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Hindu Masjids

Did Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru downplay
Sultan Mahmud's atrocities out of fear? Or,
was it to please his Muslim friends?

21. Ghazni and Nehru

The plunder of Somnath by Mahmud Ghazni in 1030 AD is known across the country. But except for some interested scholars, few know what historian Muhammad Nazim had to say:

The destruction of the temple of Somnath was looked upon as the crowning glory of lslam over idolatry, and Sultan Mahmud as the champion of the Faith, received the applause of all in the Muslim world. One poet outdid another in extolling the iconoclasm of Mahmud. Shykh Faridu'd Din Attar said that the Sultan preferred to be an idol breaker rather than an idol seller. While rejecting the offer of the Hindus to ransom the idol of Somnath with its weight in gold, Mahmud is supposed to have said 'l am afraid that on the Day of Judgement when all the idolaters are brought into the presence of Allah, he would say: bring Adhar and Mahmud together, one was the idol maker, the other idol seller'. Adhar or Ezra the uncle of Abraham, according to the Quran,made his living by carving idols.

On the other hand, Jawaharlal Nehru, in a speech at Panjim, now Panaji, Goa in 163,observed that the conflicts with Islam in north India specially were not religious conflicts, but political conflicts of kings wanting to conquer India. Religious conflicts were hardly any and Islam also began to be accepted as a religion of India.

The reference in the speech was a general one. Let us see what Nehru wrote specifically about Soranath. In his letter dated 1st June, 1932 to his daughter, he wrote: it was in Somnath that he got the most treasure. For this was one of the great temples, and the offerings of centuries had accumulated there. It is said that thousands of people took refuge in the temple when Mahmud approached, in the hope that a miracle would happen and the god they worshipped would protect them. Butt miracles seldom occur, except in the imaginations of the faithful, and the temple was broken and looted by Mahmud and 50, 000 people perished, waiting for the miracle which didnot happen.

In another letter dated 26th April 1932,  Nehru wrote that you will find that after Islam began, for many hundred years Musalmans lived in all parts of India in per fect peace with their neighbours. They were welcomed when they came as traders and encouraged to settle down.

In yet another letter dated 13th May, 1932, he observed that many of the temples. in the south even now seem to resemble citadels where people can defend themselves if attacked. By implication, he meant that they proved to be provocative to the invaders. In the understanding of the author and that of most Hindus, a temple is the residence of an avatuar of the paramatma and not merely a prayel hall like a mosque which  jehadis with weapons are allowed to use.

In the course of his writings, Nehru often quotes Al-Beruni. Let us see what this scholar had to say about Somnath:

The linga he raised was the stone of Somnath, for soma means the moon and natha means master, so that the whole word means master of the moon.The image was destroyed by Prince Mahmud, may God be merciful to him! AH 496. He ordered the upper part to be broken and the remainder to be transported to his residence, Ghazni with all its coverings and trappings of gold, jewels, and embroidered garments. Part I of it has been thrown into the hippodrome of the town, together with the Cakrasvamin, an idol ofbronze, that had been brought from Taneshar. Another part of the idol from Somnath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghazni, on which people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet.

The works and views of Prof. Nazim as well as those of Al-Beruni leave no doubt that Mahmud Ghazni was driven by religious fanaticism. That greed and cruelty were only accompanying motives. Why should Nehru, a Hindu and a Brahmin to boot, conceal the fanaticism of an invader, whose own people like these scholars are candid in their praise of the desecration in the cause of Allah? Surely Nehru's contention was anti-Hindu.

The uncanny paradox was also carried into Mathura. Although this city of  Shri Krishna was devastated earlier in 1017, Nehru deals with it later than Somnath in the same letter to his daughter of  1st June, 1932. But first let us see what Growse had  to say: In the middle of the city was a temple, larger and finer than the rest, to which neither painting nor description could do justice. Mahmud Ghazni had confirmed this view in anticipation 850 years earlier. Growse quoted Mahmud as writing ,1 any one wished to construct a building equal to it, he would notbe able to do so without expending a hundred million dinars, and the work would occupy two hundred years, even though the most able and experienced workmen were employed. The city was given up to plunder for twenty days. Among the spoils are said to have been five great idols of pure gold with eyes of rubies and adornments of other precious stones, together with a vast number of smaller silver images, which, when broken up, formed a load for more than hundred camels. The total value of the spoils has been estimated at three million rupees; while the number of Hindus carried away into captivity exceeded 5,000.

Inspite of this adoration, Mahmud ordered that all temples should be burnt with naptha and fire and levelled with the ground, wrote Growse. The contradiction may be explained by Mahmud's piety or fanaticism. Allah was above all love and beauty. And he had to be served by destroying all and any idols or their temples.For there was only one God, and no idol or temple should be there to divert any worshipper's devotion.

Now let us go to Nehru and his letter of Ist June, where he briefly writes about the city of Sri Krishna:

Of Mathura, Mahmud has given us a glimpse, which shows us what a great city it was. Writing to his Governor at Ghazni, Mahmud says: There are here (at Mathura) a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition but at the expense of many millions of dinars, nor could such another be constructed under a period 200 years. This description of Mathura by Mahmud we read in an account given by Firdausi. Firdausi was a great Persian poet who lived in Mahmud's time.

Can any Hindu, least of all Jawaharlal Nehru, be more flippant about one of the holiest places which was treated in the unholiest of ways?

Hindu Masjids
Prafull Goradia
The Challenge
1. The Conflict

Shuddhi in Stone
10. Christian Tears
11. Ataladevi Masjid
12. Four Vandals, One Temple
13. Bhojshala Masjid
14. Seven Temples Kept Buried
15. Adina Masjid
16. Jungle Pirbaba
17. Mandir and Dargah in One Building
18. Shuddhi by Govemment
19. Iconoclasm Continues in pakistan, Bangladesh and in Kashmir
2. Shuddhi by British
20. American Professor on Temple Desecration
3. Incomplete Shuddhi
4. Spontaneous Shuddhi
5. Waterloo of Aryavarta
6. Reclaimed Temple at Mahaban
7. Qutbuddin And 27 Mandirs
8. Instant Vandalism
9. Ghazni to Alamgir

Anti-Hindu Hindus
21. Ghazni and Nehru
22. Is A Communist Always Anti-Hindu?
23. Are Some Intellectuals Perverse?
24. Are Some Eminent Indians Anti-Hindu?
25. Ambedkar, a True Hindu
26. Swaraj Meant Saving the Khalifa
27. Archaeological Surveys
28. Hindu Future after Black Tuesday

1. Annexure I
2. Annexure II
3. Annexure III
4. Annexure IV

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