Who Are They: A Brief History Of Indian Muslims

Book Cover:Indian Muslims Who Are They

Noted historian  Dr. KS Lal  explains  conclusively that how it was forced conversion and not the Hindu caste system that led to the rapid growth of Muslim population India. Here are excerpts from his book ‘Indian Muslims: Who are they?” He points out that the countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa had no caste system and yet they succumbed completely to the onslaught of Islam.  Here are excerpts from his book ‘Indian Muslims: Who are they?’:-

” ..The sword of Islam was blunted in India.  Islam had spread in Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, North Africa and even parts of Europe with a bang.  Within a hundred years of the death of the Prophet this spectacular success had been achieved through the instrument of Jihad.  It appeared as if there was no stopping the Islamic avalanche on the Globe, both to the east and the west of the land of its birth – Arabia.  But contrary to all hopes and expectations, Islam received a check in a most unexpected quarter – Hindustan, a country believed to be divided by caste, tom by dissensions and indifferent to conventionality in religious faith.  Persistent efforts were made to Islamize India but to no avail.

At various points of time it was fervently hoped by Muslims that all the Hindus would be converted to Islam.  The Arab invasion of Sind saw lot of proselytization, but such conversions proved to be temporary.  The tide of Islam, having overflowed Sind and the lower Punjab, ebbed, leaving (only) some jetsam on the strand.  Three hundred years later Mahmud of Ghazni exertions raised fresh hopes.  He promised the Khalifa that he would convert the country through his yearly expeditions.  He did his worst.  In the words of Alberuni, Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people.  But no, the Hindus did not become a tale of old.  They remained entrenched in their country, so that when Timur invaded India at the end of the fourteenth century, the inhabitants of India were found by him to be chiefly polytheists and infidels.  My principal object in the invasion of Hindustan, said he is to lead an expedition against the infidels that, according to the law of Muhammad (upon whom and his family be the blessings and peace of God), we may convert to the true faith the people of that country, and purify the land itself from the filth of infidelity and polytheism; and that we may overthrow their temples and idols and become ghaziz and mujahids before God.  He did his worst, and again the Hindus regained their position in the course of time.  After one and a quarter century of this, when Babur invaded Hindustan, he found that most of the inhabitants of Hindustan are pagans.  They call a pagan a Hindu All artisans, wage-earners and officials are Hindu. As late as the end of the seventeenth century, Francois Bernier also found Hindustan tea country containing hundreds of Gentiles to one Mogol, or even to one Mahometan.  Even when Aurangzeb from within and Nadir Shah and Abdali from without, determined to strike a final blow for Islamization of Indian population, they could not decimate the Hindus.  In such a desperate situation Indian Muslims could only wistfully remember the days of Subuktigin and Mahmud of Ghazni.  Muhammad Aslam in his Farhat-un-Nazirin says that during the Third Battle of Panipat (1761), about ninety thousand persons, male and female, were taken prisoners, and obtained the eternal happiness by embracing the Muhammadan faith.  Indeed, never was such splendid victory achieved from the time of Amir Mahmud Subuktigin.As discussed earlier, the assertion is not correct, but as a Muslim Muhammad Aslam did so will, so desire.

So, all through the medieval period, Foreign and Indian Muslims strove hard to make India a Muslim country by converting and eliminating the Hindus.  They killed and converted, and converted and killed by turns.  In the earlier centuries of their presence here, the picture was sombre indeed.  Turkish rule was established in northern India at the beginning of the thirteenth century.  Within fifteen years of Muhammad Ghori occupation of Delhi, the Turks rapidly conquered most of the major cities of northern India.  Their lightening success, as described by contemporary chroniclers, entailed great loss of life.  Qutbuddin Aibak’s conquests during the life-time of his master and later on in the capacity of king (c.1200-1210) included Gwalior, parts of Bundelkhand, Ajmer, Ranthambhor, Anhilwara, as well a parts of U.P. and Malwa.  In Nahrwala alone 50,000 persons were killed during Aibak’s campaign.  No wonder, he earned the nickname of killer of lacs.   Bakhtiyar Khalji marched through Bihar into Bengal and massacred people in both the regions.  During his expedition to Gwalior Iltutmish (1210-36) massacred 700 persons besides those killed in the battle on both sides.  His attacks on Malwa (Vidisha and Ujjain) were met with stiff resistance and were accompanied by great loss of life.  He is also credited with killing 12,000 Khokhars (Gakkhars) during Aibak’ss reign. The successors of Iltutmish (Raziyah, Bahram, etc.) too fought and killed zealously.  During the reigns of Nasiruddin and Balban (1246-86) warfare for consolidation and expansion of Turkish dominions went on apace.  Trailokyavarman, who ruled over Southern U.P., Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand, and is called Dalaki va Malaki by Persian chroniclers, was defeated after great slaughter (1248).  In 1251, Gwalior, Chanderi, Narwar and Malwa were attacked.  The Raja of Malwa alone had 5,000 cavalry and 200,000 infantry and would have been defeated only after great loss of life.  The inhabitants of Kaithal were given such severe punishment (1254) that they might not forget (the lesson) for the rest of their lives. In 1256 Ulugh Khan Balban carried on devastating warfare in Sirmur, and so many of the rebellious Hindus were killed that numbers cannot be computed or described. Ranthambhor was attacked in 1259 and many of its valiant fighting men were sent to hell. In the punitive expedition to Mewat (1260) numberless Hindus perished under the merciless swords of the soldiers of Islam. In the same year 12,000 men, women and children were put to the sword in Haryana.”

(The hard copy of the book is available at https://www.hindueshop.com/product/indian-muslims-who-are-they/  and the soft copy of the  full book can be downloaded at http://www.bharatvani.org/books/imwat/epi.htm   )




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