GENOCIDE OF HINDUS IN MEDIEVAL PERIOD UNDER ISLAMIC RULES

मुसलमानों द्वारा  हिन्दुओं के कत्लेआम और उनपर जुल्मोसितम की रोंगटे खड़े करने वाली लम्बी दास्ताँ,जिसे क्या हम भूल सकेगे या इसे इतिहास के पन्नों से हटा देंगे 

A major threat to the first Indo-Muslim state with its center at Delhi was the continual threat from the Mongols, who openly used terror as an instrument of war. In 1221 CE the notorious Mongol, Genghis Khan, had reached the Indus River, but the Turkish state at Delhi was yet to witness his full wrath. In fact, Balban (1246–1284 CE) and Alauddin Khilji (1296–1314 CE) effectively held back later Mongol attacks. Many Mongols accepted Islam and were admitted to the nobility or secured royal service. They came to be known as New Muslims but were often a discontented and turbulent lot and a continual source of trouble to the state.

ALLAUDDIN KHILJI

ALLAUDDIN KHILJI

A considerable amount of court intrigue thus developed and one major offshoot of this rivalry was seen when Alauddin Khilji’s generals invaded Gujarat. On their return from the invasion, the soldiers rebelled over the share of booty that they were required to turn over to the state. A contemporary chronicle relates the punishments and torture meted out to those who tried to use underhand means to claim their share of booty. In reaction to the inhuman treatment, a large faction of the army, mostly New Muslims, revolted. The chief members of the rebellion escaped, but Alauddin Khilji ordered the rebels’ wives and children be imprisoned. In another version, the king dismissed the whole community of New Muslims from his service, believing that the malcontents had hatched a plot to assassinate him. With the discovery of the plot, the king is said to have ordered the massacre of all New Muslims, and all those who killed a New Muslim were promised the right to claim everything their victims had owned. Between twenty and thirty thousand were slaughtered, and the murderers seized their wives, children, and property. A Gujarat campaign veteran, Nusrat Khan, used the decree to avenge the death of his brother, who had died at the hands of the rebels. He is reputed to have thrown the wives of his rebel victims to the scavengers of Delhi, and to have had their children cut into pieces in the presence of their mothers.

Further atrocities occurred as part of the larger Turkish conquest of eastern India during the early thirteenth century. For example, Ikhtiyar-Du-Din conducted raids on the famous Buddhist monasteries of Otandapuri and Vikramshila in Bihar, en route to Bengal, during which he ordered the extensive destruction of human and other resources. The monks there were all killed, and estimates set the death toll for these massacres in the thousands. Writers accompanying this invader are reported to have seen the total destruction of these Buddhist centers of learning. However, Minaju-s-Siraj (1243 CE) informed that they had mistaken them to be fortresses and wrote:

[M]ost of the inhabitants of the place were Brahmans with shaven heads. They were put to death. Large number of books were found there, and when the Muhammadans saw them, they called for some person to explain their contents, but all the men had been killed. It was discovered that the whole fort and city was a place of study (madrasas) (Elliot, 1964, p. 306).

These crimes have to be seen in the larger milieu of intrigue and the need to maintain authoritative control and access to resources during the early days of the Turkish state in India. The relations among the Turkish rulers during times of succession were never peaceful. Controlling the massive local population of Hindus was equally difficult. Barani narrates a supposed dialogue between Qazi Mughis of Bayana and Sultan Alaudden on an ordinance related to imposing a tax called jiziya on the Hindus. The Sultan wanted to lower the prestige and economic power of this population and thus he invoked a Quranic injunction to support his claims:

Hindus should be forced to pay their revenue in abject humility and extreme submissiveness; for the Prophet Muhammad had ordained that Hindus must either follow the true faith or else be slain or imprisoned and their wealth and property confiscated (Rizvi, 1998, p. 164).

Thus, according to Rizvi, other schools of jurisprudence of the time, except for the law school of Abu Hanifa, ordered for them “either death or Islam.”

Timur justified his conquest of India by invoking what he perceived as a willingness of the Muslim rulers of the time to tolerate idolatry—a practice condemned by Islam. He ordered a vicious attack that was unparalleled in the history of the subcontinent. At every stage of his advance beyond the Indus River and especially at places like Talamba and Bhatnair, he massacred people. Subsequently, the cities were plundered and people who failed to escape were enslaved. The most vivid descriptions are those of his crossing the Jamuna River on December 10, 1398. No one was spared. At Loni the Hindu inhabitants were also wiped out. Near Delhi, the local people greeted the news of nearby resistance fighters with joy, but they paid for their indiscretion with their lives. The resisting army, led by Mallu and Mahmed, soon had to retreat, and the city was left to the ruthless invader. Timur initially granted amnesty to the population of Delhi, but an uprising of the people infuriated him. The city was then ransacked for several days, and many thousands of its inhabitants were killed. On January 1, 1399, Timur returned home via Meerut, and on this march, too, great numbers of Hindus were slaughtered.

Raids on peninsular India began around 1295 and continued to the early decades of the fourteenth century, making inroads from Aurangabad as far south as Madurai. After 1323, the Tughluqs sought permanent dominion in the Deccan Peninsula. The first account of the atrocities against the local population and the ruling elites was narrated in the Vilasa Grant of Prolaya Nakaya (1330). Despite the early success of the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal against the Delhi sultans, the invaders were able to overpower the ruling dynasty.

The cruel wretches subjected the rich to torture for the sake of their wealth. Many of their victims died of terror at the very sight of their vicious countenances . . . the images of gods were over-turned and broken; the Agraharas of the learned confiscated; the cultivators were despoiled of the fruits of their labour, and their families were impoverished and ruined. None dared to claim anything, whether it was a piece of property or one’s own life. To those despicable wretches wine was the ordinary drink, beef the staple food, and the slaying of the Brahmanas was the favorite pastime. The land of Tilinga, left without a protector, suffered destruction from the Yavanas, like a forest subjected to devastating wild fire.

Literary sources also describe the devastation caused by the barbarians, who were either called Yavanas, Mlecchas, or Turushkas. The Madhura-Vijaya, written by Gangadevi in the second half of the fourteenth century, vividly describes Turushka rule over Madurai thus:

The sweet odour of the sacrificial smoke and the chant of the Vedas have deserted the villages (Agrahras) which are now filled with the foul smell of roasted flesh and the fierce noises of the ruffianly Turushkas. The suburban gardens of Madura present a most painful sight; many of their beautiful coconut palms have been cut down; and on every side are seen rows of stakes from which swing strings of human skulls strung together. The Tamraparni is flowing red with the blood of the slaughtered cows. The Veda is forgotten and justice has gone into hiding; there is not left any trace of virtue or nobility in the land and despair is writ large on the faces of the unfortunate Dravias (Chattopadhyaya, 1998, p. 57).

War was common among the various states of the Deccan Peninsula and southern India. Kings professing Islam as their personal faith ruled some of these, whereas rulers of various Hindu sects controlled others. An important point common to both was the utter devastation caused by their armies when they invaded each other’s dominions. For instance, the early Bahamani and Vijayanagar rulers struggled for control over the fertile Raichur territory. A contemporary chronicler, Ferishta narrated the various battles between the Bahamani Sultan, Mohammad Shah, and the Vijayanagar ruler Bukka Raya. Ostensibly the sultan insulted the Vijayanagar ruler, who responded with an invasion. He conquered Mudkal and put all its inhabitants—men, women, and children—to the sword. This infuriated Mohammad Shah, who took a solemn oath: “till he should have put to death, 100,000 infidels, as an expiation for the massacre of the faithful, he would never sheathe the sword of holy war, nor refrain from slaughter.” The Sultan slaughtered about 70,000 men, women, and children.

The chronicles of Ferishta tell of subsequent and equally ferocious battles between the two. Haji Mull, a maternal relation of the Vijayanagar king, commanded the Brahmins to daily lecture the troops on the merits of slaughtering Mohamedans. During the actual battle, on July 23, 1366, large numbers of people were killed on both sides. Mohammad Shah then ordered a fresh massacre of the unbelievers, during which even pregnant women and children were not spared. According to Ferishta, Mohammad Shah slaughtered 500,000 Hindus, and “so wasted the districts of Carnatic, that for several decades, they did not recover their natural population.”

The sources that have come down to us chronicling these crimes against humanity were framed within ideological and political concerns. They should be read as selective representations and thus treated as only partial constructions of the historical reality rooted in the concerns of either the colonial state or the modern nation. The historian must therefore interpret both the primary source and all subsequent interpretations in order to more accurately understand the events that occurred so far in the past.

It is well known that before an indigenous Indo-Muslim state was established in India in 1192 CE, there had been several raids by Persianized Turks who looted major cities and temples to support their power bases in Afghanistan. One such raid was in 968 CE by Sabuktigin (r. 977–997 CE), who ravaged the territory of the Hindu Shahi kings between Afghanistan and western Punjab. TheSharh-I Tarikhi Yamini of Utbi describes how places inhabited by infidels were burnt down, temples and idols demolished, and Islam established: “The jungles were filled with the carcasses of the infidels, some wounded by the sword, and others fallen dead through fright. It is the order of God respecting those who have passed away, that infidels should be put to death” (Elliot, 1964, p. 22). Writing about the raids of his son Mahmed against king Jaipal, Utbi stated: “The Musulmans had wreaked their vengeance on the infidel enemies of God, killing fifteen thousand of them, spreading them like a carpet over the ground, and making them food for beasts and birds of prey” (Elliot, 1964, p. 26). While noting the religious rhetoric, it has been argued by scholars that Mahmed of Ghazni who raided India seventeen times did so for economic reasons. In fact, he raided and sacked Muslim cities of Iran as well, in an effort to stabilize the Ghaznavid political and economic situation. But the rise of Ghurid power in northwestern Afghanistan from the mid-eleventh century brought the destruction of the city of Ghazni. Sultan Alauddin burned the city to the ground in revenge for the ill-treatment of his brothers by Mahmed Ghazni, and by this act the sultan earned the title of Jahan-soz or “the world burner.” The Ghurids then came to operate from Ghazni under Shahabuddin Muhammad (1173–1206 CE), known as Muizzuddin Muhammad bin Sam. In the wake of his invasions, Turkish rule was establishment in India, between 1192–1206 CE.

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