Archive for the ‘islam’ Category

History as we know it — Dr Manzur Ejaz

April 9, 2009

Source: WATAN DOST
WASHINGTON DIARY: History as we know it — Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, July 9, 2008

An overhaul of the entire curriculum is a prerequisite for any positive change in the Pakistani psyche. Unfortunately, it is reluctantly being done under US pressure, which is leading to misperceptions of its own

“Was Aurangzeb a brutal emperor?” a fairly educated journalist asked me, after watching the play The Trial of Dara Shikoh. The question was revealing because it shows that the teaching of history leaves with our students concocted fiction rather than fact-based records of the present and past.

The play The Trial of Dara Shikoh written by Akbar S Ahmad and directed by Manjula Kumar had been staged in many locations in the last few weeks. As expected, most of the caste comprised Indian artists except the usual suspects, Noor Naghmi and his son Sultan Naghmi.

Despite much professional criticism of many aspects of the play, the general audience appreciated it very much. The play was also successful in spurring pertinent questions in the minds of the viewers like my journalist friend.

Aurangzeb imprisoned his father, murdered three of his brothers and most of their children. He dumped most of the Indian Shias in Kashmir and, once while he was riding his elephant, crushed a Hindu mob because they were protesting against high taxes. Given these facts, it was up to my friend, I told him, to decide whether Aurangzeb was brutal or not.

“How about the stated history that Aurangzeb used to make his living by producing Qur’anic calligraphy and sewing topis (hats)?” he asked. I remember such a characterisation of Aurangzeb in school textbooks. And if I had not kept educating myself beyond school textbooks that would be the Aurangzeb I would have in my mind.

Elaborating my point I told my friend that Aurangzeb spent most of his time fighting and administering wars and that his favourite wife — mother of his youngest son, Kam Bakhash — was a Hindu woman. Aurangzeb used to vacation in Kashmir often, along with a large harem, according to some historical accounts.

I do not know when he found time to produce calligraphy or sew topis on a scale that could meet the expenses of his palace which was housing hundreds of Mughal princes and princesses besides a large army of concubines and servants/slaves.

Intellectual Talibinisation was initiated from very early on after the creation of Pakistan. A mythical history of Muslims was introduced in textbooks where every ruler, invader and plunderer, was shown in the role of protector and religious crusader.

Starting from Mahmud Ghaznavi, the conqueror of the Somnath Temple, to Nadir and Ahmad Shah Abdali, every invader was presented as the great saviour of Indian Muslims. Three generations of Pakistanis have been indoctrinated with this concocted history to create Islamic chauvinism and to belittle people of other religions.

No wonder most Pakistanis developed a sense of superiority resulting in unnecessary war-mongering. The military elite has been clinging to this false sense of superiority in making wars.

According to Air Marshal Noor Khan, Ayub Khan sent paratroopers in Kashmir because he really believed that one Muslim soldier can overwhelm dozens of infidels. Not learning any lesson from three lost wars, the elite continued naming the missiles after Mahmud Ghaznavi, Muhammad Ghauri, Nadir Shah and sundry.

The fact of the matter is that most of the revered Muslim invaders plundered India to loot. Ghaznavi attacked Somnath because it had the largest gold deposits in India. Hindu Rajas themselves used to attack their religious temples for gold. Hindu mercenaries were part of Ghaznavi’s invading force according to some historians. They joined hand with the Afghan invaders for their share in the booty.

Likewise when Nadir Shah is idealised as a great soldier of Islam no one mentions that he ordered a three-day massacre in Delhi because the locals killed one of his soldiers. The butchering was indiscriminate and ironically, more than half of those murdered were Muslims.

Ahmad Shah Abdali’s story is no different. He invaded India many times, looted the riches and went back to Afghanistan. On one of his trip, he appointed a Hindu as the governor of Lahore. He had no ‘Islamic ideals’ like our fictional history textbooks would have us believe.

Even Mughal emperor Baber did not conquer Hindus but a Muslim dynasty of India to lay the foundations of the Mughal Empire. Guru Nanak, in his Baber Bani, has described how Baber butchered indiscriminately and demolished mosques along with temples of other religions.

But history textbooks used in Pakistan’s educational system never mention these historical facts. They are instead tools for creating fake chauvinism and a false sense of superiority. Therefore, it is not surprising that within 30 years of Pakistan’s creation, religious parties like Jamaat-e Islami had a monopoly over defining the ideology of Pakistan. And this ‘Murder of History’, as KK Aziz would call it, has contributed towards religious fundamentalism and extremism.

On the contrary, the real Muslim intellectuals, the Sufis, who spread Islam in India, have been shunned away by Pakistan’s educational system.

An overhaul of the entire curriculum is a prerequisite for any positive change in the Pakistani psyche. Unfortunately, it is reluctantly being done under US pressure, which is leading to misperceptions of its own. But it has to be done and someone has to do it.

Postscript: Hindu extremists, led by BJP, are following the Pakistani model by substituting history with mythological texts to whip up Hindu chauvinism. This reminds one of the Punjabi proverb that it is more common to pick up your neighbour’s bad habits rather than his good behaviour.

The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com

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Book Review: Islamisation of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks

April 9, 2009

Book Review: Islamisation of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks

By Yoginder Sikand

26 March, 2009
Countercurrents.org

Book Review:
Name of the Book: Islamisation of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks
Author: Yvette Claire Roser
Publisher: Rupa & Co
Price Rs. 195
Pages: 109
ISBN: 81-291-0221-8

Contrary to what professional historians might claim, there is really nothing as an objective, unbiased and completely accurate writing of history. After all, not everything, even of significance, of what happened in the past can possibly be included in a text, and history book writers have to pick and choose from past events that they deem fit be recorded. The very process of picking and choosing from the past is determined, among other factors, by the subjective biases of the history writer as well as his or her own social and institutional location. Then, history writing is not simply about narrating the past but also involves a certain element of evaluating it. Here, again, this is strongly determined by the personal biases and preference of the individual historian.

The element of bias is greatly exacerbated when history textbooks are—as they are in almost every country today—commissioned by the state. The state wishes to mould its citizens in a particular way, to make them what it considers as ‘good’ and ‘law-abiding’ citizens, who have completely internalized the underlying logic and ideology of the state. The state, in its capacity of representative of a country’s ruling class, seeks to impose through state-sponsored history texts the hegemonic ideas of this class upon its citizenry. It is thus not surprising that such texts generally parrot the state-centric view of history that seeks to bestow legitimacy on the state and the country’s ruling class and ‘normalise’ their logic and world-view.

This incisive critique of state-sponsored social science textbooks in Pakistan highlights the convoluted politics of historiography and what this means for the production of a ‘social commonsense’ for a state’s citizenry. Although Roser does not say it in so many words, the current turbulent political scenario in Pakistan, in particular the rise of radical Islamist forces in the country, cannot be seen as inseparable from the narrow political agenda that the Pakistani state, ever since its formation, has consistently sought to pursue as is reflected in the social science textbooks that it has commissioned, and through which it has sought to impose its own ideology on its people.

Ross’s study focuses on the textbooks used in Pakistani school for the compulsory subject called ‘Pakistan Studies’, which was introduced in the reign of the American-backed military dictator General Zia ul-Haq in the mid-1970s. Pakistan Studies replaced the teaching of History and Geography, and was moulded in such a fashion as to instill in students an undying and unquestioning loyalty to the official ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ (called the nazariya-e Pakistan, in Urdu). This ideology, questioning which is considered a punishable crime in the country, is based on the far-fetched and completely bankrupt notion of the Muslims and Hindus of the pre-Partition Indian subcontinent as constituting two homogeneous and wholly irreconcilable ‘nations’. (Incidentally, this is the same perverse logic that underlies radical Hindutva in India). It claims that Muslims and Hindus have never been able to live amicably together, that they have always been opposed to each other, that they share nothing in common, and that, hence, it was but natural that Pakistan should come into being for the sake of the Muslims of South Asia.

There are several defining and characteristic features of the Pakistani social science textbooks that Rosser examines. Firstly, as she notes, their extreme anti-Indianism. This is a reflection of the fact that the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’, indeed the very rationale for the creation and continued existence of the state of Pakistan, is premised on the notion of undying and perpetual hatred of and opposition to India. India thus comes to be presented as viscerally opposed to Pakistan and as constituting a mortal threat to its very existence. In this way, a form of Pakistani nationalism is sought to be fostered through the texts that is hyper-chauvinistic, and one that is based on a constant reinforcement of an almost crippling sense of being besieged by what is projected as an ‘evil’ neighbor.

Secondly, and linked to the anti-Indianism that pervades these texts, are the repeated negative and hostile references to the Hindus and their faith. Hinduism is portrayed and projected in wholly negative terms, as if lacking any appreciable elements at all. Its followers are presented in a similarly unflattering way: as allegedly mean and cruel, and constantly scheming against Muslims and their faith. Hindus, like Muslims, thus come to be presented in strikingly stereotypical terms: the former as virulently hostile enemies, and the latter as brave soldiers in the path of God. They are portrayed as two solid, monolithic blocs, and as being without any internal differences whatsoever, of class, class, gender, region, language, political orientation and ethnicity. The only identity that they are projected as possessing is that of religion, which is presented in starkly reified terms that often have little resonance with empirical reality. In the process, the diverse, often contradictory, interpretations, expressions and the lived realities of Islam and Hinduism in South Asia are completely ignored in favour of extreme literalist, ‘orthodox’ and textual understandings. ‘Popular’ religious traditions, such as certain forms of Sufism and Bhakti, that bring people of diverse communal backgrounds together, are totally ignored, because they obviously stridently contradict the claims of the ‘two-nation’ theory.

Thirdly, the textbooks present Pakistani history as synonymous with the history of political conquests by successive Muslim rulers, starting with the Arab commander Muhammad bin Qasim in the mid seventh century. All these invaders and rulers, so the books piously claim, were goaded by a powerful sense of religious mission to establish ‘Islamic’ rule in the region. This alleged religious aspiration of theirs is presented as having finally culminated in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Contrary to what is popularly known about him, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the ideological founder of Pakistan, is presented as an ‘orthodox’ Muslim, allegedly inspired by the vision of establishing an ‘Islamic’ state run by Muslim clerics—something which was not the case at all. The fact that most of the Muslim rulers and conquerors that these texts lionise might actually have been inspired by less noble motives—to plunder or rule—is, of course, conveniently ignored. Religion—in this case Islam—thus comes to be seen and projected as the sole motor of history, with other factors, such as power and economics, having, at best, only a minor role to play. The history of South Asia before Muhammad bin Qasim is hardly mentioned at all, although it was in what is Pakistan today that the Indus Valley Civilisation flourished, that the invading Aryans composed the Vedas and that Buddhism led to a great flourishing of various arts and sciences.

In other words, every effort is made in the textbooks to present Pakistan as an extension of ‘Muslim’ West Asia, instead of a part of the Indic-dominated South Asia. Not surprisingly, as Rosser observes, the texts single out particular historical figures who are known for their battles against Hindu rulers as heroes, among these the most important being Muhammad bin Qasim, Mamhud Ghaznavi and Aurangzeb. Other Muslim rulers, most notably Akbar, who sought to reconcile Hindus and Muslims and promote a generous ecumenism, are either totally ignored or else reviled as alleged ‘enemies of Islam’. Furthermore, these figures, of both ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’, are isolated from their historical contexts, leading to biography turning into hagiography or demonology, as the case might be, in order to serve the agenda of the advocates of the ‘two nation’ theory.

The same holds true in the texts’ depictions of certain key Muslim religious figures. Thus, ‘orthodox’ ulema or Islamic clerics who stressed the claim of the inferiority of the Hindus and advised Muslim rulers to take harsh measures against them are hailed as heroes of Islam, while others, including many Sufis, who sought to preach love and tolerance between Muslims and others and preached an ethical monotheism transcending narrowly-inscribed boundaries of community, are conveniently left out or else branded as ‘un-Islamic’.

A fourth characteristic feature of these textbooks is their distinctly anti-democratic character. They purport to tell the story of the Muslims of South Asia from the point of view of Pakistan’s ruling elites. In the process, history comes to be presented as simply a long list of battles and other ‘achievements’ (whether real or imaginary) of a long chain of Muslim rulers. ‘Ordinary’ people have no voice, being completely invisiblised in these texts. It is as if history is made only by rulers, and that the histories of ‘ordinary’ people are not worth recording or commemorating. It would seem as if the writers of these books are wholly ignorant of new developments in writing ‘peoples’ or ‘subaltern’ histories.
The starkly elitist bias of the texts is also reflected in the fact that they almost completely ignore perspectives of ethnic groups other than Pakistan’s dominant Punjabi and Muhajir communities. This is hardly surprising, since, as Rosser notes, most of these texts have been penned by authors who belong to these two communities. She writes that the absence of the perspectives and historical experiences of the numerically smaller ethnic and regional communities of Pakistan, such as the Baluchis and Sindhis, also has serious implications for policy making, for the demand of smaller provinces for regional peace in South Asia and equitable local development is not sufficiently appreciated and incorporated in national policies. This, Rosser comments, is reflected in the great ‘tension between official history manufactured in Islamabad and the historical perspectives of regional ethnic groups’ (p.4).

The anti-democratic thrust of these texts is also reflected in what Rosser describes as ‘a radically restrictive brand of Islamic exclusivism’ that they project and propagate. The sort of Islam that these texts seek to promote is premised on the notion and dream of Muslim political hegemony and a deep-rooted sense of the innate inferiority of people of other faiths. This is—and this is important to note—just one version of Islam among many, and one which Muslims who believe in an inclusive version of their faith would vehemently oppose. However, the texts present this, what Rosser calls ‘authoritarian’, ‘legalistic’ and ‘ritualistic’, brand of Islam as normative and defining, and completely reject alternate, competing, more democratic and humanistic interpretations of the faith (p.9).

Rosser’s findings are of critical importance, particularly in the context of present developments in Pakistan, which is witnessing the alarming growth of radical Islamist groups, impelled by a version of Islam very similar to the one these texts uphold. Obviously, explanations of the growing threat of radical Islamism in Pakistan cannot ignore the crucial role of these texts, which are compulsory reading for all Pakistani students, thus playing a central role in moulding their minds and worldviews. The texts are also a reflection of, as well as a cause for, the pathetic state of social science research and discourse in present-day Pakistan.

Rosser’s Indian readers need not have much cause to be self-congratulatory, however. Although historiography in India is certainly more sophisticated in many senses than in Pakistan, a significant section of Indian history writers, particularly of the Hindutva brand, are no different from those Pakistani writers whose texts Rosser examines. Indeed, they speak the same language of hatred and communal supremacy, propelling the same tired, debunked myth of Hindus and Muslims being perpetually at odds with each other. Likewise, they are both profoundly anti-democratic, having no space for the voices and aspirations of socially, culturally and economically oppressed groups, upon whose enforced silence is premised the artifice of the ‘nation’ (‘Islamic’ or ‘Hindu’, as the case might be), whose sole representative ruling elites claim to be.

Yoginder Sikand works with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the National Law School, Bangalore.

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History?

April 9, 2009

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

Of all the Muslim rulers who ruled vast territories of India from 712 to 1857 CE, probably no one has received as much condemnation from Western and Hindu writers as Aurangzeb. He has been castigated as a religious Muslim who was anti-Hindu, who taxed them, who tried to convert them, who discriminated against them in awarding high administrative positions, and who interfered in their religious matters. This view has been heavily promoted in the government approved textbooks in schools and colleges across post-partition India (i.e., after 1947). These are fabrications against one of the best rulers of India who was pious, scholarly, saintly, un-biased, liberal, magnanimous, tolerant, competent, and far-sighted.

Fortunately, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have come out in the open disputing those allegations. For example, historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position. Banerjee further stated: “No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury. Some prejudiced Muslims even questioned the merit of his decision to appoint non-Muslims to such high offices. The Emperor refuted that by stating that he had been following the dictates of the Shariah (Islamic Law) which demands appointing right persons in right positions.” During Aurangzeb’s long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb’s administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?

Most Hindus like Akbar over Aurangzeb for his multi-ethnic court where Hindus were favored. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.

Some of the Hindu historians have accused Aurangzeb of demolishing Hindu Temples. How factual is this accusation against a man, who has been known to be a saintly man, a strict adherent of Islam? The Qur’an prohibits any Muslim to impose his will on a non-Muslim by stating that “There is no compulsion in religion.” (surah al-Baqarah 2:256). The surah al-Kafirun clearly states: “To you is your religion and to me is mine.” It would be totally unbecoming of a learned scholar of Islam of his caliber, as Aurangzeb was known to be, to do things that are contrary to the dictates of the Qur’an.

Interestingly, the 1946 edition of the history textbook Etihash Parichaya (Introduction to History) used in Bengal for the 5th and 6th graders states: “If Aurangzeb had the intention of demolishing temples to make way for mosques, there would not have been a single temple standing erect in India. On the contrary, Aurangzeb donated huge estates for use as Temple sites and support thereof in Benares, Kashmir and elsewhere. The official documentations for these land grants are still extant.”

A stone inscription in the historic Balaji or Vishnu Temple, located north of Chitrakut Balaghat, still shows that it was commissioned by the Emperor himself. The proof of Aurangzeb’s land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi, Varanasi can easily be verified from the deed records extant at those sites. The same textbook reads: “During the fifty year reign of Aurangzeb, not a single Hindu was forced to embrace Islam. He did not interfere with any Hindu religious activities.” (p. 138) Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb’s fifty year reign and observed that every one was free to serve and worship God in his own way.

Now let us deal with Aurangzeb’s imposition ofthe jizya tax which had drawn severe criticism from many Hindu historians. It is true that jizya was lifted during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir and that Aurangzeb later reinstated this. Before I delve into the subject of Aurangzeb’s jizya tax, or taxing the non-Muslims, it is worthwhile to point out that jizya is nothing more than a war tax which was collected only from able-bodied young non-Muslim male citizens living in a Muslim country who did not want to volunteer for the defense of the country. That is, no such tax was collected from non-Muslims who volunteered to defend the country. This tax was not collected from women, and neither from immature males nor from disabled or old male citizens. For payment of such taxes, it became incumbent upon the Muslim government to protect the life, property and wealth of its non-Muslim citizens. If for any reason the government failed to protect its citizens, especially during a war, the taxable amount was returned.

It should be pointed out here that zakat (2.5% of savings) and ‘ushr (10% of agricultural products) were collected from all Muslims, who owned some wealth (beyond a certain minimum, called nisab). They also paid sadaqah, fitrah, and khums. None of these were collected from any non-Muslim. As a matter of fact, the per capita collection from Muslims was several fold that of non-Muslims. Further to Auranzeb’s credit is his abolition of a lot of taxes, although this fact is not usually mentioned. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb’s reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.

While some Hindu historians are retracting the lies, the textbooks and historic accounts in Western countries have yet to admit their error and set the record straight.

Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb By Rajiv Varma

April 9, 2009

Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb

By Rajiv Varma


Background

Islamic literary sources provide far more extensive evidence of temple destruction by the Muslim invaders of India in medieval times. They also cover a large area, from Sinkiang and Transoxiana in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, and from Siestan province of present day Iran in the West to Assam in the East. This vast area, which was long the cradle of hindu culture, came to be littered with the ruins of temples and monasteries, belonging to all schools of Santana Dharma – Baudhha, Jaina, Shaiva, Sakta, Vaishnava, and the rest. Archeological explorations and excavations in modern times have proved unmistakably that most of the mosques, mazars, ziarats and dargahs which were built in this area, stood on the sites of and were made from the materials of deliberately demolished Hindu monuments.

Hundreds of medieval muslim historians who flourished in India and elsewhere in the world of Islam, have written detailed accounts of what their heroes did in various parts of the extensive Hindu homeland as they were invaded one after another. It is alear from the literary evidence collected alone that all Muslim rulers destroyed or desecrated Hindu temples whenever and whereever they could. Archeological evidence from various Muslim monuments, particularly mosques and dargahs, not only confirms the literary evidence but also adds the names of some Muslim rulers whom Muslim historians have failed to credit with this pious performance.

Some of the literary evidence of temple destruction during Aurangzeb’s rule is listed below.

[Emphasis mine.]


1. “Mir’at-i-Alam” by Bakhtawar Khan

The author was a nobleman of Aurangzeb’s court. He died in AD 1684. the history ascribed to him was really compiled by Muhammad Baqa of Saharanpur who gave the name of his friend as its author. Baqa was a prolific writer who was invited by Bakhtawar Khan to Aurangzeb’s court and given a respectable rank. He died in AD 1683.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707) General Order

” …Hindu writers have been entirely excluded from holding public offices, and ALL THE WORSHIPPING PLACES OF THE INFIDELS AND GREAT TEMPLES of these infamous people HAVE BEEN THROWN DOWN AND DESTROYED in a manner which excites astonishment at the successful completion of so difficult a task. His Majesty personally teaches the sacred kalima to many infidels with success. … All mosques in the empire are repaired at public expense…”


2. “Alamgir-Nama” by Mirza Muhammad Kazim

This work, written in AD 1688 contains a history of the first ten years of Aurangzeb’s reign.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707) Palamau (Bihar)

” …In 1661 Aurangzeb in his zeal to uphold the law of Islam sent orders to his viceroy in Bihar, Daud Khan, to conquer Palamau. In the military operations that followed MANY TEMPLES WERE DESTROYED…”

Koch Bihar (Bengal)

” …Towards the end of the same year when Mir Jumla made a war on the Raja of Kuch Bihar, the MUGHALS DESTROYED MANY TEMPLES during the course of their operations. IDOLS WERE BROKEN AND SOME TEMPLES WERE CONVERTED INTO MOSQUES. …”


3. “Mas’ir-i-‘Alamgiri” by Saqi Must’ad Khan

The author completed this history in 1710 at the behest of Inayatu”llah Khan Kashmiri, Aurangzeb’s last secretary and favorite disciple in state policy and religiosity. The materials which Must’ad Khan used in this history of Aurangzeb’s reign came mostly from the State archives.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707) General Order

“…The Lord Cherisher of the faith learnt that in the provinces of Tatta, Multan, and especially at Benaras, the Brahmin misbelievers used to teach their false books in their established schools, and that admirers and students both Hindu and Muslim, used to come from great distances to these misguided men in order to acquire this vile learning. His majesty, eager to establish Islam, issues orders to the governors of all the provinces TO DEMOLISH THE SCHOOLS AND TEMPLES OF THE INFIDELS and with utmost urgency put down the teaching and the public practice of the religion of these misbelievers…”

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

” …It was reported that, according to the Emperor’s command, his officers HAD DEMOLISHED THE TEMPLE OF VISHWANATH AT KASHI. …” Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

” … During this month of Ramzan abounding in miracles, the Emperor as the promoter of justice and overthrower of mischief, as the knower of truth and destroyer of oppression, as the zephyr of the garden of victory and the reviver of the faith of the Prophet, ISSUED ORDERS FOR THE DEMOLITION OF THE TEMPLE SITUATED IN MATHURA

” …Praised be the August God of the faith of Islam, that in the auspicious reign of this DESTROYER OF INFIDELITY AND TURBULENCE, such a wonderful and seemingly impossible work was successfully accomplished. On seeing this instance of strength of the Emperor’s faith and the grandeur of his devotion to God, the proud Rajas were stifled and in amazement they stood like images facing the wall. THE IDOLS, LARGE AND SMALL

Khandela (Rajasthan)

” … Darab Khan who had been sent with a strong force to punish the Rajputs of Khandela and TO DEMOLISH THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE PLACE, attacked on March 8th/Safar 5th, and slew the three hundred and odd men who made a bold defence, not one of them escaping alive. THE TEMPLES OF KHANDELA AND SANULA AND ALL OTHER TEMPLES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD WERE DEMOLISHED …”

Jodhpur (Rajasthan)

” … On 24th Rabi S. (Sunday, May 25th), Khan Jahan Bahadur came from Jodhpur, AFTER DEMOLISHING THE TEMPLES and bringing with himself some cart-loads of idols, and had audience of the Emperor, who higly praised him and ordered that the idols, which were mostly jewelled, golden, silver, bronze, copper, or stone, should be cast in the yard (jilaukhanah) of the Court AND UNDER THE STEPS OF THE JAMA MOSQUE, TO BE TRODDEN UPON…”

Udaipur (Rajasthan)

” … Ruhullah Khan and Ekkataz Khan WENT TO DEMOLISH THE GREAT TEMPLE in front of the Rana’s palace, which was one of the rarest buildings of the age and the chief cause of the destruction of the life and property of the despised worshippers. Twenty ‘machator’ Rajputs who were sitting in the Temple vowed to give up their lives; first one of them came out to fight, killed some and was them himself slain, then came out another and so on, until every one of the twenty perished, after killing a large number of the imperialists including the trusted slave Ikhlas. The Temple was found empty. THE HEWERS BROKE THE IMAGES. …”

” …On Saturday, the 24th January, 1680 (2nd Muharram), the Emperor went to view lake Udaisagar, constructed by the Rana, AND ORDERED ALL THE THREE TEMPLES ON ITS BANKS TO BE DEMOLISHED. …”

” …On the 29th January/7th Muharram, Hasan Ali Khan brought to the Emperor twenty camel-loads of tents and other things captured from the Rana’s Palace and REPORTED THAT ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-TWO OTHER TEMPLES IN THE ENVIRONS OF UDAIPUR HAD BEEN DESTROYED. The Khan received the title of Bahadur Alamgirshahi…”

Amber (Rajasthan)

“… Abu Turab, who had been SENT TO DEMOLISH THE TEMPLES of AMBER, returned to the Court on Tuesday August 10th (Rajab 24th), and reported that HE HAD PULLED DOWN SIXTY-SIX TEMPLES. …”

Bijapur (Karnataka)

” … Hamiduddin Khan Bahadur WHO HAD GONE TO DEMOLISH A TEMPLE AND BUILD A MOSQUE (IN ITS PLACE) in Bijapur, having excellently carried his orders, came to court and gained praise and the post of darogha of gusulkhanah, which brought him near the Emperor’s person…”

General Text

“…LARGE NUMBERS OF PLACES OF WORSHIP OF THE INFIDELS AND GREAT TEMPLES OF THESE WICKED PEOPLE HAVE BEEN THROWN DOWN AND DESOLATED. Men who can see only the outside of things are filled with wonder at the successful accomplishment of such a seemingly difficult task. AND ON THE SITES OF THE TEMPLES LOFTY MOSQUES HAVE BEEN BUILT…”


4. “Akhbarat

These were reports from different provinces compiled in the reign of Aurangzeb.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707)

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

” … The emporer learning that in the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura there was a stone railing presented by Dara Shikoh, remarked, ‘In the Muslim faith it is a sin even to look at a temple, and this Dara Shikoh had restored a railing in a temple. This fact is not creditable to the Muhammadans. REMOVE THE RAILING.’ By his order Abdun Nabi Khan (the faujdar of Mathura) REMOVED IT…”

Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)

” … News came from Malwa that Wazir Khan had sent Gada Beg, a slave, with 400 troopers, TO DESTROY ALL TEMPLES AROUND UJJAIN… A Rawat of the place resisted and slew Gada Beg with 121 of his men…”

Aurangabad (Maharashtra)

“…… The Emperor learnt from a secret news writer of Delhi that in Jaisinghpura Bairagis used to worship idols, and that the Censor on hearing of it had gone there, arrested Sri Krishna Bairagis and taken him with 15 idols away to his house; then the Rajputs had assembled, flocked to the Censor’s house, wounded three footmen of the Censor and tried to seize the Censor himself; so that the latter set the Bairagis free and sent the copper idols to the local subahdar …”

Pandharpur (Maharashtra)

“… The Emperor, summoning Muhammad Khalil and Khidmat Rai, the darogha of hatchet-men …. ORDERED THEM TO DEMOLISH THE TEMPLE OF PANDHARPUR, and to take the butchers of the camp there AND SLAUGHTER COWS IN THE TEMPLE … It was done…”

On Way to the Deccan

” … When the war with the Rajputs was over, Aurangzeb decided to leave for the Deccan. His march seems to have been marked with A DESTRUCTION TO MANY TEMPLES on the way. On May 21, 1681, the superintendent of the labourers WAS ORDERED TO DESTROY ALL THE TEMPLES on the route…”

Lakheri ( ? – means the place is not traceable today )

” … On 27 Sept., 1681, the emperor issued orders FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLES at Lakheri…”

Rasulpur( ? )

“… About this time, April 14, 1692, orders were issued to the provincial governor and the district faujdar TO DEMOLISH THE TEMPLES at Rasulpur…”

Sheogaon ( ? )

” … Sankar, a messenger, was sent TO DEMOLISH A TEMPLE near Sheogaon..”

Ajmer (Rajasthan)

“… Bijai Singh and several other Hindus were reported to be carrying on public worship of idols in a temple in the neighborhood of Ajmer. On 23 June, 1694, THE GOVERNER OF AJMER WAS ORDERED TO DESTROY THE TEMPLE and stop the public adoration of idol worship there…”

Wakenkhera ( ? )

” … The TEMPLE OF WAKENKHERA IN THE FORT WAS DEMOLISHED ON 2 MARCH, 1705. …”

Bhagwant Garh (Rajasthan)

“… The newswriter of Ranthambore REPORTED THE DESTRUCTION OF A TEMPLE IN PARGANAH BHAGWANT GARH. Gaj Singh Gor had repaired the temple and made some additions thereto…”

Malpura (Rajasthan)

” … Royal orders FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES IN MALPURA TODA were received and the officers were assigned for this work…”


5. “Fathiyya-i-‘Ibriyya

This is a diary of Mir Jumla’s campaigns in Kuch Bihar and Assam. “By looting,” writes Jadunath Sarkar, “the temples of the South and hunting out buried treasures, Mir Jumla amassed a vast fortune. The huge Hindu idols of copper were brought away in large numbers to be melted and cast into cannon. …”

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Koch Bihar (Bengal)

” … Mir Jumla made his way into Kuch Bihar by an obscure and neglected highway. …. In six days the Mughal Army reached the capital (19th December) which had been deserted by the Rajah and his people in terror. The name of the town was changed to Alamgirnagar; the muslim call to prayer, so long forbidden in the city, was chanted from the lofty roof of the palace, and a mosque was built by DEMOLISHING THE PRINCIPLE TEMPLE…”


6. “Kalimat-i-Tayyibat” by ‘Inayatullah

This is a collection of letters and orders of Aurangzeb compiled by ‘Inayatullah in AD 1719 and covers the years 1699-1704 of Aurangzeb’s reign.

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Somnath (Gujarat)

“… The TEMPLE OF SOMNATH WAS DEMOLISHED early in my reign and idol worship (there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolators have again taken to the worship of images at the place, THEN DESTROY THE TEMPLE IN SUCH A WAY THAT NO TRACE OF THE BUILDING MAY BE LEFT, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place. …”

Satara (Maharashtra)

“… The village of Sattara near Aurangabad was my hunting ground. Here on the top of the hill, STOOD A TEMPLE WITH AN IMAGE OF KHANDE RAI. BY GOD’S GRACE I DEMOLISHED IT, AND FORBADE THE TEMPLE DANCERS (muralis) to ply their shameful profession…”

General Observation “… THE DEMOLITION OF A TEMPLE IS POSSIBLE AT ANY TIME, as it cannot walk away from its place. …”

Sirhind (Punjab)

“… In a small village in the sarkar of Sirhind, A SIKH TEMPLE WAS DEMOLISHED AND CONVERTED INTO A MOSQUE. An imam was appointed who was subsequently killed. …”


7. “Ganj-i-Arshadi

It is a contemporary account of the destruction of Hindu temples at Varanasi in the reign of Aurangzeb.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

“… The infidels demolished a mosque that was under construction and wounded the artisans. When the news reached Shah Yasin, he came to Banaras from Mandyawa and collecting the Muslim weavers, DEMOLISHED THE BIG TEMPLE. A Sayyid who was an artisan by profession agreed with one Abdul Rasul to build a mosque at Banaras and accordingly the foundation was laid. Near the place there was a temple and many houses belonging to it were in the occupation of the Rajputs. The infidels decided that the construction of a mosque in the locality was not proper and that it should be razed to the ground. At night the walls of the mosque were found demolished. next day the wall was rebuilt but it was again destroyed. This happened three or four times. At last the Sayyid his himself in the corner. With the advent of night the infidels came to achieve their nefarious purpose. When Abdul Rasul gave the alarm, the infidels began to fight and the Sayyid was wounded by the Rajputs. In the meantime, the Musalman residents of the neighborhood arrived at the spot and the infidels took to their heels. The wounded muslims were taken to Shah Yasin who determined to vindicate the cause of Islam. When he came to the mosque, people collected from the neighborhood. the civil officers were outwardly inclined to side with the saint, but in reality they were afraid of the Royal displeasure on the account of the Raja, who was a courtier of the Emperor and had built the temple (near which the mosque was under construction). Shah Yasin, however, took up the sword and started for Jihad. The civil officers sent him a message that such a grave step should not be taken without the Emperor’s permission. Shah Yasin, paying no heed, sallied forth till he reached Bazar Chau Khamba through a fusillade of stones …… THE DOORS (OF TEMPLES) WERE FORCED OPEN AND THE IDOLS THROWN DOWN. THE WEAVERS AND OTHER MUSALMANS DEMOLISHED ABOUT 500 TEMPLES. They desired to destroy the temple of Beni Madho, but as lanes were barricaded, they desisted from going further….”


8. “Kalimat-i-Aurangzeb” by ‘Inayatullah

This is another compilation of letters and orders by ‘Inayatu’llah covering the years 1703-06 of Aurangzeb’s reign.

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707) Maharashtra

“…The houses of this country (Maharashtra) are exceedingly strong and built solely of stone and iron. The hatchet-men of the Govt. in the course of my marching do not get sufficient strength and power (i.e. time) TO DESTROY AND RAZE THE TEMPLES OF THE INFIDELS that meet the eye on the way. You should appoint an orthodox inspector (darogha) who may afterwards DESTROY THEM AT LEISURE AND DIG UP THEIR FOUNDATIONS…”


9. “Muraq’at-i-Abu’I Hasan” by Maulana Abu’l Hasan

This is a collection of records and documents compiled by (the above named author) one of Aurangzeb’s officers in Bengal and Orissa during AD 1655-67.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Bengal and Orissa

“…Order issued on all faujdars of thanas, civil officers (mutasaddis), agents of jagirdars, kroris, and amlas from Katak to Medinipur on the frontier of Orissa :- The imperial paymaster Asad Khan has sent a letter written by order of the Emperor, to say, that the Emperor learning from the newsletters of the province of Orissa that at the village of Tilkuti in Medinipur a temple has been (newly) built, HAS ISSUED HIS AUGUST MANDATE FOR ITS DESTRUCTION, and THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL TEMPLES BUILT ANYWHERE IN THIS PROVINCE BY THE WORTHLESS INFIDELS. Therefore, you are commanded with extreme urgency that immediately on the receipt of this letter YOU SHOULD DESTROY THE ABOVE MENTIONED TEMPLES. EVERY IDOL-HOUSE BUILT DURING THE LAST 10 or 12 YEARS, WHETHER WITH BRICK OR CLAY, SHOULD BE DEMOLISHED WITHOUT DELAY. ALSO, DO NOT ALLOW THE CRUSHED HINDUS AND DESPICABLE INFIDELS TO REPAIR THEIR OLD TEMPLES. REPORTS OF THE DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES SHOULD BE SENT TO THE COURT UNDER THE SEAL OF THE QAZIS and attested by PIOUS SHAIKHS…”

10. “Futuhat-i-Alamgiri” by Ishwardas Nagar

The author was a Brahman from Gujarat, born around AD 1654. Till the age of thirty he was in the service of the Chief Qazi of the empire under Aurangzeb. Later on, he took up a post under Shujat Khan, the governor of Gujarat, who appointed him Amin in the pargana of Jodhpur. His history covers almost half a century of Aurangzeb’s reign, from 1657 to 1700. There is nothing in his style which may mark him out as a Hindu.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

” … When the imperial army was encamping at Mathura, a holy city of the Hindus, the state of affairs with regard to temples of Mathura was brought to the notice of His Majesty. Thus, HE ORDERED THE FAUJDAR OF THE CITY, ABDUL NABI KHAN, TO RAZE TO THE GROUND EVERY TEMPLE AND TO CONSTRUCT BIG MOSQUES (over their demolished sites)…”

Udaipur (Rajasthan)

“… The Emperor, within a short time, reached Udaipur AND DESTROYED THE GATE OF DEHBARI, THE PALACES OF RANA AND THE TEMPLES OF UDAIPUR. Apart from it, the trees of his gardens were also destroyed…”


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