Historically, Pakistan was part of India when Chandragupta was the ruler; it continued to be part of India when Hsuan Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, visited India in the 7th century A.D. In his diary, Hsuan Tsang has recorded that India was divided into five divisions.

(* The writers of the Puranas divided India into nine divisions). It is also true that when Hsuan Tsang came, not only the Punjab but what is now Afghanistan was part of India and further, the people of the Punjab and Afghanistan were either Vedic or Buddhist by religion. But what happened since Hsuan Tsang left India?

The first Muslim invasion of India came from the north-west by the Arabs who were led by Mahommad Bin Qasim. It took place in 711 A.D. and resulted in the conquest of Sind. This first Muslim invasion did not result in a permanent occupation of the country because the Caliphate of Baghdad, by whose order and command the invasion had taken place, was obliged by the middle of 9th century A.D. to withdraw its direct control from this distant province of Sind.

Soon after this withdrawal, there began a series of terrible invasions by Muhammad of Ghazni in 1001 A.D. Muhammad died in 1030 A.D., but within the short span of 30 years, he invaded India 17 times. He was followed by Mahommed Ghori, who began his career as an invader in 1173. He was killed in 1206. For thirty years Muhammad of Ghazni ravaged India and for thirty years Mahommad Ghori harried the same country in the same way.

Then followed the incursions of the Moghul hordes of Chenghiz Khan. They first came in 1221. They then stayed on the border of India but did not enter it. Twenty years later, they marched on Lahore and sacked it. Of their inroads, the most terrible was under Timur in 1398. Then comes on the scene a new invader in the person of Babar who invaded India in 1526. The invasion of India did not stop with that of Babar. There occurred two more invasions. In 1738 Nadir Shah’s invading host swept over the Punjab like a flooded river “furious as the ocean”. He was followed by Ahmad Shah Abdali who invaded India in 1761, smashed the forces of the Maharthas at Panipat and crushed for ever the attempt of the Hindus to gain the ground which they had lost to their Muslim invaders.

These Muslim invasions were not undertaken merely out of lust for loot or conquest, but also to strike a blow at the idolatry and polytheism of Hindus and establishing Islam in India. In one of his dispatches to Hajjaj, Mahommad bin Qasim is quoted to have said:

“ The nephew of Raja Dahir, his warriors and principal officers have been dispatched, and the infidels converted to Islam or destroyed. Instead of idol-temples, mosques and other places of worship have been created, the Kutbah is read, the call to prayers is raised, so that devotions are performed at stated hours.”

Muhammad of Ghazni also looked upon his numerous invasions of India as the waging of a holy war. Al’Utbi, the historian of Muhammad, describing his raids writes:

“He demolished idol temples and established Islam. He captured ……cities, destroyed the idolaters, and gratifying Muslims. He then returned home and promulgated accounts of the victories obtained for Islam……..and vowed that every year he would undertake a holy war against Hind.”  

Mahummad Ghori was actuated by the same holy zeal in his invasions of India. Hasan Nizami, his historian, describes his work in the following terms:

“He purged by his sword the land of Hind from the filth of infidelity and vice, and freed the whole of that country from the thorn of God-plurality and the impurity of idol-worship, and by his royal vigor and intrepidity left not one temple standing.”

Taimur has his Memoir explained what led him to invade India. He says:

“My object in the invasions of Hindustan is to lead a campaign against the infidels, to convert them to the true faith according to the command of Muhammad (on whom and his family be the blessing and peace of God) to purify the land from the defilement of misbelief and polytheism, and overthrow the temples and idols, whereby we shall be Ghazis and Mujahdis, companions and soldiers of the faith before God.”

These Muslim invaders were Tartars, Afghans, and Mongols.  Mahommad bin Qasim’s first act of religious zeal was forcibly to circumcise the Brahmins of the captured city of Debul; but on discovering that they objected to conversion, he proceeded to put all above the age of 17 to death, and to order all others, with women and children, to be led into slavery. The temple of the Hindus was looted, and the rich booty was divided equally among the soldiers, after one-fifth, the legal portion for the government, had been set aside.

Muhammad of Ghazni from the first adopted those plans that would stike terror into the hearts of the Hindus. After the defeat of Raja Jaipal in A.D. 1001, Muhammad ordered that Jaipal “be paraded about in the streets so that his sons and chieftains might see him in that condition of shame, bonds and disgrace; and that fear of Islam might fly abroad through the country of the infidel.”

“The slaughtering of ‘infidels’ seemed to be one thing that gave Muhammad particularly pleasure. In one attack on Chand Rai, in A.D. 1019, many infidels were slain or taken prisoners, and the Muslims paid no regard to booty until they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshippers of the sun and fire. The historian naively adds that the elephants of the Hindu armies came to Muhammad of their own accord, leaving idols, preferring the service of the religion of Islam.”

The slaughter of the Hindus, gave a great setback to the indigenous culture of the Hindus, as in the conquest of Bihar byMuhammad Bakhtyar Khilji. When he took Nuddea (Bihar) the Tabaquat-I-Nasiri informs us that:

“ great plunder fell into the hands of the victors. Most of the inhabitants were Brahmins with shaven heads. They were put to death. Large number of books were found…..but none could explain their contents as all the men had been killed, the whole fort and city being a place of study.” 

Summing up the evidence on the point, Dr. Titus, author of Indian Islam p. 22, says:

“ Of the destruction of temples and the desecration of idols we have an abundance of evidence. Mahommad bin Qasim carried out his plan of destruction systematically in Sind, but he made an exception of the famous temple of Multan for purposes of revenue, as this temple was a place of resort for pilgrims, who made large gifts to the idol. Nevertheless, while he thus satisfied his avarice by letting the temple stand, he gave vent to his malignity by having a piece of cow’s flesh tied around the neck of the idol.”

“ Minhaj-as-Siraj further tells us how Mahommad became widely known for having destroyed as many as thousand temples, and of his great feat in destroying the temple of Somnath and carrying off its idol, which he asserts was broken into four parts. One part he deposited in the Jami Masjid of Ghazni, one he placed at the entrance of the royal palace, the third he sent to Mecca, and the fourth to Medina.”

Lane Poole, author of Medieval India p. 26, has said that Mahommad of Ghazni:

“who had vowed that every year should see him wage a holy war against the infidels of Hindustan” could not rest from his idol-breaking campaign so long as the temple of Somnath remained inviolate. It was for this specific purpose that he, at the very close of his career, undertook his arduous march across the desert from Multan to Anhalwara on the coast, fighting as he went, until he saw at last the famous temple: 

“There were a hundred thousand pilgrims were wont to assemble, a thousand Brahmins served the temple and guarded its treasures. Within stood the famous Shiva linga, adorned with gems and lighted by jeweled candelebra which were reflected in rich hanings, embroidered with precious stones like stars, that decked the shrine….The foreigners nothing daunted, scaled the walls, fifty thousand Hindus suffered for their faith and the sacred shrine was sacked to the joy of the true believers. The great stone was down and its fragments were carried off to grace the conquerors’ palace. The temple gates were set up at Ghazni and a million pounds worth of treasure rewarded the iconoclast.”

Dr. Titus writes, that Quatb-ud-Din Aybak, also destroyed a thousand temples, and then raised mosques on their foundations. He also built the Jami Masjid, Delhi, and adorned it with stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants and covered it with inscriptions (from the Koran) containing the divine commands. In his conquest of South India the destruction of temples was carried out by Ala-ud-Din as it had been in the north by his predecessors.

“The Sultan Firoz Shah, in his Futuhat, graphically describes how he treated Hindus who had dared to built new temples. I killed these leaders of infidelity and punished others with stripes, until this was entirely abolished and where infidels and idolaters worshipped idols. “ 

Even in the reign of Shah Jahan, we read of the destruction of the temples that the Hindus had started to rebuild, and the account of this direct attack of the piety of the Hindus is thus solemnly recorded in the Badshah-namah”

“ It has been brought to the notice of His Majesty, says the historian, that during the late reign (of Akbar) many idol-temples had been begun but remained unfinished at Benares, the great stronghold of infidelity. The infidels were now desirous of completing them. His Majesty, the defender of the faith, gave orders that at Benares and throughout all his dominions in every place all temples that had been begun should be cast down. It was reported that the Province of Allahbad that 76 temples had been destroyed in the district of Benares.” 

It was left to Aurangzeb to make a final attempt to overthrow idolatry. The author of “Ma”athir i-Alamgiri dilates upon his efforts to put down Hindu teaching, and his destruction of temples in the following terms:

“ In April, A.D. 1669, Aurangzeb learned that in the provinces of Thatta, Multan and Benares, but especially in the latter, foolish Brahmins were in the habit of expounding frivolous books in their schools, and that learners, Muslims as well as Hindus, went there for long distances…..The ‘Director of the Faith’ consequently issued orders to all the governors of provinces to destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels; and they were enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practicing of idolatrous worship….Later it was reported to his religious Majesty that the Government officers had destroyed the temple of Vishvanath at Benares.”

Dr. Titus observes:

“Such invaders as Muhammad and Timur seem to have more concerned with iconoclasm, the collection of booty, the enslaving of captives, and the sending of infidels to hell with the ‘proselytizing sword’ than they were with the conversion of them even by force. But when invaders/rulers were permanently established the wining of converts became a matter of supreme urgency. It was a part of the state policy to establish Islam as the religion of the whole land.”

“Qutb-ud-Din, whose reputation for destroying temples was almost as great as that of Muhammad, in the latter part of the twelfth century and early years of the thirteenth, must have frequently resorted to force as an incentive to conversion.   One instance may be noted : when he approached Kiol (Aligarh) in A.D. 1194, ‘those of the garrison who were wise and acute were converted to Islam, but the others were slain with the sword.”

“ One pathetic case is mentioned in the time of the reign of Firoz Shaha (A.D. 1351-1388). An old Brahmin of Delhi was burnt to death for refusing to give up his faith.”

Muhammad not  only destroyed temples but also made it a policy to make slaves of the Hindus he conquered.  

“Not only was slaughter of the infidels and the destruction of their temples resorted to in earlier period of Islam’s contact with India, but as we have seen, many of the vanquished were led into slavery. The dividing up of booty was one of the special attractions, to the leaders as well as to the common soldiers in these expeditions. Muhammad seems to have made the slaughter of infidels, the destruction of the temples, the capturing of slaves, and the plundering of the wealth of the people, particularly the temples and the priests, the main object of his raids. On the occasion of his first raid he is said to have taken much booty, and half a million Hindus, ‘beautiful men and women’ were reduced to slavery and taken back to Ghazni.”

When Muhammad later took Kanauj, in A.D. 1017, he took so much booty and so many prisoners that ‘ the fingers of those who counted them would have tired.’ Describing how common Indian slaves had become in Ghazni and Central Asia after the campaing of A.D. 1019, the historian of the times says:

“The number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for from two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazni,and merchants came from far distant cities to purchase them; …and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor were commingled in one common slavery.

“In the year A.D 1202, when Qutb-ud-Din captured Kalinjar, after the temples had been converted into mosques, and the very name of idolatry was annihilated, fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”

Slavery was the fate of those Hindus who were captured in the holy war.  

(source: Pakistan or The Partition of India – By B. R. Ambedkar AMS Press ISBN 0404548016 p. 53-66)   Refer to Ignore this genocide, we’re secular – By Rajeev Srinivasan – Refer to Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders (636 AD to 1206 AD) – By Sita Ram Goel. Voice of India, New Delhi.

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