mischief of rebels on account of this aid from King and the name of this king of Islam became famous by this reason."
Another Moghul ruler by the name of Babur who was in love with a young boy named Baburi glorifies his lecherously Islamic deeds in the Babur-Nama.
21. Name of the Book: Babur-Nama
Name of the Author: Zahiru'd-Din Muhammed Babur
About the Author: The author of this book was the founder of Mughal dynasty in India who proclaimed himself a Padshah (Ruler) after his victory in the First Battle of Panipat (AD 1526), and a Ghazi (killer of kafirs) after the defeat of Rana Sanga in the Battle of Khanwa (AD 1528) While presenting himself as an indefatigable warrior and drug-addict he does not hide the cruelties he committed on the defeated people, particularly his fondness for building towers of the heads of those he captured as prisoners of war or killed in battle. He is very liberal in citing appropriate verses from the Quran on the eve of the battle with Rana Sanga. In order to ensure his victory, he makes a covenant with Allah by breaking the vessels containing wine as also the cups for drinking it, swearing at the same time that "he would break the idols of the idol-worshippers in a similar manner". In the Fath-Nama (prayer for victory) composed for him by Shykh Zain, Allah is described as "destroyers of idols from their foundations" The language he uses for his Hindu adversaries is typically Islamic.
a. Zahirud-Din Muhammed Babur Padshah Ghazi (AD 1526-1530)
Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh)
"In AH 934 (AD 1528), I attacked Chanderi and, by the grace of Allah, captured it in a few hours. We got the infidels slaughtered and the place which had been a daru'l-harb for years, was made into daru'l-Islam. "
Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)
"Next day, at the time of the noon prayer, we went out for seeing those places in Gwalior which we had not seen yet. Going out of the Hathipole Gate of the fort, we arrived at a place called Urwa. Urwa is not a bad place It is an enclosed space. Its biggest blemish is its statues. I ordered that they should be destroyed... "
a. Name of the structure: Quwwat al-Islam Masjid
Location: Delhi in Uttar Pradesh
"This fort was conquered and the Jami Masjid built in the year 587 by the Amir(*), the great, the glorious commander of the Army, Qutub-ud-daula wad-din, the Amir-ul-umara Aibeg, the slave of the Sultan, may Allah strengthen his helpers. The materials of 27 idol temples, on each of which 2,000,000 Delhiwals(** ) had been spent were used in the construction of the mosque."
*The Amir mentioned above was Qutubud-Din Aibak, slave of Muhammed Ghori.
**"Delhiwal" was a high denomination coin current at that time in Delhi.
b. Name of the structure: Mansuri Masjid
Location: Vijapur in Gujrat
"The Blessed and Exalted Allah says, 'And verily, mosques are for Allah only; hence invoke not anyone else with Allah.' This edifice was originally built by the infidels. After the advent of Islam, it was converted into a mosque. Sermon was delivered here for sixty-seven years. Due to the sedition of the infidels, it was again destroyed. When during the reign of the Sultan of the time, Ahmad, the affairs of each Iqta attained magnificence, Bahadur, the Sarkhail, once again carried out repairs. Through the generosity of Divine munificence, it became like new."
c. Name of the structure: Masjid at Manvi
Location: Manvi in Karnataka
"Praise be to Allah that by the decree of the Parvardigar, a mosque has been converted out of a temple as a sign of religion in the reign of the world-conquering emperor, the Sultan who is the asylum of the Faith and the possessor of the crown, who's kingdom is young, viz. Firuz Shah Bahmani, who is the cause of Exuberant spring in the garden of religion, Adu'l-Fath the king who conquered. After the victory of the emperor, the chief of chiefs, Safdar (the valiant commander) of the age, received the fort. The builder of this noble place of prayer is Muhammad Zahir Aqchi, the pivot of the Faith. He constructed in the year 809 from the Migration of the Chosen (prophet Muhammdad) this Ka'ba like momento."
d. Name of the structure: Mausoleum of Shykh 'Abdullah Shah Changal
Location: Dhar in Madhya Pradesh
"The centre became Muhammadan first by him(*) (and) all the banners of religion were spread... This lion-man came from the centre of religion to this old temple with a large force. He broke the images of the false deities, and turned the idol temple into a mosque. When Rai Bhoj saw this, through wisdom he embraced Islam with the family of his brave warriors(**). This quarter became illuminated by the light of the Muhammadan law, and the customs of the infidels became obsolete and abolished."
*Shykh 'Abdullah Shah Changal
**In this case the Hindu King was Bhoj II and during his reign Jalalu'd-Din Khalji (AD 1290-1296) of Delhi invaded Malwa. Changal was the Muslim missionary who accompanied Khalji's army. This army after plundering and looting the kingdom of Bhoj II converted a Hindu temple into a mosque and forced the ruler and his subjects to accept Islam.
e. Name of the structure: Jami' Masjid
Location: Malan in Gujrat
"...(The Prophet), on him be peace, says 'He who builds a mosque in the world, the Exalted Allah builds for him a palace in Paradise.' In the auspicious time of the government and peaceful time of Mahmud Shah, son of Muhammad Shah, the sultan, the Jami', mosque was constructed on the hill of the fort of Malun (or Malwan) by Khan-i-Azam Ulugh Khan...at the request of the thandar Kabir, (son of Diya), the building was constructed by the son of Ulugh Khan who is magnanimous, just, generous, brave and who suppressed the wretched infidels. He eradicated the idol-houses and mine of infidelity, along with the idols... with the edge of his sword, and made ready this edifice... He made its walls and doors out of the idols; the back of every stone became the place for prostration of the believer..."
f. Name of the structure: Jami' Masjid
Location: Amod in Gujrat
"Allah and His grace. When divine favour was bestowed on Khalil Shah, he constructed the Jami' Masjid for the decoration of Islam; he ruined the idol-house and temple of the polytheists, (and) completed the Masjid and pulpit in its place. Without doubt, his building was accepted by Allah."
g.. Name of the structure: Shrine of Shah Madar
Location: Narwar in Mdhya pradesh
"Dilawar Khan, the chief among the king's viceroys, caused this mosque to built which is like a place of shelter for the favourites. Infidelity has been subdued, and Islam has triumphed because of him. The idols have bowed to him and the temples have been razed to the ground along with their foundations, and mosques and worship houses are flowing with riches."
h. Name of structure: Hamman Darwaza Masjid
Location: Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh
"Thanks by the guidance of Everlasting and the Living Allah, this house of infidelity became the niche of prayer. As a reward for that, the Generous Lord constructed an abode for the builder in paradise..."
i. Name of structure: Jami Masjid
Location: Ghoda in Maharashtra
"O Allah O Muhammed ! O Ali ! When Mir Muhammed Zaman made up his mind, he opened the door of prosperity on himself by his own hand. He demolished thirty-three idol temples and by divine grace laid the foundation of a building in the abode of perdition."
j. Name of structure: Gachinala Masjid
Location: Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh
"He is Allah, may be glorified. During the august rule of...Muhammed Shah, there was a well established idol-house in Kuhmum...Muhammed Salih...razed to the ground, the edifice of the idol-house and broke the idols in a manly fashion. He constructed on its site a suitable mosque, towering above the building of all."