On December 28, 2021, an interview of actor Naseeruddin Shah by an infamous propagandist Karan Thapar was uploaded to a YouTube channel. In the so-called chat, the actor spoke at length. He said, “And it’s amazing that the so-called ‘atrocities’ of the Mughals are being highlighted all the time. They forget that the Mughals were people who contributed to this country; Mughals are people who have left lasting monuments, history, culture, traditions of dance and music, painting, poetry and literature…..The Mughals came here to make this their homeland. You could call them refugees if you like, pretty well off refugees. But Mughals are being blamed unnecessarily and to hold every Muslim in India responsible for the so-called ‘atrocities’ is ridiculous.”
John Briggs in his book, ‘History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India’ which was translated from the Original Persian of Mahomed Kasim’s Ferishta have mentioned few instances which I would like to share.
There is a fascinating exchange of letters between Anundpal (Raja of Delhi) and Sultan Mahmud of Gizhnevy about temple destruction. The question as to why temples were being destroyed by Islamic invaders was asked by Raja of Delhi, Anundpal in the year 1011 ce to the most famous (or infamous) of Islamic invaders Sultan Mahmud of Gizhnevy on the eve of the destruction of the temple of Tahnesur.
‘The Raja’s brother, with two thousand horses was also sent to meet the army, and to deliver the following message:- “My brother [Anundpal] is the subject and tributary of the King, but he begs permission to acquaint his Majesty, that Tahnesur is the principal place of worship of the inhabitants of the country: that if it is required by the religion of Mahmood to subvert the religion of others, he has already acquitted himself of that duty, in the destruction of the temple of Nagrakote.But if he should be pleased to alter his resolution regarding Tahnesur, Anundpal promises that the amount of the revenues of that country shall be annually paid to Mahmood; that a sum shall also be paid to reimburse him for the expense of his expedition, besides which, on his own part, he will present him with fifty elephants, and jewels to a considerable amount.” Mahmood replied, “The religion of the faithful inculcates the following tenet: ‘That in proportion as the tenets of the Prophet are diffused, and his followers exert themselves in the subversion of idolatry, so shall be their reward in heaven;’ that, therefore, it behoved him, with the assistance of God, to root out the worship of idols from the face of all India. How then should he spare Tahnesur?’
Islamic invaders did not consider Hindu worship as acceptable to God. I am posting a true incident that happened in the year 1500 CE.
It is mentioned that about this period a brahmin, whose name was Boodhun, and inhabitant of Kataen, near Luknow, being upbraided by some Mahomedans on account of his faith, maintained “that the religions of the Moslems and Hindoos, if acted on with sincerity, were equally acceptable to God.”
As this opinion has been supported with some ingenuity, and much argument, by the brahmin, the subject came to be discussed publicly before the kazies of Luknow, and the brahmin was ordered to appear. On this occasion, Kazy Peeala and Sheikh Budr, both residing at Luknow, had different opinions; and the arguments of the brahmin having made some stir in the city. Azim Hoomayoon, the governor, thought fit to senf all the parties to court at Sumbhul, where the King [Sikundur Lody Afghan], who was fond of hearing disputations on religious subjects, directed the most learned men in his empire to assemble and argue the point of faith with the brahmin. The following persons were accordingly brought together….. Besides which were the learned men who usually attended the court; such as Syud Sudur-ood-Deen of Kunowj, Meean Abdool Rahman of Seekry, Meeas Azeez-oolla of Sumbhul.
All these persons were present at this disputation. After many arguments, the learned men were of opinion, that unless the infidel, who had maintained the Hindoo worship to be equally acceptable to God, as that of the true faith, should renounce his error, and adopt the Mahomedan religion, he ought to suffer death. The Hindoo refused to apostatise, and was accordingly executed, while the Musalman doctors were rewarded with gifts, and returned to their respective homes.
Then there is this terrifying incident that occurred in 1441 CE.
Sooltan Mahmood [Khiljy], however, marched on within a short distance of Kalpy, before he shaped his course towards Chittoor. After having crossed the Bunas river, he sent on detachments of light troops to lay waste the country. The main body continued to advance slowly, and was engaged every day either in taking prisoners or in destroying temples, and in building musjids in their stead. Sultan Mahmood now attacked one of the forts in the Koombulmere district, defended by Beny Ray, the deputy of Rana Koombho of Chittoor. In front of the gateway was a large temple which commanded the lower works. This building was strongly fortified, and employed by the enemy as a magazine. Sooltan Mahmood, aware of its importance, determined to take possession of it at all hazards; and having stormed it in person, carried it, but not without heavy loss; after which, the fort fell into his hands, and many Rajpoots were put to death. The temples was now filled with wood, and being set on fire, cold water was thrown on the stone images, which caused them to break, the pieces were given to the butchers of the camp, in order to be used as weights in selling meat. One large figure in particular, representing a ram, and formed of solid marble, being consumed, the Rajpoots were compelled to eat the calcined part [lime] with pan, in order that it might be said that they [Hindus] were made to eat their gods. Sooltan Mahmood having reduced this fort, which the kings of Guzerat, notwithstanding frequent and long sieges, had never been able to effect, caused public thanksgiving to be made, at which every person in camp was required to attend.
- To be continued..
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