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Hindu Masjids

23. Are Some Intellectuals Perverse?

The author and his colleagues were discussing issues between the two major cammunities in India. The conversation was progressing smoothly when a leftist friend, Sitaram Ghoshal, appeared and hijacked the discussion towards autonomy in Kashmir. Was it not desirable that a nationalist, and a valley Muslim could see eye to eye on several issues? On some others they were going to agree to disagree. Yet with the entry of Ghoshal, the dialogue snapped. He was hell bent on giving flee valley complete autonomy except for two or three subjects. Little did he seem to realise that he was falling straight into the Pakistani trap. What, they claim, they wanted was self-determination for the Kashmiris.

If you hear the leftists uncritically, they sound so sweet and reasonable. After all, they are only pleading for the will of the Kashmiris to be allowed a free run.  The Pakistanis themselves, as it were, were looking for nothing. Little did it dawn on Ghoshal that in case autonomy was granted, the next step would be the opening of the Line of Control (LoC) due to the supposed demand of the people of the two sides of the line to meet and mingle. There would then be a loud outcry for amalgamation between Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the Valley. Islamabad would be pleased. What would New Delhi or Srinagar say or do at that stage? The next step would be an orchestrated public outcry for the status of a protectorate under Pakistan.

The author cannot help but share with the reader what he has come across recently.Ms Romila Thapar has written:

Mahmud of Ghazni is primarily associated in most standard histories as the despoiler of temples and the breaker of idols. The explanation for this activity is readily provided by the fact that he was a Muslim - the assumption being that only a Muslim would despoil temples and break idols since the Islamic religion is opposed to idol worship. There is the further assumption in this that all Muslim rulers could be potential idol-breakers unless some other factors prevented them from doing so. Little attempt is made to search for further explanations regarding Mahmud's behaviour. Other reasons can be found when one turns to the tradition of  Hindu kings and enquire whether any of them were despoilers of temples and idol-breakers.

That Mahmud Ghazni was both an idol breaker and a robber is confirmed by Ms Thapar herself. By providing further explanations regarding Mahmud's behaviour, she has alleged that he was a robber and not primarily an idol breaker. The ichoclast had an ulterior motive. Later on she goes on to allege that King Harsh Vardhan also used tto desecrate temples in order to appropriate wealth. The author wonders what relationship MsThapar had with Mahmud Ghazni, that she should take such extraordinary pains to ostensibly defend his crimes. The author would not  defend him even if he was his own blood brother.

Here is how a fellow Muslim praises Mahmud Ghazni. Prof. Muhammad Nazim has observed: the destruction of the temple of Somnath was looked upon as the crowning glory of Islam over idolatry, and Sultan Mahmud as the champion of the Faith, received the applause of all the Muslim world. One poet has outdone 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 goId, Mahmud is supposed to have said I 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 idol maker, the other idol breaker. Adhar or Ezra' the uncle of Abraham, according to the Quran, made his living by carving idols. The former would go to heaven while the latter be condemned to hell.

If nothing else, one cannot help contrasting the forthrightness of Nazim and the perversion of  Thapar.

In Gargi Chakravartty, we have another lady, also sold on the good intentions of Mahmud Ghazni. She has said: Mahmud of Ghazni's activities on this score have built a negative impression about the role of Muslims in general. But he was not a religious fanatic which is amply proved from the fact that he never forced the people whom he looted to accept the creed, which they did not believe. A piece of historical information is important to note in this context: His Indian soldiers were flee to blow sankh and bow before their idols in imperial Ghazni.

Her sympathy was not confined to Mahmud Ghazni but extended much beyond. She did not even ignore Timur Lang. She justified the barbaric massacre by the Muslim invaders with the argument that they were equally cruel to the Muslims people of Central Asia. To quote her:

Muslim invaders are being accused of being fanatic and barbaric towards the Hindus, leaving a trail of destruction of Hindu temples, of plunder and loot. Some of the invaders were no doubt plunderers and their sole obsession was loot and plunder of the invaded land, no matter what the,faith of those who inhabited it. For example, Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad of Ghor and Timur of Samarkand in their unchecked barbarism massacred the Muslim masses and rulers too of Centra! Asia. The history writers of the Sangh Parivar evade this very important fact of his tory. The principal objective of those plunderers was to enrich their treasury. When, they invaded India there was hardly any Muslin? population in those areas. Had there been, they too would not have been spared, as is proved by the fact that people  of the whole Central Asia who were their coreligionists were not spared from their brutal atrocities. The intensity of their barbarism in Central Asia was no less than in North India. In fact Timur was more cruel in Central Asia on its Muslim population than what he did in India. At a later period plunderers like Nadirshah and Ahmedshah Abdali massacred Muslims as well.

The same book by People's Publishing House is embellished with the contribution of another apologist of the Muslim iconoclast. In his essay, Harbans Mukhia says: Interestingly the orthodox Hindu historians today revel no less in describing with great fanfare the temples demolished by the sultans than the orthodox Muslim contemporary historians did in their own time. It is obvious that the demolition of temples could not have been meant for winning over the Hindus to Islam. For, how can one imagine that the way of winning over the heart of a people is to go and demolish its temples? The demolition could at best have created a hatred, if anything, certainly not love, for Islam in the hearts of the Hindu subjects. Therefore it could not have been meant for converting them, but for Some other objective. It is significant that generally the temples are demolished only in the territory of an enemy; they are not demolished within the sultan's own empire, unless the temples became centres of a conspiracy or a rebellion against the state as they did during Aurangzeb's reign. Thus the demolition of temples in enemy-territory was symbolic of conquest by the sultan.

The author has come across another Hindu historian who delights in describing temple demolition by the Sultan. Many a writer does complain but no Hindu feels happy. An anti-Hindu like Mukhia may well do so. Who has ever told him that Muslim invaders and many of the rulers provoked the hatred of Hindus? Most Hindus might not carry hatred on their lips, but in their heart of hearts make no mistake, most Hindus hate Muslims.

Vrindavan was very much a part of Aurangzeb's empire. Can Mukhia tell us who in that temple town, which is dedicated to Krishna, conspired or rebelled against the empire which provoked Aurangzeb to have Gobind Dev mandir cut into half and build a mehrab on the roof of the lower portion? According to an article in the Calcutta Review quoted by Growse: Aurangzeb had often remarked about a very bright light shining in the far distant south east horizon and in reply to his enquiries regarding it, was told that it was a light burning in a temple of great wealth and magnificence at Vrindavan. He accordingly resolved that it should be out out and soon after sent some troops to the place who plundered and threw down as much of the temple as they could and then erected on the top of the ruins a mosque wall where, in order to complete the desecration, the emperor is said to, have offered his prayers.

Yet another distinguished historian Bipin Chandra, in his essay published in the same book has pleaded for downgrading our national leaders. In his words:

We live in cliches so far as Raja Rant Mohan Roy, Swami Dnyananda, Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghose, Lokamanya Tilak, Lajpat Rat, Gandhi and others are concerned. It has become a tradition with our mass media, school text-books, All India Radio, etc. to uncritically praise them. Consequently, the communalists, and others can exploit their negative features. We never tell the people, especially the young, that these great men, being men, had inperfect understanding and also imperfect actions

The hero-myths-all of the major heroes: Rana Pratap, Shivaji and Guru Gobind Singh, belonged to medieval India and had fought against Mughal authority - have done as much to underline secularism and national integration as any other ideological factor. At one stroke, and in a sort of imanenet fashion, these hero-myths proved the case for the two-nation theory or the basic communal approach. By what definition are they 'national ' heroes struggle and their struggle 'national'? Because they were fighting against foreigners? How were the Mughals foreigners? Because they wereMuslims. What was the uniting principle in the 'nationalism' of Rana Pratap, Shivaji and Guru Gohind Singh'? Their being Hindus or non Muslims. Thus, the hero-myths spontaneously generated communalism.

Not satisfied by denigrating national leaders by a step or two, Bipin Chandra proceeds to attack the luminaries of the medieval period. He blames Rana Pratap, Shivaji and Guru Gobind Singh for the two-nation theory that emerged during middle of the 20th century. How objective or lair Chandra was, is best lefit to reader to decide.

N.E. Balaram writing on Hindutva has propounded an unusual thesis. In his words: Any careful examination will show that there were no Hindu and Muslim labels till the thirteenth century. They were two different faiths and they did not  quarrel. The term Hindu was used by the Muslim rulers in early days to denote the  zamindars, landlords and the Brahmin priests. The common people were not referred to as Hindus. Officers under the Delhi Sultanate in 14th century AD called the zamindars Hindus to denote more their aristocracy than their religion.  Zia Barani, a historian of the period in his book Fatwa-i-Jahandari uses the term Hindu in several places, mostly to desirable zamindars. The Hindu-Muslim identities came only gradually.

Perhaps Balaram is contused. It is possible that in the 13th century, Hindus did not quarrel with the Muslims for the simple reason that they were the traumatised subjects. They had been conquered by the sword of Islam and they harboured feelings  of hatred for what had been done to them and their mandirs.

In the 20th century, it is true that in the USA all Indians from the subcontinet were described as Hindu; Hindu-Hindus, Hindu-Muslims, Hindu-Christian, Hindu-Parsis and even Hindu-Jews. The word 'Hindu' was synonymous with Indian for the simple reason that in America an Indian was the Red Indian. Even in Spain today, all Indians are identified as Hindu for the same reason as in the USA.

During the author's visit to China in April 2001, no Chinese that his family came across registered what they meant when they said they were Indians. Thereafter they spontaneously asked the Indian team whether we meant that we we Hindu. The author does not think that any of the Chinese had our religion on their mind when they asked this question.

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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