We all know, for several centuries India, first North and then the South came under the Islamic rule. The Islamic rulers tried their best to Islamize India. Even Aurangzeb went as far as attempting to impose Shariat, though he could not. But he was successful in introducing Jizya tax on on all non Muslims.
During the Islamic rule, Hindus did change quite a bit, developed such traditions which even today many people think as Hindu traditions. Many of them are harmful, and people even think of them as Indian culture. Let me list few of them.
- Purdah or veiling of Women: The veiling of the women started during the lifetime of the Prophet(pbuh). After the death of Hadija, his first wife, he took several wives, and per Holy Quran was instructed by Allah that they should be veiled. From this time, the Muslims adopted the practice. After Islamic rule came to India, Indian women though did not adopt burqa, but started covering their faces/hair. Coincidentally, if we see, the veiling is most prevalent in north Indian states which bore the brunt of Mughal and other Islamic rulers, and as we keep going south, the veiling of women reduces and eventually vanishes.
- Marriage during night time: Most of the North Indian marriages happen during the night, the reason is: if the marriage was held during day, the local chieftain may kidnap and deflower the bride. Due to this, people preferred to have marriages during night and the tradition continues till date. If you see, marriages in places like Western Maharashtra(and many other areas) which never came under Mughal rule happens during day time.
- Puja without any idols or Photographs: Puja is an integral part of Hindu culture. For e.g., in places like Odisha, satyanarayan Puja is held just by keeping a beetle nut as deity, as the Muslim rulers prohibited any Puja happening with a gathering where deities/idols are placed. The priest doing the Puja had to “invent” such a workaround to do the Puja.
- The dress of women increased: During the Maurya, Gupta or Chola period women in India wore much less clothes. For e.g. during Ashoka’s reign, women in Kalinga wore clothes starting from navel/waist to heels and breast bands(just like modern day bra). Mind you, women in India were safer when they wore less clothes. But during the Islamic rule, they started covering their bodies more and more. Islamic hijab(per Holy Quran) dictates women’s entire body excepting foot and hands to be covered.
- Patriarchal Joint Families: Many people think that current form of patriarchal joint family is a Hindu tradition. Actually, it is not. Extremely patriarchal joint families were found no where in world(whether India, Europe, China) excepting the tribal societies. Arabia, where Islam originated, was a hardcore tribal and patriarchal society. Hence, when Muslims started capturing other lands the tradition of patriarchal joint families went with them. If we see, the patriarchal joint families is the norm and eulogized in north Indian states. But in South Indian states it is not. In Odisha, the northern Odisha which bore the brunt of Mughal rule, joint family system is very much eulogized, but in south Odisha it is not. Also, in Maharashtra, this is not prevalent in western Maharashtra, but is more prevalent in eastern Maharashtra which was under Mughal rule for longer time.
- Restriction on Mobility of Women: During the Mauryan period, the foreign visitors and historians had been impressed that young women could move out during night and were safe. During the Gupta/Chola period, women travelled across the empire for education and even trade. After the advent of Islamic rule, the number of women moving out of their houses reduced, probably due to fear of the sex hungry rulers. The tradition continues still.
- Status of dogs in society: In Hinduism, dogs are considered the agents of Lord Bhairava. Maharaj Yudhishthira refused to enter heaven without the dog which had followed him. Nepali Hindus have a festival where they worship dogs – apply tika to their foreheads, garland and feed them. In nutshell, Dogs were respected in ancient Hindu society. But, dogs are haram is Islam. Prophet(PBUH) had prohibited Muslims from keeping dogs in house. It is said in Hadith, that if a dog sniffs a person, (s)he should wash three times. That’s why many conservative Hindus dislike dogs. And due to this very reason, we don’s find many dogs of Indian breed. The Europeans bred dogs depending on their needs. But we Indians did not. It is no surprise, Modiji had once said that we should have indigenous dog breeds. Here also we see, south Indians do some dog breeding, but North Indian dog breeds are rare. Indian dogs are much sturdier and disease resistant than European bred dogs in Indian climate, but are called “Indian Pariah dogs”. I being a dog lover, it pains me when we made our dogs who are humans’ best friends “Pariah” due to the influence of barbaric foreign invaders.
- Alcohol: In ancient India Alcohol was considered a social drink. But is now hated in many places across India. That must be due to Islamic influence. Any activity related to Alcohol(drinking, brewing, sale, transportation distribution etc.) is considered shirk in Islam.
As we can see, Hindus think many of the Islamic traditions are their own. But many are actually not, and are harmful for the society. It is important we Indians need to get rid of the bad traditions we have acquired during the earlier rule. The Islamic rule is politically gone, but a bit of Islamic rule is still inside us.
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