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The Religious consequences of Defeat

The conquest of India by the Muslims and the establishment of an Islamic state apparatus as an instrument of its propagation is an experience that Hinduism has difficulty in handling even to this day. Moreover, during this long period of Muslim Rule (ca. 1000-1858), the Hindus squandered many chances of regaining control over their political destiny, so that the Hindus had to face the religious consequences of not just defeat but also demoralization. There are some parallels with the Jewish experience. There was the destruction not of the Temple but of temples, and a kind of Hindu diaspora. Thus Alberuni wrote: “Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places when our hands cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, Benares, and other places.”   

Sculptures of Hindu Divinities: Shiva and Parvati at Ellora.

(image source: History of India - By A V Williams Jackson). 

Refer to chapter on Survarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor


But there was one marked contrast between Hindu and Jewish experiences. While the Jews were scattered from their homeland, the Hindus were subdued in their own homeland. The dominant mood in the north was one of demoralization with the replacement of the Hindu rule by the Muslim. Hindu learning centered on Sanskrit received a setback, and the vacuum was filled at the political level by Persian but at the popular level by the rise of numerous regional languages.  

South India emerged as the citadel of Hinduism after the north had been overrun by the Muslims. In the south, the Vijayanagar Empire (14th –17th centuries), although it also finally succumbed to Muslim pressure, held it at bay for a sufficiently long period of time to prevent such fissures in the body politic arising in the south as led to the formation of Pakistan and Bangladesh in the north.  

By the beginning of the 19th century, the British had established themselves in India with sufficient firmness to permit missionary activity within their realm. The victory of the British, and by proxy of Christianity, produced its own chain of consequences. The fact that the British had defeated both the Hindus and Muslims and now ruled over both could have created an interesting consequence – uniting the two communities in a common cause against the British/Christian enemy. The mutiny against the British in 1857-1858 and the Gandhian movement in its early phase raised such hopes, but they were never realized, for the country was partitioned represented the religious consequence of two defeats – at the hands of the Muslims as well as the Christians.  

On the whole it can be said that Hinduism fared better in its encounter with Christianity than in its clash with Islam. Islamic rule over the Hindus was longer (approximately 700 hundred years) and more successful in the sense that a quarter of the Hindu population was converted to Islam. 

One major religious consequence of the Christian presence in India as a result of military defeat of the Hindus was the projection of the Bhagavad Gita as the central scripture of modern Hinduism within a century. One would have expected such a development within Hinduism when it faced the people with the book – the Muslims – but it was curiously delayed until the encounter with another people of the book – the Christians.  

One religious consequence of freedom - was the partition of the country into India and Pakistan on religious grounds. While Pakistan was conceptually created as a homeland for Indian Muslims, India was not visualized as the homeland of the Hindus. Thus a "theocratic" Pakistan and a secular India. This development was further facilitated by the pluralistic nature of Hinduism.

(source: Our Religions - edited Arvind Sharma p. 50-52).  Refer to Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders (636 AD to 1206 AD) - By Sita Ram Goel. Voice of India, New Delhi.

Mopla Rebellion

B. R. Ambedkar wrote, in his book, Thoughts on Pakistan

“Beginning with the year 1920 there occurred ... in Malabar what is known as the Mopla Rebellion. It was a result of the agitation carried out by two Muslim organisations, Khuddam-i-Kaba and the Central Khilafat Committee.

The agitations actually preached the doctrine that India under the British government was Dar-ul-Harab and that the Muslims must fight against it and if they could not, they must carry out the alternative principle of Hijrat.”

The rebellion against the British found ready victims in Hindus.

In Ambedkar’s words: “The Hindus were visited by a dire fate at the hands of the Moplas. Massacres, forcible conversions, desecration of temples, foul outrages upon women, such as ripping open pregnant women, pillage, arson and destruction — in short, all the accompaniments of brutal and unrestrained barbarism, were perpetrated freely by the Moplas upon the Hindus… The number of Hindus who were killed, wounded or converted is not known. But the number must have been enormous.” 

(source: Writings and Speeches - By B R Ambedkar Volume  8 p. 163). Refer to Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders (636 AD to 1206 AD) - By Sita Ram Goel. Voice of India, New Delhi.

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When elites eschew defense: The case of India - By Ed Katz

How the loss of Kshatriya virtues, and in the last century, the rise of Gandhian cowardice, have hurt Hindus.

The blood from the innocent victims was barely dry when journalists published articles, not about the vicious killers, but about the dangers of a "rightward tilt" in India .

Refer to the Islamic terrorist attack - November 2008 in Mumbai in chapter under Glimpses XXI.


The "progressive" Western press disparages Hindu warriors as dangerous right wingers, thus betraying their bottomless naiveté concerning India 's aggressive Muslim neighbors, past and present.

Bharat Mata, or "Mother India," the birthplace of the glorious Upanishads as well as Prince Siddhartha, has been sucker punched by 21st century monsters.  The blood from the innocent victims was barely dry when journalists published articles, not about the vicious killers, but about the dangers of a "rightward tilt" in India .  The rise of Hindu nationalism however began as a response to a perceived lack of "manliness" in the Hindu warrior the result of which was an open door to centuries of foreign persecution and terror in India .

When explaining the "root" causes of the massacre in Mumbai we will hear plenty in the coming weeks about disaffected Muslims living in India , or about the menacing American war on terror, or about the situation in Kashmir

What the literati in the media will probably miss however is a profound and paradoxical thread stitched into the very fabric of Hindu culture:  what does it means to be a "man?"  

In other words, is the true "male" the Kshatriya caste warrior or the Brahmin caste renunciant?  Was it the Hindu patriot and warrior-hero Shivaji Bhosle, the 17th century equivalent to Scotland 's William Wallace, who organized the first successful guerilla campaign against Muslim rule in India ?  Or is the "real man" the gentle, transnational and priestly archetype embodied in figures such as Mohandas Gandhi, who renounces violence in the name of universal love?

Simply put, Hinduism's masculinity crisis is deeply embedded in its social structure, in its ancient texts, and in the language of modern Hindu nationalists such as Swami Vivekenanda and Lala Lajpat Rai.  Both men would have identified the complexities of caste as the "root cause" of over 800 years of Muslim and then British rule in India .  That is, when searching for the reasons why Hindus have been traditionally defenseless in the face of foreign invaders Hindu nationalists tend to see their own culture and traditions as the culprit.  Beginning with British rule in the early 18th century, Hindu nationalists began some serious soul searching concerning their inability to protect Mother India from subjugation.  

Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928) freedom fighter spoke for many Hindus when he speculated back in 1907:

"A question that has often haunted us, asleep or awake, as to why is it that notwithstanding the presence among us of great, vigorous, and elevating truths, and of the very highest conception of morality, we Hindus have been a subject race, held down for so many centuries by sets of people who were neither physically nor spiritually nor even intellectually so superior to us as to demand our subjugation."

Trying to explain why a handful of foreigners coming from six thousand miles away in England could become India 's masters became the focus of an intense amount of scholarly activity among Hindu intellectuals.  Profound thinkers like Aurobindo Ghose, India's greatest 20th century philosopher, argued that the "ascetic ideal" etched into Hindu identity became oppressively "top heavy" in India and smothered the more warlike themes in Hindu tradition and culture.  

(source: When elites eschew defense: The case of India - By Ed Katz -  

Koenraad Elst, Belgian scholar has rightly pointed out:

"The real harm done to Hinduism and Hindu society (by the Islamic onslaught) is not the loss of stone structure, which are but the outermost layer of the real harm done to Hindu society. There has been a loss of vast territories - they may be claimed back, but that would hardly be any less superficial. Far more fundamental is the moral damage that has been done: the loss of self confidence, the unprecedented and harsh enmity within Hindu society (internal enmity and bitterness typically occurs in powerless groups), the boot-licking attitude among the Hindu intelligentsia, the negative self-image. The moral damage again is partly due to a loss of knowledge and memory: the Hindu educational system has been destroyed, and the Hindus are helpless in the face of concerted efforts to disinform them and destroy their soul."

(source: Ayodhya and After - By Koenraad Elst  Voice of India  SKU: INBK2650  p. 21).


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The Invasion of India by the Muslim Hoards
By Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar 

Historically, Pakistan was part of India when Chandragupta was the ruler; it continued to be part of India when Hsuan Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, visited India in the 7th century A.D. In his diary, Hsuan Tsang has recorded that India was divided into five divisions.

(* The writers of the Puranas divided India into nine divisions). It is also true that when Hsuan Tsang came, not only the Punjab but what is now Afghanistan was part of India and further, the people of the Punjab and Afghanistan were either Vedic or Buddhist by religion. But what happened since Hsuan Tsang left India?  

The first Muslim invasion of India came from the north-west by the Arabs who were led by Mahommad Bin Qasim. It took place in 711 A.D. and resulted in the conquest of Sind. This first Muslim invasion did not result in a permanent occupation of the country because the Caliphate of Baghdad, by whose order and command the invasion had taken place, was obliged by the middle of 9th century A.D. to withdraw its direct control from this distant province of Sind. 

 Soon after this withdrawal, there began a series of terrible invasions by Muhammad of Ghazni in 1001 A.D. Muhammad died in 1030 A.D., but within the short span of 30 years, he invaded India 17 times. He was followed by Mahommed Ghori, who began his career as an invader in 1173. He was killed in 1206. For thirty years Muhammad of Ghazni ravaged India and for thirty years Mahommad Ghori harried the same country in the same way.  

Then followed the incursions of the Moghul hordes of Chenghiz Khan. They first came in 1221. They then stayed on the border of India but did not enter it. Twenty years later, they marched on Lahore and sacked it. Of their inroads, the most terrible was under Timur in 1398. Then comes on the scene a new invader in the person of Babar who invaded India in 1526. The invasion of India did not stop with that of Babar. There occurred two more invasions. In 1738 Nadir Shah’s invading host swept over the Punjab like a flooded river “furious as the ocean”. He was followed by Ahmad Shah Abdali who invaded India in 1761, smashed the forces of the Maharthas at Panipat and crushed for ever the attempt of the Hindus to gain the ground which they had lost to their Muslim invaders. 

These Muslim invasions were not undertaken merely out of lust for loot or conquest, but also to strike a blow at the idolatry and polytheism of Hindus and establishing Islam in India. In one of his dispatches to Hajjaj, Mahommad bin Qasim is quoted to have said: 

“ The nephew of Raja Dahir, his warriors and principal officers have been dispatched, and the infidels converted to Islam or destroyed. Instead of idol-temples, mosques and other places of worship have been created, the Kutbah is read, the call to prayers is raised, so that devotions are performed at stated hours.” 

Muhammad of Ghazni also looked upon his numerous invasions of India as the waging of a holy war. Al’Utbi, the historian of Muhammad, describing his raids writes: 

“He demolished idol temples and established Islam. He captured ……cities, destroyed the idolaters, and gratifying Muslims. He then returned home and promulgated accounts of the victories obtained for Islam……..and vowed that every year he would undertake a holy war against Hind.”  

Mahummad Ghori was actuated by the same holy zeal in his invasions of India. Hasan Nizami, his historian, describes his work in the following terms: 

“He purged by his sword the land of Hind from the filth of infidelity and vice, and freed the whole of that country from the thorn of God-plurality and the impurity of idol-worship, and by his royal vigor and intrepidity left not one temple standing.”

Taimur has his Memoir explained what led him to invade India. He says: 

“My object in the invasions of Hindustan is to lead a campaign against the infidels, to convert them to the true faith according to the command of Muhammad (on whom and his family be the blessing and peace of God) to purify the land from the defilement of misbelief and polytheism, and overthrow the temples and idols, whereby we shall be Ghazis and Mujahdis, companions and soldiers of the faith before God.” 

These Muslim invaders were Tartars, Afghans, and Mongols.  Mahommad bin Qasim’s first act of religious zeal was forcibly to circumcise the Brahmins of the captured city of Debul; but on discovering that they objected to conversion, he proceeded to put all above the age of 17 to death, and to order all others, with women and children, to be led into slavery. The temple of the Hindus was looted, and the rich booty was divided equally among the soldiers, after one-fifth, the legal portion for the government, had been set aside.  

Muhammad of Ghazni from the first adopted those plans that would stike terror into the hearts of the Hindus. After the defeat of Raja Jaipal in A.D. 1001, Muhammad ordered that Jaipal “be paraded about in the streets so that his sons and chieftains might see him in that condition of shame, bonds and disgrace; and that fear of Islam might fly abroad through the country of the infidel.” 

“The slaughtering of ‘infidels’ seemed to be one thing that gave Muhammad particularly pleasure. In one attack on Chand Rai, in A.D. 1019, many infidels were slain or taken prisoners, and the Muslims paid no regard to booty until they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshippers of the sun and fire. The historian naively adds that the elephants of the Hindu armies came to Muhammad of their own accord, leaving idols, preferring the service of the religion of Islam.” 

The slaughter of the Hindus, gave a great setback to the indigenous culture of the Hindus, as in the conquest of Bihar by Muhammad Bakhtyar Khilji. When he took Nuddea (Bihar) the Tabaquat-I-Nasiri informs us that: 

“ great plunder fell into the hands of the victors. Most of the inhabitants were Brahmins with shaven heads. They were put to death. Large number of books were found…..but none could explain their contents as all the men had been killed, the whole fort and city being a place of study.” 

Summing up the evidence on the point, Dr. Titus, author of Indian Islam p. 22, says: 

“ Of the destruction of temples and the desecration of idols we have an abundance of evidence. Mahommad bin Qasim carried out his plan of destruction systematically in Sind, but he made an exception of the famous temple of Multan for purposes of revenue, as this temple was a place of resort for pilgrims, who made large gifts to the idol. Nevertheless, while he thus satisfied his avarice by letting the temple stand, he gave vent to his malignity by having a piece of cow’s flesh tied around the neck of the idol.” 

“ Minhaj-as-Siraj further tells us how Mahommad became widely known for having destroyed as many as thousand temples, and of his great feat in destroying the temple of Somnath and carrying off its idol, which he asserts was broken into four parts. One part he deposited in the Jami Masjid of Ghazni, one he placed at the entrance of the royal palace, the third he sent to Mecca, and the fourth to Medina.” 

Lane Poole, author of Medieval India p. 26, has said that Mahommad of Ghazni:

“who had vowed that every year should see him wage a holy war against the infidels of Hindustan” could not rest from his idol-breaking campaign so long as the temple of Somnath remained inviolate. It was for this specific purpose that he, at the very close of his career, undertook his arduous march across the desert from Multan to Anhalwara on the coast, fighting as he went, until he saw at last the famous temple: 

“There were a hundred thousand pilgrims were wont to assemble, a thousand Brahmins served the temple and guarded its treasures. Within stood the famous Shiva linga, adorned with gems and lighted by jeweled candelebra which were reflected in rich hanings, embroidered with precious stones like stars, that decked the shrine….The foreigners nothing daunted, scaled the walls, fifty thousand Hindus suffered for their faith and the sacred shrine was sacked to the joy of the true believers. The great stone was down and its fragments were carried off to grace the conquerors’ palace. The temple gates were set up at Ghazni and a million pounds worth of treasure rewarded the iconoclast.” 

Dr. Titus writes, that Quatb-ud-Din Aybak, also destroyed a thousand temples, and then raised mosques on their foundations. He also built the Jami Masjid, Delhi, and adorned it with stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants and covered it with inscriptions (from the Koran) containing the divine commands. In his conquest of South India the destruction of temples was carried out by Ala-ud-Din as it had been in the north by his predecessors.  

“The Sultan Firoz Shah, in his Futuhat, graphically describes how he treated Hindus who had dared to built new temples. I killed these leaders of infidelity and punished others with stripes, until this was entirely abolished and where infidels and idolaters worshipped idols. “ 

Even in the reign of Shah Jahan, we read of the destruction of the temples that the Hindus had started to rebuild, and the account of this direct attack of the piety of the Hindus is thus solemnly recorded in the Badshah-namah” 

“ It has been brought to the notice of His Majesty, says the historian, that during the late reign (of Akbar) many idol-temples had been begun but remained unfinished at Benares, the great stronghold of infidelity. The infidels were now desirous of completing them. His Majesty, the defender of the faith, gave orders that at Benares and throughout all his dominions in every place all temples that had been begun should be cast down. It was reported that the Province of Allahbad that 76 temples had been destroyed in the district of Benares.” 

It was left to Aurangzeb to make a final attempt to overthrow idolatry. The author of “Ma”athir i-Alamgiri dilates upon his efforts to put down Hindu teaching, and his destruction of temples in the following terms: 

“ In April, A.D. 1669, Aurangzeb learned that in the provinces of Thatta, Multan and Benares, but especially in the latter, foolish Brahmins were in the habit of expounding frivolous books in their schools, and that learners, Muslims as well as Hindus, went there for long distances…..The ‘Director of the Faith’ consequently issued orders to all the governors of provinces to destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels; and they were enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practicing of idolatrous worship….Later it was reported to his religious Majesty that the Government officers had destroyed the temple of Vishvanath at Benares.”

Dr. Titus observes: 

“Such invaders as Muhammad and Timur seem to have more concerned with iconoclasm, the collection of booty, the enslaving of captives, and the sending of infidels to hell with the ‘proselytizing sword’ than they were with the conversion of them even by force. But when invaders/rulers were permanently established the wining of converts became a matter of supreme urgency. It was a part of the state policy to establish Islam as the religion of the whole land.” 

“Qutb-ud-Din, whose reputation for destroying temples was almost as great as that of Muhammad, in the latter part of the twelfth century and early years of the thirteenth, must have frequently resorted to force as an incentive to conversion.   One instance may be noted : when he approached Kiol (Aligarh) in A.D. 1194, ‘those of the garrison who were wise and acute were converted to Islam, but the others were slain with the sword.” 

“ One pathetic case is mentioned in the time of the reign of Firoz Shaha (A.D. 1351-1388). An old Brahmin of Delhi was burnt to death for refusing to give up his faith.” 

Muhammad not  only destroyed temples but also made it a policy to make slaves of the Hindus he conquered.  

“Not only was slaughter of the infidels and the destruction of their temples resorted to in earlier period of Islam’s contact with India, but as we have seen, many of the vanquished were led into slavery. The dividing up of booty was one of the special attractions, to the leaders as well as to the common soldiers in these expeditions. Muhammad seems to have made the slaughter of infidels, the destruction of the temples, the capturing of slaves, and the plundering of the wealth of the people, particularly the temples and the priests, the main object of his raids. On the occasion of his first raid he is said to have taken much booty, and half a million Hindus, ‘beautiful men and women’ were reduced to slavery and taken back to Ghazni.”  

When Muhammad later took Kanauj, in A.D. 1017, he took so much booty and so many prisoners that ‘ the fingers of those who counted them would have tired.’ Describing how common Indian slaves had become in Ghazni and Central Asia after the campaing of A.D. 1019, the historian of the times says: 

“The number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for from two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazni,and merchants came from far distant cities to purchase them; …and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor were commingled in one common slavery. 

“In the year A.D 1202, when Qutb-ud-Din captured Kalinjar, after the temples had been converted into mosques, and the very name of idolatry was annihilated, fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.” 

Slavery was the fate of those Hindus who were captured in the holy war.  

(source: Pakistan or The Partition of India – By B. R. Ambedkar AMS Press ISBN 0404548016 p. 53-66)   Refer to Ignore this genocide, we're secular - By Rajeev Srinivasan - Refer to Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders (636 AD to 1206 AD) - By Sita Ram Goel. Voice of India, New Delhi.

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Did You Know?

Takshasila:  World's first University 

The World's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. Taxila, stood on the banks of the river Vitasa in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. The campus accommodated 10,500 students and offered over sixty different courses in various fields, such as science, mathematics, medicine, politics, warfare, astrology, astronomy, music, religion, and philosophy. The minimum age for admission was 16 years and students from as far as Babylonia, Greece, Syria, Arabia, and China came to study at the university.

Panini, the great Sanskrit grammarian, Charaka, the author of famous treatise on medicine, and Chanakya, writer of Artha Shastra -- these august names are associated with Taxila. Promising minds from far flung regions converged there to study the Vedas and all branches of secular knowledge.

Takshasila or Taxila, as the Greeks called it over 2,000 years ago, was at one of the entrances to the splendor that was India. Its antiquity is rooted both in epic texts like the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the other Puranas.....Taxila was destroyed by White Huns in 499 A.D

University of Nalanda

The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BCE was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime. The Chinese scholar and traveler Hiuen Tsang stayed here in the 7th century, and has left an elaborate description of the excellence, and purity of monastic life practized here. About 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world, lived and studied in this international university. In this first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied here. The Gupta kings patronized these monasteries, built in old Kushan architectural style, in a row of cells around a courtyard. Ashoka and Harshavardhana were some of its most celebrated patrons who built temples and monasteries here. Recent excavations have unearthed elaborate structures here. Hiuen Tsang had left ecstatic accounts of both the ambiance and architecture of this unique university of ancient times.

The Nalanda university counted on its staff such great thinkers as Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Vasubhandu, Asanga, Sthiramati, Dharmapala, Silaphadra, Santideva and Padmasambhava. The ancient universities were the sanctuaries of the inner life of the nation.  

Nalanda, Vikramshila, Odantapura, and Jagddala as the universities destroyed by Mohammed Bakhtiar Khilji around 1200 A.D.

These universities were sacked, plundered, looted by the Islamic onslaught. 

The Moghuls neglected practical and secular learning, especially the sciences. Throughout their long rule, no institutions was established comparable to modern university, although early India had world-famous centers of learning such as Taxila, Nalanda and Kanchi. Neither the nobles nor the mullas were stirred into learning...

(For more information, refer to chapter on Education in Ancient India).

Akbar was illiterate. So were most of the Muslim rulers. They did not build one good college in eight centuries, complains Nehru. Naturally, the Muslim invaders saw no good in the two great universities of India—Taxila and Nalanda. They destroyed them. Peter Mansfield, historian of the Middle East, writes: “The great movements of ideas in western Europe from the Reformation through the Renaissance and counter-Reformation left the Ottoman world almost untouched.” The French and Russian revolutions were not different. They made little impact on the thinking of the Muslim world.

(source: Knowledge is suspected in IslamBy M. S. N. Menon). 
Refer to Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders (636 AD to 1206 AD) - By Sita Ram Goel. Voice of India, New Delhi.

Refer to Muslim contribution to civilisation - By Dr Farrukh Saleem - Twenty-two per cent of humanity is Muslim, at least 1.4 billion followers of Islam. Omar al-Khayyam has been dead for 833 years, and since then Muslims have contributed next to nothing to physics, chemistry, medicine, literature or economics.


Law of Gravity 

In the Surya Siddhanta, dated 400-500 A.D. the ancient Hindu astronomer Bhaskaracharya states, 

Objects fall on the earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellation, moon, and sun are held in orbit due to this force." Approximately 1200 years later Isaac Newton rediscovered this phenomenon and called it the Law of Gravity!

(For more information please refer to chapter on Hindu Culture). Refer to chapter on Survarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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