Friday, July 14, 2017

Hindutva: Legacy of the British Raj?

Colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India, says American history professor Audrey Truschke, in her recently published book "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King". These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author.  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds.

Demolishing Myths: 

Madhav Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

Professor Truschke systematically dismantles
myths about India's Muslim rulers as being hateful and bigoted tyrants who engaged in rape and pillage of Hindus and carried out widespread destruction of Hindu temples across India. Hindu Nationalists led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who considers Golwalkar "worthy of worship, are using false history to play victims of "brutal" Islamic rule and to justify their hatred and violence against Indian Muslims today.

Hindu Nationalists' False Narrative:

Truschke explains how the Hindu Nationalists have used colonial-era distortions of history and built a false narrative to justify their hatred and violence against India's Muslim minority. Here's an excerpt from her book:

"Such views have roots in colonial-era scholarship, where positing timeless Hindu-Muslim animosity embodied the British strategy of divide and conquer. Today, multiple websites claim to list Aurangzeb's "atrocities" against Hindus (typically playing fast and loose with the facts) and fuel communal fires. There are numerous gaping holes in the proposition that Aurangzeb razed temples because he hated Hindus, however. Most glaringly, Aurangzeb counted thousands of Hindu temples within his domain and yet destroyed, at most, few dozen.....A historically legitimate view of Aurangzeb must explain why he protected Hindu temples more often than he demolished them."

Misguided Pakistani View:

The false narrative about Aurangzeb has been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists in India who use it for their own purposes, but also by at least some of the Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan. Truschke singles out Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem to make this point in her book:

"Across the border in Pakistan, too, many endorse the vision of an evil Aurangzeb. As Shahid Nadeem, a Pakistani playwright, recently put it: " Seeds of partition were sown when Aurangzeb triumphed over [his brother] Dara Shikoh". Such far-fetched suggestions would be farcical, if so many did not endorse them."

Some British educated secular Indian leaders have also been misled colonial-era historical narrative of Muslim rule pushed by the British. For example, India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, thought Aurangzeb was too Muslim to rule India. Nehru described Aurangzeb as "a bigot and an austere puritan" and called him a dangerous throwback who "put back the clock". Here's a quote from Nehru used by Truschke to make her point:

"When Aurangzeb began to oppose [the syncretism of the earlier Mughal rulers] and suppress it and to function more as a Moslem than an Indian ruler, the Mughal empire began to break up".

The Real Aurangzeb:

Here's an excerpt from Truschke's article in that explains how she sees "historical Aurangzeb":

"Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him."

Truschke is not alone in the above assessment of Aurangzeb. Marathi writer Nagnath S. Inamdar, the author of  "Shahenshah: The Life of Aurangzeb",  recalls visiting a prominent Hindu temple whose priest told him that it had come down in his family that not only had Aurangzeb left the temple intact, but also authorized a recurring annual donation for its maintenance. Further diminishing the idea of a puritanical figure, Inamdar also found old manuscripts with love sonnets composed by Aurangzeb.

Real History in Persian:

Truschke says the original history of the Mughal rule was written in Persian. However, it is the English translation of the original work that are often used to distort it. Here's what she says about it in her book:

"The bulk of Mughal histories are written in Persian, the official administrative language of the Mughal empire but a foreign tongue in India today. Out of necessity and ease, many historians disregard the original Persian text and rely instead on English translations. This approach narrows the the library of materials drastically, and many translations of the Mughal texts are of questionable quality, brimming with mistranslations and abridgments. Some of these changes conveniently served the agendas of the translators, especially colonial-era translations that tend to show Indo--Muslim kings at their worst so that the British would seem virtuous by comparison (foremost here is Elliot and Dowson's History of India as Told by Its Own Historians). Such materials are great for learning about British colonialism, but they present an inaccurate picture of Mughal India."

Comparison with Contemporaries:

On temple destructions, Truschke says that the "Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”".

University of Texas Professor Donald Davis, a scholar of Hinduism, agrees that “there is no question that medieval Hindu kings frequently destroyed religious images as part of more general rampages”.

Invasions of various parts of India by Shivaji Bhonsle's Maratha forces were extremely bloody and destructive affairs. Maratha raiders led by Shivaji raped, pillaged and plundered the people, mainly Hindus,  in the territories they captured.  Some of these events are documented in Sir Jadunath Srakar's Shivaji and His Times. Shivaji Bhonsle was a contemporary and rival of Aurangzeb.  He is now revered by Hindu Nationalists as a hero who allegedly protected Hindus from Aurangzeb in the second half of the 17th century.

Aurangzeb-Shivaji Conflict Not Religious:

Professor Truschke debunks the Hindu Nationalist portrayal of Shivaji-Aurangzeb conflict as being Hindu-Muslim war. She argues in her book that "the Mughal-Maratha conflict was shaped by craving for raw power that demanded strategic, shifting alliances. Shivaji allied with numerous Islamic states, including Bijapur, Golconda, and even the Mughals when it suited him (sometimes against Hindu powers in south India). Shivaji welcomed Muslims within his army; he had qazis (Muslim judges) on his payroll, and Muslims ranked among some of the top commanders".

She says that "Mughal alliances and the imperial army was similarly diverse, and Aurangzeb sent a Hindu, Jai Singh, to besiege Shivaji at Purandar."


Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries.  Colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of their policy to divide and conquer India, according to American history professor Audrey Truschke. Professor Truschke has systematically dismantled all the myths about India's Muslim rulers as hateful and bigoted tyrants who engaged in rape and pillage of Hindus and carried out widespread destruction of Hindu temples across India. Hindu Nationalists led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are using false history to justify their hatred and violence against Indian Muslims today.
Related Links:
Here's an interesting discussion of the legacy of the British Raj in India as seen by writer-diplomat Shashi Tharoor:

Haq's Musings

Hindu Nationalists Admire Nazis

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Hindu Supremacist Yogi Adiyanath's Rise in UP

Hinduization of India

Globalization of Hindu Nationalism

Hindutva Distortion of Indian History Textbooks


D. Khan said...

Budhism cleansing by Hindus 84000 temples destroyed Buddhist killed and burned alive by first Brahamin king of Shunga empire

Anonymous said...

Facts about Ashoka's massacre and destruction of Kalinga:

1. It was the bloodiest and the most infamous war ever fought between State of Kalinga (present-day Odisha) and Mauryan Empire.

2. The war was fought in 261 B.C. and was won by the Mauryan Dynasty.

3. The Mauryan army was led by Emperor Ashoka while the Kalinga army was led by Raja Anantha Padmanabhan.

4. The Battle of Kalinga began in 8th year of Ashoka’s rule. Before the battle started, Ashoka sent a letter to King of Kalinga or Kalingaraj where Ashoka asked for complete submission of Kalinga to the Mauryan Empire. This was refused by Kalingaraj.

5. Ashoka’s grandfather, Emperor Chandragupta Maurya tried to conquer Kalinga once but was unsuccessful.

6. Emperor Bindusara, father of Emperor Ashoka, was in a process of territorial expansion but the independent feudal republic of Kalinga was a major hindrance both politically and economically.

7. Emperor Bindusara also made attempts to conquer Kalinga but was defeated.

8. After death of Emperor Bindusara, Emperor Ashoka took a complete charge to annex the State of Kalinga.

9. When Raja Anantha Padmanabhan declined the proposal of complete submission to Mauryan Empire, Emperor Ashoka led an enormous army to Kalinga.

10. The Battle of Kalinga was the only battle in which Emperor Ashoka was present physically.

11. The battle was fought on Dhauli hill and later the whole State of Kalinga was turned into a bloody battlefield.

12. The battle was fierce and claimed the lives of 150,000 warriors of Kalinga and 100,000 Mauryan warriors.

13. It is being said that the battle was so fierce that in aftermath of the battle, Daya River flowing next to the battlefield turned completely red because of the bloodshed.

14. Several thousands of men and women of Kalinga were deported.

15. Emperor Ashoka did win the Battle of Kalinga and the State of Kalinga was eventually annexed by Mauryan Empire but the sheer number of lives lost and the sight of hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded scattered all other the battlefield filled Emperor Ashoka’s heart with remorse and grief.

16. It is said in oral history that one woman of Kalinga came to Ashoka after the war and said that the battle took away her husband, father and son from her and she has nothing to live for. Those words moved Emperor Ashoka so much that he adopted the Buddhism and walked the path of Ahimsa or non-violence.

17. After the Battle of Kalinga, Emperor Ashoka ended his military conquests and completely stopped the territorial expansion policy of Mauryan Empire.

18. Edicts of Ashoka have records of the response of Emperor Ashoka to Kalinga War.

19. After the battle, Ashoka embraced the concept of Dhammavijaya or Victory through Dhamma.

20. Ashoka sent missionaries to Srilanka, Macedonia, Greece and Syria to spread the message of Buddhism and peace.

P. Jain said...

How the Buddhists and Jains were Persecuted in Ancient India.

“… Hiuen-Tsang, who visited India from 629 to 645 AD, describes the influence of a south Indian Brahmin queen on her husband who ordered the execution of many thousand Buddhists including 8,000 in Madurai alone. Kalhana’s Rajatarangani (written by a Shaivite scholar about 1149 AD and the first Brahmin account of India’s historic past from the time of Yudishthira) relates that Mihirikula, the Hun ruler was converted by Brahmins (in 515 AD) and unleashed a wave of violent destruction on Buddhist monasteries in Punjab and Kashmir. He reports (verse 290 in book 1) that “crows and birds of prey would fly ahead eager to feed on those within his armies reach”. He proudly proclaimed himself as the killer of three crores. … … – Buddhism that had been strong in India in the 7th Century was completely obliterated a century later.”

There are many who seem to believe that brutality and bloodshed were the sole preserve of Muslim rulers and that Hindu rajas lived in an idyllic ocean of peace and tranquility. Unfortunately, an examination of the history of the Indian sub continent does not support such an uninformed opinion.

Gaining and retaining power is a brutal business all around the world, and has been so, all through history, with the possible exception within Buddhist societies where brute violence is rare. Many people genuinely believe that Hinduism has always been a tolerant religion that assimilated other peoples and ideas without bloody conflict. That is how they teach it! The ugly scars of brutality in the history of all peoples, are sanitized in school history books. The ruling powers, everywhere, want to play down the politics of past racial or religious persecution. This has the result in our case that many people hold the opinion that brutality and violence in India were exclusive to ‘invaders’ like the Greeks, Mongols, Turks and even the British. While these were the `invaders’ easily condemned by the history books, it can be mentioned that most of the Arya, Scythian and Jat tribes, who came to India probably from central Asia, could also be described as ‘invaders’.


Many local rulers, probably at the urging of their Brahmin ministers and priests, now began to ruthlessly exterminate the previously dominant Buddhist and Jain faiths. Although the class of Kshatriyas had completely vanished from history during the thousand years of mainly Buddhist rule they were reinvented at this time to serve Brahmin interests. No doubt the rich lands and treasures of their defenseless monasteries and temples also gave material incentives to this religious fervor and many Buddhist and Jain stupas and monasteries were plundered and Hindu temples established at their sites.

Similar material motives had actuated religious persecutions in many lands including those by the Catholic and Protestant nobles in England during the much more recent period of the Reformation. There are many Hindu references to support this looting and plunder including the unedited versions of the original Puranas even though most Buddhist and Jain accounts were destroyed. Hiuen-Tsang, who visited India from 629 to 645 AD, describes the influence of a south Indian Brahmin queen on her husband who ordered the execution of many thousand Buddhists including 8,000 in Madurai alone. Kalhana’s Rajatarangani (written by a Shaivite scholar about 1149 AD and the first Brahmin account of India’s historic past from the time of Yudishthira) relates that Mihirikula, the Hun ruler was converted by Brahmins (in 515 AD) and unleashed a wave of violent destruction on Buddhist monasteries in Punjab and Kashmir. He reports (verse 290 in book 1) that “crows and birds of prey would fly ahead eager to feed on those within his armies reach”. He proudly proclaimed himself as the killer of three crores.

Ameer A. said...

It is very sad to see that so many of our so called cultural elites rely on colonial English authors and Hindu Nationalist hate literature, instead of doing their own research on the subject. There is a viscous hate campaign against Aurangzeb in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Ameer: "It is very sad to see that so many of our so called cultural elites rely on colonial English authors and Hindu Nationalist hate literature, instead of doing their own research on the subject. There is a viscous hate campaign against Aurangzeb in India. "

I agree with you Ameer. It's sad indeed. But it's understandable given the powerful influence of the Brits on western educated South Asians. They do need more critical thinking skills, not just accept things on face value.

Usha said...

Jizya was abolished by the third Mughal emperor Akbar, in 1564. It was finally abolished in 1579.

However, Aurangzeb, the sixth emperor, re-introduced and levied jizya on non-Muslims in 1679. His goal was to promote Islam and weaken the Hindu religion. Aurangzeb ordered that the collected jizya be used for charitable causes to support the increasing number of impoverished and unemployed Muslim clerics in his empire. Unlike other Mughals he did not enhance or promote the arts and music but spent more on piety across the empire. Hindus were outraged and numerous small-scale revolts resulted. The jizya rate was more than twice the zakat tax rate paid by Muslims led to mass civil protests of 1679 in India. In some areas revolts led to its periodic suspension such as the 1704 AD suspension of jizya in Deccan region of India by Aurangzeb.

Riaz Haq said...

Usha: "The jizya rate was more than twice the zakat tax rate paid by Muslims led to mass civil protests of 1679 in India. In some areas revolts led to its periodic suspension such as the 1704 AD suspension of jizya in Deccan region of India by Aurangzeb"

JIzya is a tax paid by non-Muslims and Zakat is a tax paid by Muslims. In addition, Muslims also pay 10% of agriculture products as ushr that non-Muslims are not required to pay. In an agrarian economy of 1600s, Muslims carried a much bigger burden of taxes than their Hindu counterparts in India.

Zakat and jizya both require minimum assets on which payer has to be required to pay. Neither apply to the average people, the poor and the needy.

Aurangzeb's jizya imposition had no effect on average non-Muslims in India.

Non-Muslims are not required to serve in the military but those who choose to join military service are exempted from payment of jizya as are those who can not afford to pay.

Truschke talks about it in her book as follows: Aurangzeb gave tax breaks to hard-hit regions, canceling the jizya for Hyferabad in 1688-89 because of drought and remitting the jizya for the entire Deccan in 1704 in consideration of the toll of famines and war.

Aurangzeb's decision to impose jizya was not motivated by religious bigotry but by his effort to placate the ulema who were suspicious of Mughal kings sincerity. But many of Aurangzeb's nobles, including prominent Muslims and royal family members such Jahanara, Aurangzeb's eldest sister, lampooned the jizya as a poor administrative decision.

An article in Spiritual World ( a different perspective on that controversy.

Aurangzeb abolished 65 taxes on general population that led to an annual loss of 50 million rupees to his exchequer. That put him under pressure to find newer ways to mobilize revenue, and Jizya was one of them.

But why target only Hindus? Because he was already extracting certain levies from Muslims, which Hindus were not paying.

All Muslims had to pay Islamic taxes such Zakat (2.5% of savings), Ushr (10% of agriculture products) and charity charges such as
Sadaqah, Fitrah, and Khums, from which Hindus were exempted.

Aurangzeb was possibly striking a balance by imposing Jizya.

Khalid B. said...

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History?

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

Fortunately, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have come out in the open disputing those allegations (against Aurangzeb). For example, historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position. Banerjee further stated: "No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury. ... During Aurangzeb's long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb's administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?

...Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.


Now let us deal with Aurangzeb's imposition ofthe jizya tax which had drawn severe criticism from many Hindu historians. It is true that jizya was lifted during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir and that Aurangzeb later reinstated this. Before I delve into the subject of Aurangzeb's jizya tax, or taxing the non-Muslims, it is worthwhile to point out that jizya is nothing more than a war tax which was collected only from able-bodied young non-Muslim male citizens living in a Muslim country who did not want to volunteer for the defense of the country. That is, no such tax was collected from non-Muslims who volunteered to defend the country. This tax was not collected from women, and neither from immature males nor from disabled or old male citizens. For payment of such taxes, it became incumbent upon the Muslim government to protect the life, property and wealth of its non-Muslim citizens. If for any reason the government failed to protect its citizens, especially during a war, the taxable amount was returned.

It should be pointed out here that zakat (2.5% of savings) and ‘ushr (10% of agricultural products) were collected from all Muslims, who owned some wealth (beyond a certain minimum, called nisab). They also paid sadaqah, fitrah, and khums. None of these were collected from any non-Muslim. As a matter of fact, the per capita collection from Muslims was several fold that of non-Muslims. Further to Auranzeb's credit is his abolition of a lot of taxes, although this fact is not usually mentioned. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb's reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.

Sami said...

When Marathas invaded Bengal in 1742, they committed all sorts of barbaric and sinful acts. Jadunath Sarkar quotes a contemporary account of Bengali Poet Gangaram describing the atrocities committed by the Maratha soldiers:
They dragged away the beautiful women, tying their fingers to their necks with ropes. When one Bargi (a Maratha soldier who was supplied with his mount and arms by government) had done with a woman, another seized her; the women shrieked in the agony and ravishment. The Bargis after thus committing all sinful acts, set these women free. Then, after looting in the open, the Bargis entered the villages. They set fire to the houses, large and small, temples and dwelling places. After burning the villages, they roamed about on all sides plundering. Some victims they tied up with their arms twisted behind them. Some they flung down and kicked with their shoes. They constantly shouted, ‘Give us Rupees, Give us Rupees, Give us Rupees.’ (pp. 49-50) (bold ours)
In the footnote of the same page, Sarkar writes:
The Maratha soldiers were notorious for their practice of gang-rape in invaded territories from a very early time. In 1683 when they invaded Goa districts under the eyes of their king Shambhuji, they committed this kind of outrage. A contemporary Portuguese account of that war states: “These enemies were so barbarous that when a woman appeared very beautiful (lit., best) to them, five or six of them violated her by lying with that woman alone. (p. 49) (bold ours)

Anonymous said...

Both British and Hindutva historians have painted the Mughal Emperor as villain for thir own purpose, here’s how, by BRIJENDRA SINGH

The late scholar & historian, Dr.Bishambhar Nath Pande’s research efforts exploded myths on Aurangzeb’s rule. They also offer an excellent example of what history has to teach us if only we study it dispassionately. Mr. Pande was ranked among the very few Indians & very fewer still Hindu historians who tried to be a little careful when dealing with such history. He knew that this history was ‘originally compiled by European writers’ whose main objective was to produce a history that would serve their policy of divide & rule.
In his famous Khuda Bakhsh Annual Lecture (1985) Dr. Pande said: “Thus under a definite policy the Indian history text books were so falsified & distorted as to give an impression that the medieval (i.e., Muslim) period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subjects & the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Muslim rule and there were no common factors (between Hindus & Muslims) in social, political & economic life.”
Therefore, Dr.Pande was extra careful. Whenever he came across a ‘fact’ that looked odd to him, he would try to check & verify rather than adopt it uncritically. He came across a history text book taught in the Anglo-Bengali College, Allahabad, which claimed that “three thousand Brahmins had committed suicide as Tipu wanted to convert them forcibly into the fold of Islam.” The author was a very famous scholar, Dr.Har Prasad Shastri, head of the department of Sanskrit at Kolkata University. (Tipu Sultan (1750-99), who ruled over the South Indian state of Mysore (1782-99), is one of the most heroic figures in Indian history. He died on the battle field, fighting the British.)
Was it true? Dr. Pande wrote immediately to the author & asked him for the source on which he had based this episode in his text-book. After several reminders, Dr. Shastri replied that he had taken this information from the Mysore gazetteer. So Dr. Pande requested the Mysore university vice- chancellor, Sir Brijendra Nath Seal, to verify for him Dr. Shastri’s statement from the gazetteer. Sir Brijendra referred his letter to Prof. Srikantia who was then working on a new edition of the gazetteer. Srikantia wrote to say that the gazetteer mentioned no such incident and, as a historian himself, he was certain that nothing like this had taken place. Prof. Srikantia added that both the prime minister & commander-in-chief of Tipu Sultan were themselves Brahmins. He also enclosed a list of 136 Hindu temples which used to receive annual grants from the sultan’s treasury.
It inspired that Shastri had lifted this story from Colonel Miles, History of Mysore, which Miles claimed he had taken from a Persian manuscript in the personal library of Queen Victoria. When Dr. Pande checked further, he found that no such manuscript existed in Queen Victoria’s library.
British historian Sir Henry Elliot remarked that Hindus “had not left any account which could unable us to gauge the traumatic impact the Muslim conquest and rule had on them?” Since there was none, Elliot went on to produce his own eight-volume history of India with contributions from British historians (1867). His history claimed Hindus were slain for disputing with ‘Mohammedans’, generally prohibited from worshipping and taking out religious processions , their idols were mutilated , their temples were destroyed , they were forced into conversion & marriages , & were killed & massacred by drunk Muslim tyrants.

Riaz Haq said...

Throughout India’s freedom struggle, the RSS was subservient to the British, with its leadership prohibiting participation in mass movements.

On March 18, 1999, the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, issued a postage stamp commemorating K.B. Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS, as a great freedom fighter before an audience that consisted mostly of Sangh cadres. This move, Shamsul Islam wrote, was an attempt “to pass off a pre-independence political trend represented by the RSS as a legacy of the anti-colonial struggle whereas in reality the RSS was never part of the anti-imperialist struggle. On the contrary, since its inception in 1925, the RSS only tried to disrupt the great anti-imperialist struggle of the Indian people against the British colonial rulers.”

Hedgewar, the freedom fighter, was a pre-RSS Congressman, arrested and sentenced for a year’s imprisonment for his role in the Khilafat movement (1919-1924) – and that was his last participation in the freedom struggle. Soon after his release, Hedgewar, inspired by Savarkar’s idea of Hindutva, founded the RSS in September 1925. And this organisation, throughout the rest of its life under the British Raj, remained subservient to the colonising power and opposed the mass movements for India’s freedom in every phase of the struggle.

By the end of the decade in December 1940, when Gandhi had launched the satyagraha for Quit India, a note from the home department of the colonial government reveals that RSS leaders met the secretary of the home department and “promised the secretary to encourage members of the Sangh to join the civic guards in greater numbers,”. The civic guards was set up by the imperial government as one of the “special measures for internal security.”

RSS and its opposition to Quit India movement

A year-and-a-half after the Quit India movement was launched, the Bombay government of the British Raj noted in a memo, with considerable satisfaction, that “the Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law, and in particular, has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942.”

However, as in the previous case of the Dandi March, the cadres of the RSS were frustrated by their leaders who were holding them back from participating in the movement. “In 1942 also”, Golwalkar himself pointed out, “there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many…. Sangh is an organisation of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”

But the RSS leadership had a curious reason for not participating in the struggle for independence. In a speech given on June 1942 – months before an unnecessary, British-made famine was to kill at least three million Indians in Bengal – Golwalkar said that the “Sangh does not want to blame anybody else for the present degraded state of the society. When the people start blaming others, then there is basically weakness in them. It is futile to blame the strong for the injustice done to the weak…Sangh does not want to waste its invaluable time in abusing or criticising others. If we know that large fish eat the smaller ones, it is outright madness to blame the big fish. Law of nature whether good or bad is true all the time. This rule does not change by terming it unjust.”

Riaz Haq said...

When asked to discriminate against Shias, he (Aurangzeb) replied: What connection have earthly affairs with religion. And what right have administrative works to meddle with bigotry....If this rule were established, it would be my duty to extirpate all Hindu Rajahs and their followers. Wise men disapprove of the removal from office of able officers." Aurangzeb's administration included numerous Hindus, including Raja Ragunatha, who headed the treasury.

Aurangzeb’s most controversial state killing is his execution of Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru, in 1675. In the mid- to late-17th century, Tegh Bahadur caused unrest in Mughal-controlled Punjab, thereby posing a threat to state security and Aurangzeb’s authority. Contemporary Mughal sources do not even mention his execution, probably because, from a state perspective, it was unexceptional. Many moderns perceive this episode as a case where an Islamist king sought to stamp out Sikhism in its early days. A commonly repeated story is that Aurangzeb asked Tegh Bahadur to convert to Islam and then executed him when the Sikh guru stood firm in his faith. Given Aurangzeb’s typically harsh actions against state enemies, I find it unlikely that conversion, even if offered, would have saved Tegh Bahadur.

It was Aurangzeb’s preoccupation with state security that led to his policies toward Hindu temples, an issue that looms large in the public’s imagination in India today. Contrary to the contemporary view of Aurangzeb as a temple destroyer, thousands of Hindu temples adorned the landscape of Aurangzeb’s India, and the vast majority were still standing at the end of his rule. Plentiful evidence attests that Aurangzeb issued orders protecting Hindu and Jain temples, and granted temple associates land and other favours. Aurangzeb even chastised Muslims who troubled pious Brahmins.

Riaz Haq said...

Aurangzeb an excuse for Hindu Right to voice anti-Muslim feelingsDhairya Maheshwari DHAIRYA MAHESHWARI

Is there a difference between the outlook of Western scholars and Indian scholars towards Aurangzeb?

Some of the points that I make in the book are matters of scholarly consensus across the board, such as that we lack evidence for the popular view that Aurangzeb destroyed thousands of Hindu temples. Other arguments that I put forth are more controversial. But history is a scholarly discipline united by a common set of approaches and ethics, rather than a practice divided by nationality.

Who is more responsible for demonising the legacy of Aurangzeb– the British colonialists or the Right?

The Hindu Right has a long history of adopting colonial-era ideas, and their views on Aurangzeb are no exception. That said, British colonialism in India ended seventy years ago, and I do not think that its legacy excuses the hate-mongering we see among the Right in India today. Hindu nationalists despise Aurangzeb--or who they think Aurangzeb was, anyways--for largely disreputable reasons, including as a way of voicing anti-Muslim feelings.You mention in your book that Aurangzeb is as unpopular in Pakistan as he is in India. How, in your view, is he viewed in contemporary Pakistan?

Aurangzeb has a mixed reputation in modern-day Pakistan. Some Pakistanis malign him as a bigot, similar to the common Indian view. But other Pakistanis cherish Aurangzeb as the one truly Muslim king in the Mughal line. My book argues against the myth of Aurangzeb the Pious, just as it argues against the myth of Aurangzeb the Bigot.Wasn’t it paradoxical that while ordering demolition of temples, he also handed out huge grants to the Hindu community at the same time? Was it just statecraft?

I think that "just statecraft" is a bit dismissive. Political explanations go a long way toward explaining Aurangzeb's two-pronged policy of destroying and protecting Hindu temples. However, as I contend in the book, religious considerations were also likely involved in imperial decisions vis-a-vis individual temples, although not the types of religious considerations that Aurangzeb's modern detractors have written onto this premodern king.In a column you wrote this year, you say that many Indians “recoiled” at the thought of Hindu nationalism for much part of the 20th century. But there has been a surge in popular support for this ideology in the last decade or so, more so since 2014.

As a scholar on South Asia, how do you explain these changing attitudes of Indians, who, as you say, have been more of less into secular politics?

I think a layered explanation is probably most useful. We are witnessing a surge of religious nationalism worldwide. I think it's also relevant that India has moved far enough away from independence that living memory of the independence struggle is basically gone. Additionally, political corruption and changing economic approaches have played into the rise of Hindu nationalist political parties.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s Turn Toward Intolerance. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #cow #Modi #economy #jobs #BJP

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory as prime minister of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country’s economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his Bharatiya Janata Party.

But, under Mr. Modi’s leadership, growth has slowed, jobs have not materialized, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders.

Since Mr. Modi took office, there has been an alarming rise in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows, an animal held sacred to Hindus. Most of those killed have been Muslims. Mr. Modi spoke out against the killings only last month, not long after his government banned the sale of cows for slaughter, a move suspended by India’s Supreme Court. The ban, enforcing cultural stigma, would have fallen hardest on Muslims and low-caste Hindus traditionally engaged in the meat and leather industry.

It would also have struck a blow against Mr. Modi’s supposed priorities: employment, economic growth and boosting exports. The $16 billion industry employs millions of workers and generated $4 billion in export income last year.

More disturbing was his party’s decision to name Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu warrior-priest, as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, and a springboard to national leadership. Mr. Adityanath has called India’s Muslims “a crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped” and cried at one rally, “We are all preparing for religious war!”

This development led the analyst Neerja Chowdhury to observe: “India is moving right. Whether India moves further right, and Modi begins to be looked upon as a moderate, I think that only time will tell.”

On Tuesday, India’s film censor board, headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart apparently intent on protecting Mr. Modi and the party from criticism, ruled that a documentary film about one of India’s most famous sons, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, cannot be screened unless the director cuts the words “cow,” “Hindu India,” “Hindutva view of India” — meaning Hindu nationalism — and “Gujarat,” where Mr. Modi was chief minister at the time of deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002.

This might seem like merely a farcical move by Hindu fanatics, if it were not so in line with much else that is happening in Mr. Modi’s India, and if the implications for India’s democracy weren’t so chilling. But this is where Mr. Modi has brought the nation as it prepares to celebrate 70 years of independence on Aug. 15.

Riaz Haq said...

Joanna Lumley's India: is her TV show guilty of airbrushing history?
Joanna Lumley has returned to the land of her birth to celebrate India and walk in her ‘family’s footsteps’. But does her series overlook British oppression in the former colony – and her own ancestors’ role?

The trouble with Joanna Lumley’s India, currently showing on ITV, is that despite the promise to “celebrate” modern India and “walk in my family’s footsteps”, this isn’t the full story of Joanna Lumley’s India, and certainly not her family’s. Within minutes of the first episode, there is an omission. Strolling through Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, she points out the British-inspired architecture. But she fails to mention that St John’s Church, the first Anglican cathedral on the subcontinent, was built by James Agg, her great-great-great-great-grandfather and the first of her ancestors to arrive in 1777.

Perhaps she isn’t aware of the lineage. But it is not hard to trace it back. Or maybe it’s because of those four chilling words: British East India Company – the trading corporation turned “aggressive colonial power”, as the historian William Dalrymple put it, whose activities brought the word “loot” (from the Hindustani lut) into the English dictionary, and from which Agg seems likely to have made his fortune.

Not that you would think the company at all chilling from the revised history offered here. The company “bought some land” in Bengal, “started exporting” and then Kolkata “grew richer and richer”. These soundbites are not factually inaccurate. Yes, the capital of West Bengal grew “richer and richer”. But for who?

For men like James Agg, the “son of a common hard-working stonemason” as he is described in the memoirs of William Hickey (the two arrived on the same ship). Agg joined the EIC Army in 1781. By 1796, he was back in Britain a very rich man, one of the era’s nabobs or “Englishmen who flourish”. According to the 19th-century writer and traveller John Sullivan, such men acted “like a sponge, drawing up riches from the banks of the Ganges and squeezing them down upon the banks of the Thames”.

This is worth knowing not only because it’s the kind of family detail promised by the show, but also for the insight it offers into the poverty Lumley points out in Kolkata, for which no adequate context is given. The EIC was not just a bunch of merchants, but a military force that subjugated and plundered India throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. In Bengal, the first region to fall to the British, the immediate outcome was full pockets for the westerners and poverty for the citizens. Indians were blocked from trading, were forced off their land by impossible-to-pay taxes, and saw their world-renowned textile industry destroyed.

The poverty of this once-great city, Lumley tells us, is down to “conflict and politics”. Perhaps I misheard. She must have said “conquest and policies” – such as the 50% tax on income, the extraction of which was routinely helped along by torture. Defaulters could expect to be caged and left in the burning sun. Or at worst, to quote Edmund Burke’s 1795 testimony in Parliament about the horrors inflicted upon Bengali women, “they were dragged out, naked and exposed to the public view, and scourged before all the people ... they put the nipples of the women into the sharp edges of split bamboos and tore them from their bodies”.

Riaz Haq said...

Top #Trump aide Steve Bannon believes #Muslims, #MidEast, #Pakistan are primeval: Joshua Green in his recent book. .... Joshua Green, author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, And The Storming Of The Presidency" on NPR's Fresh Air: "I talk a little bit about Bannon's time in the Navy. He was on a destroyer in the Persian Gulf right during the Iran hostage crisis and described to me the Middle East, Pakistan as being almost primeval. He considered Muslims these frightening, threatening people who ultimately wanted to invade the West. And I think that that is where a lot of his anti-immigrant, Islamophobic ideas really started from"

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims were the real hero of #India's #Freedom struggle than so called #Hindutva Group, Says Prashant Bhushan

He said that almost all of the patriotic slogans and songs in the fight for freedom were written by almost all the Muslims while Hindutva organisation or group did nothing. He clearly pointed to the specific group, but the damage was done and he started getting trolled. On this tweet of Prashant Bhushan, people accused him of sacrificing religious freedom on the fate of the freedom struggle. Prashant Bhushan, in his tweet, wrote the names of the people who had given it, and who gave that slogan. Prashant Bhushan, while referring to Suraiya Tayabjee, wrote that a Muslim had a hand in shaping the country’s tricolour.

Riaz Haq said...

Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (review)
Kanishka Chowdhury

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:
Reviewed by
Kanishka Chowdhury
Gauri Viswanathan. Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India. New York: Columbia UP, 1989. 206 pp. $32.50.
In his Prison Notebooks Antonio Gramsci argues that a class can exercise its power not merely by the use of military force but by an institutionalized system of moral and intellectual leadership that propogates certain ideas and beliefs. For Gramsci "cultural hegemony" is maintained through the consent of the dominated class which assures the intellectual and material supremacy of the ruling class. In Masks of Conquest, Gauri Viswanathan uses this Gramscian model of hegemony to analyze the relationship between British political and commercial interests and the establishment of English Literature as a discipline in India. [End Page 331]
Early in the book Viswanathan clearly states that the literary curriculum was introduced in India not to demonstrate the superiority of English culture but to "mask" the economic exploitation of the colonized. The propagation of English literature among the "natives," from the vigorous attempts by the secularized government schools to the more uneasy attempts by the Christian missionary schools, was ultimately carried out to ensure the authority of the British government and to create a stable state in which British mercantile and military interests could flourish.
In the last of six central chapters, however, Viswanathan cleverly points out the inherent contradictions in the colonial project of creating an educated elite. Aside from developing a dissatisfied class that was denied any suitable employment opportunities, the literary curriculum highlighted the problems of a system which advocated both social control and social advancement.
Viswanathan is also careful not to oversimplify the British educational objectives in India. Using a variety of resources, she demonstrates the continual modification of the British educational goals which together created the discipline of English studies. Her attention to archival material and historical details often leads to fascinating excerpts, such as an examination paper by a certain Nobinchunder Dass of Hooghly College, Calcutta, who effusively praises the colonizer's culture. Much of Viswanathan's work, in fact, concentrates on bringing together various pamphlets, tracts, periodicals, and government sources. But Viswanathan is often inclined to be overly absorbed by her material, as in Chapter Two, "Preparatio Evangelica," where she devotes considerable space to a biographical sketch of Alexander Duff. Indeed, Viswanathan sometimes professes a greater interest in imperial representatives than in the material conditions that produced their work.

Viswanathan's brief concluding section, "Empire and the Canon," points out the dangers of reading nineteenth-century educational practice as continuous with contemporary English studies in India. Warning us about the "illusion of historical continuity," however, does not necessarily demystify the ironies of a postcolonial educational system in which an ostensibly leftist government in Bengal rigidly enforces the study of canonical English texts.
The value of Masks of Conquest finally is its important reminder that educational systems and curriculum developments must be judged in historical perspective. Viswanathan's intellectual history of British educational practice in India is both a compelling account of the relationship between power and culture and an indictment of the exploitative tendencies of ruling class interests. [End Page 332]

Riaz Haq said...

Split #India: #Hindu Nationalist #RSS did not support #Gandhi's #QuitIndiaMovement Against #British Raj

The following are excerpts from some of the speeches that stood out:

Elephant in the room

The role the RSS did not play or did play in the freedom movement hung heavy.

Narendra Modi: Every individual in the country had become part of the Quit India Movement. Inspired by Gandhiji's words, the whole country was moving forward....

Sonia Gandhi: When we remember freedom fighters, we should not forget there were outfits and people in that period who opposed the Quit India Movement. These elements had no role in the freedom struggle.

(Murmurs of disapproval swept through the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha, and BJP member Kirron Kher was heard saying: "Sad, sad.... This is the tragedy of Parliament."Although BJP members usually do not miss any chance to register their loyalty to the parent, none got up to contest Sonia.)

Whither India?

Modi: In 1942, the clarion call was "karenge ya marenge (do or die)". Today, it is "karenge aur kar ke rahenge (we will do and surely do)". The country needs the spirit of the Quit India Movement to develop into an India of the dreams of the freedom fighters in 2022. Corruption, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition are the greatest challenges that India now needs to overcome and we should rise above political considerations and resolve to bring about a positive change.

(The Prime Minister divided India's pre-independence journey in two phases from 1857 to 1941 and 1942 to 1947. He said the first phase was incremental but the second one - 1942-47 - was "transformative and delivered the objective". He said the country needed the same spirit in its journey from 2017 to 2022.)

Sonia: Fear is replacing freedom.... Isn't it true that there is an attempt to destroy the foundations of our democracy which rests on freedom of thought and faith, equality and social justice? We can't let the idea of India be a prisoner of a narrow, divisive and communal ideology.... It appears our secular, democratic and liberal values are in peril. Space for debate, disagreement and dissent is shrinking.

Kanimozhi: The only real freedom (to expect) is freedom from fear.... If our women, if our people, if our Dalits, if the underprivileged, the backward communities and the minorities are not free from fear of the future, then there is nothing to feel proud of.

(Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, recalled freedom fighters from her state who took part in the Quit India Movement without knowing Hindi. Many were non-Hindus who ate what they wanted.) Are they in any way less of Indians? Are they less than anybody else? But today, if I don't speak Hindi, people think I am less of an Indian. If I don't eat what some people think is right, or if I am an atheist, I am not an Indian. Why have we become this?

Whether it is a rape, whether it is stalking, whether it is an acid attack, it is always the woman who is being questioned. Why? Are we not ashamed of ourselves? We should be ashamed of even questioning why the woman is out.

Sugata Bose: Modiji says that the next five years will be transformative. We sometimes wonder is it transformative because the three top constitutional posts are held by people belonging to the same ideology? We cannot but express some concern. If he truly wants all evils to quit India by 2022, including communalism, in the pejorative sense of that word, we hope that he will take stronger action against those who are spreading the poison of hatred and killing human beings in the name of religion.

(Amid thumping of desks by Opposition members) I appeal to the Prime Minister to stop the engines of coercion in their tracks. Faith in India's destiny rescues us from debilitating pessimism in the face of ferocious assaults on the expression of rational difference.

Riaz Haq said...

Sense of unease among Muslims: Says retiring #Muslim VP of #India Hamid Ansari. #Modi #Lynchistan via @timesofindia

In his last interview before demitting the office of India's vice-president, Hamid Ansari has said that Muslims in the country were experiencing "a feeling of unease".

"A sense of insecurity is creeping in" as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism, he added. Ansari also said he shared the view of many that intolerance was growing. In hard-hitting remarks during an interview to Rajya Sabha TV, he ascribed the spate of vigilante violence, mob lynchings, beef bans and "Ghar Wapsi" campaigns to a "breakdown of Indian values" and to the "breakdown of the ability of the authorities" to enforce the law. "...and overall, the very fact that (the) Indianness of any citizen (is) being questioned is a disturbing thought," Ansari said.

Asked in an interview why he thought Indian values were "suddenly" breaking down, Vice-President Hamid Ansari answered: "Because we are a plural society that for centuries, not for 70 years, has lived in a certain ambience of acceptance."
He said this acceptance was "under threat". "This propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is unnecessary. I am an Indian and that is it," he told Rajya Sabha TV.

On Thursday, Ansari demits an office that only S Radhakrishnan had occupied as long: 10 years.

Asked specifically about his speech on Sunday in which he spoke about a nationalism with cultural commitments at its core being perceived as the most conservative and illiberal form of nationalism, and whether the remark was about the mood of the country in 2017, he replied: "Oh, absolutely." And he agreed he had felt a personal need to underline that this need to keep proving one's patriotism, and the intolerance it made for, was unhealthy: "Yes. And I am not the only one in the country; a great many people feel the same way." Asked if he had shared these apprehensions with the PM or the government, he replied: "Yes... But what passes between the Vice-President and the PM in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged information."

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion

AUG. 11, 2017

August 15, 1947, deserved to be remembered, the African-American writer W.E.B. Du Bois argued, “as the greatest historical date” of modern history. It was the day India became independent from British rule, and Du Bois believed the event was of “greater significance” than even the establishment of democracy in Britain, the emancipation of slaves in the United States or the Russian Revolution. The time “when the white man, by reason of the color of his skin, can lord it over colored people” was finally drawing to a close.

It is barely remembered today that India’s freedom heralded the liberation, from Tuskegee to Jakarta, of a majority of the world’s population from the degradations of racist imperialism. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that there had been nothing “more horrible” in human history than the days when millions of Africans “were carried away in galleys as slaves to America and elsewhere.” As he said in a resonant speech on Aug. 15, 1947, long ago India had made a “tryst with destiny,” and now, by opening up a broad horizon of human emancipation, “we shall redeem our pledge.”

But India, which turns 70 next week, seems to have missed its appointment with history. A country inaugurated by secular freedom fighters is presently ruled by religious-racial supremacists. More disturbing still than this mutation are the continuities between those early embodiments of postcolonial virtue and their apparent betrayers today.

Du Bois would have been heartbroken to read the joint statement that more than 40 African governments released in April, denouncing “xenophobic and racial” attacks on Africans in India and asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate. The rise in hate crimes against Africans is part of a sinister trend that has accelerated since the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

Another of its bloodcurdling manifestations is the lynching of Muslims suspected of eating or storing beef. Others include assaults on couples who publicly display affection and threats of rape against women on social media by the Hindu supremacists’ troll army. Mob frenzy in India today is drummed up by jingoistic television anchors and vindicated, often on Twitter, by senior politicians, businessmen, army generals and Bollywood stars.

Hindu nationalists have also come together to justify India’s intensified military occupation of Muslim-majority Kashmir, as well as a nationwide hunt for enemies: an ever-shifting and growing category that includes writers, liberal intellectuals, filmmakers who work with Pakistani actors and ordinary citizens who don’t stand up when the national anthem is played in cinemas. The new world order — just, peaceful, equal — that India’s leaders promised at independence as they denounced their former Western masters’ violence, greed and hypocrisy is nowhere in sight.

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

India’s lynch mobs today represent the latest and most grisly expression of such cynical political ideologies. As the sheer brutishness of Mr. Modi’s populism becomes clear, the memory of the aristocratic Nehru becomes more sacred, especially among politicians and commentators from India’s English-speaking upper castes. But Mr. Modi has also turned that legacy of high-flown promises to his political advantage.

Nehru and his followers had articulated an influential ideology of Indian exceptionalism, claiming moral prestige and geopolitical significance for India’s uniquely massive and diverse democracy. Only many of those righteous notions also reeked of upper-caste sanctimony and class privilege. Mr. Modi has effectively mobilized those Indians who have long felt marginalized and humiliated by India’s self-serving Nehruvian elite into a large vote bank of ressentiment.

Virtuous talk of unity in diversity and secularism has been replaced by a barefaced Hindu nationalism: The tattered old masks, and the gloves, have come off. The state, colonized by an ideological movement, is emerging triumphant over society. With the media’s help, it is assuming extraordinary powers of control — telling people what they should eat at home and how they should behave in public, and whom to lynch.

Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own.

And so one can, of course, mourn this Aug. 15 as marking the end of India’s tryst with destiny or, more accurately, the collapse of our exalted ideas about ourselves. But a sober reckoning with the deep malaise in India can be bracing, too. For it confirms that the world as we have known it, molded by the beneficiaries of both Western imperialism and anti-imperialist nationalism, is crumbling, and that in the East as well as the West, all of us are now called to fresh struggles for freedom, equality and dignity.

Riaz Haq said...

The lies Brits tell themselves about how they left behind a better India

Railways. The British built the railways primarily for themselves, using their own technology and forcing Indians to buy British equipment. Each mile of the Indian railway constructed cost nine times as much as the same in the US, and twice that in difficult and less populated Canada and Australia. The bills were footed by Indian taxpayers and British investors received a guaranteed return on their capital. Freight charges were dirt cheap, and Indians who traveled 3rd class paid for expensive tickets.
Tea. The British desire to end their dependence on Chinese tea prompted them to set up plantations in India. Following many failed attempts, they managed to find a local version that worked. For this, the British felled vast forests, stripped the tribals who lived there of their rights, and then paid Indian labourers poorly to cultivate the cleared areas. Once the tea was ready, it was shipped off to Britain or sold internationally. The little bit left in India was too expensive, until the Great Depression when weak global demand finally let Indians enjoy the delights of the drink.
Cricket. “Yes, the British brought it to us,” Tharoor writes. “But they did not do so in the expectation that we would defeat them one day at their own game, or that our film-makers would win an Oscar nomination for an improbable tale about a motley bunch of illiterate villagers besting their colonial overlords at a fictional 19th-century match (Lagaan, 2001).”
English language. The British made it absolutely clear that it was only taught to serve their own purpose. Lord Macaulay wrote: “We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect.” (This is the same Macaulay who also said, “A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.”)
“That Indians seized the English language and turned it into an instrument for our own liberation was to their credit, not by British design,” Tharoor writes.
The upshot of the empire, as Tharoor puts it, was that “What had once been one of the richest and most industrialised economies of the world, which together with China accounted for almost 75% of world industrial output in 1750, had been reduced by the depredations of imperial rule to one of the poorest, most backward, illiterate and diseased societies on Earth by the time of independence in 1947.”
Inglorious Empire shows in full glory how the British systematically purged India’s riches, destroyed its institutions, and created divisions among its peoples. Worse still, there has been no formal apology for what the empire wreaked on its subjects. Instead, there is rising nostalgia for the empire as nationalism surges in a country that is now three ranks below India in the size of its economy.

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: Why #Hindu nationalists are afraid of #Mughals. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia … via @DailyO

Hindu nationalists are arguably growing bolder in their anti-Muslim bigotry, as can be seen from the names they choose to fill the vacuum created by their erasure of the Mughals. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road, and thus an acceptable Muslim - in Hindutva eyes - supplanted an unacceptable one. But Mughalsarai is being replaced by the name of a Hindutva man. Ajmer's Akbar Road is now known, blandly, as Ajmer Fort. Instead of learning about the Mughals, Maharashtrian school children will learn more about the myth of Shivaji (the actual history of Shivaji being largely unpalatable to current Hindutva sensibilities and so obscured). Such actions communicate the hateful view that only a narrow band of Hindu nationalists can qualify as patriots.

Over the last several years, Hindu nationalists have fought - with increasing success - to remove traces of the Mughals from the Indian public sphere. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed in Delhi. Other renamings have followed, including, this year, Akbar Fort in Ajmer and Mughalsarai Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh. A second front of the Hindu nationalist war on Indian history is school textbooks. The RSS has been saffronising Indian textbooks for some time, and news broke this month that they had wiped all but a few lines on Akbar from Maharashtrian textbooks.

Hindu nationalists have offered several justifications for their sanitising efforts. Early on, they rallied against honoring tyrants or "invaders," as the Rajasthan education minister described the likes of the Indian-born Akbar. As the months and years have passed, many on the Hindu Right have offered alternative motivations that deemphasise their Islamophobia.

For instance, the recent changes to Maharashtrian textbooks have been characterised by those responsible as framing history within a "Maharashtra-centric point of view." Yogi Adityanath's government has defended its retitling of Mughalsarai Railway Station as having little to do with the Mughals and instead as an attempt to pay tribute to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, an RSS ideologue whose name the railway station will soon bear.

Such flimsy justifications do little to cover up the real fuel behind the Hindu nationalist renaming frenzy: hatred of Muslims, past and present.

India's Hindu Right has never been good with history. For instance, in the lead up to the seventieth anniversary of India's independence, we have seen an uptick in desperate Hindu nationalist claims that the RSS participated in the Quit India Movement, in contravention to the real story that the RSS was somewhere between being aloof from the independence movement and collaborating with the British Empire.

Shame about opting out of the Quit India Movement is understandable, given subsequent historical events. But why is the Hindu Right unable to come to terms with the Mughals, an empire that ended 150 years ago in name and fell apart far earlier in terms of power? For the rest of the world, the Mughals are ancient history, best left to the musty shelves of libraries and the curious minds of scholars. So why are the Mughals - long ago decayed into the dust of the earth-so viscerally threatening to the 21st century Hindu Right?

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #BJP Using History to Divide, Rule People. #Islamophobia #Hindu #Muslim #RSS #textbooks via @thenation

Why the Battle for India’s Past Is a Fight for Its Future
Seventy years after partition, India’s ruling party is using history to divide the country.

In India, history is increasingly finding its way into contemporary debates. That is in large part because Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”—the defining ideology of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—draws its animus from the past, or at least a vision of the past. (Full disclosure: My father is a member of Parliament for the opposition Congress party, but my views on these issues far predate his political activities.)

At stake is the very conception of what defines India. Is it the pluralist civilization that leaders of the independence era like Nehru imagined? Or is Indian civilization synonymous with Hindu civilization and identity?

The BJP and its ideological allies believe that India is fundamentally a Hindu nation with a proud Hindu history. Using this as justification, it routinely invokes and attempts to correct imagined historical grievances. After years of mobilization, activists in 1992 demolished a nearly 500-year-old mosque in Ayodhya in the north of India, because it was thought to sit on top of a temple that marked the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram.

The main target of Hindu nationalists is India’s Muslim community, who compose roughly 15 percent of the population (close to 200 million people). Islam has been in India for over a millennium, but Hindu nationalists often depict Muslims as outsiders who are graciously “tolerated,” making their presence in India a testament to foreign invasion and their history one of foreign tyranny.

All nation-states—but especially new ones—use history to burnish their claims of grandeur and legitimacy in the present. After partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan laid claim to the physical and symbolic inheritance of the Indus Valley Civilization. In 1950, while working as a consultant with the Pakistani government, the British archaeologist Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler published an archaeological survey titled Five Thousand Years of Pakistan that sought to endow millennia of history upon a three-year-old nation. A modern nation-state drawn up by British civil servants in the middle of the 20th century can hardly be a prism for understanding South Asia’s deep past. And yet that implausible notion is still invoked by Pakistani nationalists today.

Of course, India and Pakistan have had much more heated contests; they’ve fought several wars and remain at loggerheads over the disputed territory of Kashmir. But the battle over the Indus Valley objects presaged the enduring importance of historical symbols in modern Indian politics.


Similarly, evidence of the plural history of India poses a problem to Hindu nationalists who want to define India as an eternally Hindu nation. That’s why they are engaged on several fronts in fighting a cultural war of historical revisionism. This battle for the past has extended to the Indus Valley Civilization. Where Nehru turned to Mohenjodaro as an example of general Indian accomplishment, some Hindu nationalists now attempt to claim the Indus Valley as a “Vedic” or Hindu culture, a dubious assertion according to historians.

These historical debates have real consequences. Since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, Muslims and other minority groups have become increasingly demonized at all levels of society, resulting in a horrific spate of attacks, riots, and lynchings in the past year. Much like the pluralist nationalists before them, Hindu nationalists seek to impose their understanding of history on the country to mold the present. But they turn to the past in order to divide and exclude, to suggest that even though all Indians are equal, some are more equal than others.

Riaz Haq said...

Who invented Hinduism?

by David N. Lorenzen

"Over the past decade, many scholars have put forward the claim that Hinduism was constructed, invented and imagined by the British scholars and colonial administrators in the 19th century and did not exist in any meaningful way before this date"

"There is also a consensus that the name Sindhu became "Hind" or "Hindu" in Persian languages and then re-entered Indian languages as "Hindu"

Riaz Haq said...

No, Mughals didn't loot India. They made us rich
They remained as Indians, not colonists.

From 16th century to 18th century, the Mughal kingdom was the richest and most powerful kingdom in the world and as French traveller Francois Bernier, who came to India in the 17th century, wrote, “Gold and silver come from every quarter of the globe to Hinduostan.”

This is hardly surprising considering that Sher Shah, and the Mughals had encouraged trade by developing roads, river transport, sea routes, ports and abolishing many inland tolls and taxes. Indian handicrafts were developed. There was a thriving export trade in manufactured goods such as cotton cloth, spices, indigo, woollen and silk cloth, salt etc.

The Indian merchants trading on their own terms and taking only bullion as payment, leading Sir Thomas Roe to say that "Europe bleedeth to enrich Asia".

This trade was traditionally in the hands of the Hindu merchant class who controlled the trade. In fact, Bernier wrote that the Hindus possessed "almost exclusively the trade and wealth of the country". The Muslims mainly held high administrative and army posts.

A very efficient system of administration set up by Akbar facilitated an environment of trade and commerce.

It was this which led the East India Company to seek trade concessions from the Mughal empire and eventually control then destroy it.

A very interesting painting in possession of the British Library painted by Spiridione Roma, named The East Offering Her Riches to Britannia, dated 1778, shows Britannia looking down on a kneeling India who is offering her crown surrounded by rubies and pearls. The advent of the famous drain of wealth from India started with the East India Company not the Delhi Sultanate or the Mughals.

Edmund Burke was the first to use the phrase in the 1780s when he said, India had been "radically and irretrievably ruined" through the company’s "continual Drain" of wealth.

Let us examine India’s economic status prior to its becoming a British colony.

The Cambridge historian Angus Maddison writes in his book, Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD: Essays in Macro-economic History, that while India had the largest economy till 1000 AD (with a GDP share of 28.9 per cent in 1000AD) there was no economic growth. It was during the 1000 AD-1500 AD that India began to see a economic growth with its highest (20.9 per cent GDP growth rate) being under the Mughals. In the 18th century, India had overtaken China as the largest economy in the world.

Riaz Haq said...

How the British convinced Hindus that Muslims were despots and religious invaders

The East India Company wanted to be seen as a rectifier of the historical harm inflicted by the Muslims.

It is a fact not so easily known, thus rarely acknowledged, that the British colonial project in India at one moment turned into an excavation of India’s pasts. This excavation was aimed at exploring the arrival of various foreign people, cultures, religions and politics into the subcontinent. After all, the Indian peninsula had been the site of commercial, political and military incursions by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Timurids since 1498. Surely, one reason for the excavation was that, as the latest foreigners to arrive in India, the British wanted a justification for their own arrival. The other reason is tied to the way in which the British saw themselves as heirs to the Romans.

Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776, the year Great Britain lost 13 of its colonies in America. All six volumes of the book came out by 1788 to tremendous acclaim and sales. A central theme in Gibbon’s work was his quest for historical linkages between Pax Britannica – the period of British-dominated world order – and Pax Romana.

He provided the foundational stone for a theory that sought to legitimise British colonial enterprise as a successor to a great empire of the past that brought a long era of peace and prosperity for Europe in its wake. Even more influential, I would argue, is his exploration of the relationship between race and politics within the context of the Roman experience. This relationship was immediately employed in legitimising the British conquest of India.


John Jehangir Bede’s doctoral dissertation, The Arabs in Sind: 712-1026 AD, was written within this academic context. Submitted to the University of Utah in 1973, the thesis remained unpublished until Karachi’s Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh printed it earlier this year.

We do not know why Bede never published his work. Notes on the dust jacket of the book state that all attempts to trace his family or career were largely unsuccessful. The only thing we know is that he worked with Dr Aziz S Atiya, an influential historian of the Crusades, and that his work has been cited and expanded upon by historians such as Derryl MacLean, Mubarak Ali, Muhammad Yar Khan and Yohannan Friedman in the 1980s and 1990s. How are we to read this dissertation in 2017? One possible way is to see what the history of Muslim origins in India, as well as the historiography detailed above, looked like in 1973.

Bede starts his dissertation by reflecting on the fact that the history of Sindh has received little contemporary attention. He observes that this is because there have been relatively few textual sources for this history and that historians have been “generally subject to preconceived prejudices mainly colored by the religious outlook of particular authors”.

Instead of treating the Muslims as religious invaders, he explores an economic basis for their conquest of Sindh by examining a variety of sources, earliest of which date to the middle of the 9th century. In his last chapter, Commerce and Culture in Sind, he draws upon travelogues, merchant accounts and poetry from the ninth and 10th centuries to argue that there once existed an interconnected Indian Ocean world in which Sindh was a pivot.

Riaz Haq said...

A conversation with Dr Audrey Truschke, the author of Aurangzeb: The life and legacy of India’s most controversial king

Truschke points out that Aurangzeb was fluent in Hindi from childhood, and quotes the Italian traveler Niccoli Manucci about Aurangzeb “He was of a melancholy temperament, always busy at something or another, wishing to execute justice and arrive at appropriate decisions.” She also quotes Ishvaradasa, a Hindu astrologer, who wrote about Aurangzeb in Sanskrit in 1663 calling the king righteous (dharmya) and even noted that the King’s tax policies were lawful (vidhivat). Truschke’s point is not that Aurangzeb was just but rather that a wide variety of individuals, including “Hindus,” identified Aurangzeb’s pursuit of his vision of justice as crucial to his kingship.

She also quotes the following stanza authored by Chandar Bhan Brahman, a Hindu, Persian-medium poet in Aurangzeb’s employ:

O King may the world bow to your command;
May lips drip with expressions of thanks and salutations;
Since it is your spirit that watches over the people,
Wherever you are, may God watch over you!

She continues “Hindus fared well in Aurangzeb’s massive bureaucracy, finding employment and advancement opportunities. Since Akbar’s time, Rajputs and other Hindus had served as full members of the Mughal administration. Like their Muslim counterparts, they received formal ranks known as mansabs that marked their status in the imperial hierarchy and fought to expand the empire.”

Truschke quotes Aurangzeb’s February 1659 farman “You must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmins or other Hindus of that region, so that they might remain in their place and pray for the continuance of the Empire.”

Truschke concludes “I have argued that Aurangzeb acted according to his ideals of justice, commitment to political and ethical conduct (adaab and akhlaq), and the necessities of politics. Aurangzeb’s worldview was also shaped by his piety and the Mughal culture he inherited. He was not interested in fomenting Hindu-Muslim conflict – a modern obsession with modern stakes- but he was fixated on dispensing his brand of justice, upholding Mughal traditions, and expanding his grip across the subcontinent.”

I interviewed Dr. Truschke about her fascinating new book “Aurangzeb: The life and Legacy of India’s most controversial king.”

Riaz Haq said...

What #India's textbooks don't tell us: Why the #Rajputs failed miserably in battle for centuries. #Mughal #Muslims

The home minister, Rajnath Singh, wishes our school textbooks told us more about the Rajput king Rana Pratap, and less about the Mughal emperor Akbar. I, on the other hand, wish they explained why Rajputs fared so miserably on the battlefield.

A thousand years ago, Rajput kings ruled much of North India. Then they lost to Ghazni, lost to Ghuri, lost to Khilji, lost to Babur, lost to Akbar, lost to the Marathas, and keeled over before the British. The Marathas and Brits hardly count since the Rajputs were a spent force by the time Akbar was done with them. Having been confined to an arid part of the subcontinent by the early Sultans, they were reduced to vassals by the Mughals.

The three most famous Rajput heroes not only took a beating in crucial engagements, but also retreated from the field of battle. Prithviraj Chauhan was captured while bolting and executed after the second battle of Tarain in 1192 CE, while Rana Sanga got away after losing to Babur at Khanua in 1527, as did Rana Pratap after the battle of Haldighati in 1576. To compensate for, or explain away, these debacles, the bards of Rajputana replaced history with legend.

Specialists in failure

It is worth asking, surely, what made Rajputs such specialists in failure. Yet, the question hardly ever comes up. When it does, the usual explanation is that the Rajputs faced Muslim invaders whose fanaticism was their strength. Nothing could be further than the truth. Muslim rulers did use the language of faith to energise their troops, but commitment is only the first step to victory. The Rajputs themselves never lacked commitment, and their courage invariably drew the praise of their enemies. Even a historian as fundamentalist as Badayuni rhapsodised about Rajput valour. Babur wrote that his troops were unnerved, ahead of the Khanua engagement, by the reputed fierceness of Rana Sanga’s forces, their willingness to fight to the death.

Let’s cancel out courage and fanaticism as explanations, then, for each side displayed these in equal measure. What remains is discipline, technical and technological prowess, and tactical acumen. In each of these departments, the Rajputs were found wanting. Their opponents, usually Turkic, used a complex battle plan involving up to five different divisions. Fleet, mounted archers would harry opponents at the start, and often make a strategic retreat, inducing their enemy to charge into an ambush. Behind these stood the central division and two flanks. While the centre absorbed the brunt of the enemy’s thrust, the flanks would wheel around to surround and hem in opponents. Finally, there was a reserve that could be pressed into action wherever necessary. Communication channels between divisions were quick and answered to a clear hierarchy that was based largely on merit.

Riaz Haq said...

Islam in South Asia presdates Mohammad Bin Qasim's invasion.

A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia is a critical literary, historical
and intellectual analysis of a 13
th century Persian text which tells the story of the Arab invasions of
Sindh in the 7-8
th centuries. Asad Abbasi finds the book an important re-examination of a key text
which has been used to perpetuate the myth that Hindus and Muslims are historic enemies, despite
offering a moral conduct for governance.
A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia . Manan Ahmed Asif.
Harvard University Press. 2016.


Asif implies that previous commentators have invariably selected, chopped, derided, ridiculed, and ignored parts of
the text to fit their own agendas. But there are two common assumptions that still hold, primarily because of how Ali
Kufi frames his work: first, the Chachnama is a translation of an Arabic manuscript, and second it is a book about
conquest in eighth century Sindh. Asif rejects both these assumptions. He argues the Chachnama is an original
book of political theory written in Persian addressed to the audience of thirteenth century Sindh.
Asif builds on work by Muzaffar Alam and A.C.S. Peacock in challenging the notion that the text is a translation.
Alam, an eminent Mughal historian, proposes that translation was key part of ‘Persianisation’ i.e. process for the
elites to move away from religious values towards more secular methods (p. 55). Peacock, Professor of History at St Andrews, views the translations of that period as ‘transcreations or commentarial interpretations’. Asif highlights that
in the 13th century claiming a book’s Arabic heritage was customary but also very prudent for raising author’s
profile. Kufi’s contemporaries such as Awfi and Juzjani are known to have employed similar methods. The historians
of thirteenth century may call their own work translations but ‘saw pedagogy and self-reflection as key function of the
texts’ (p. 60).
Asif also argues that the Chachnama does not fit the mould of other conquest narratives within Arabic
historiography. These differences are stark: while the conquest narrative deals in proper names; the Chachnama
gives ‘general attributes’ and uses generic citations (p. 63). The Arabic conquest literature focuses on plot of the
story, description of land and regions; Kufi, instead, writes about ‘inner turmoil, deliberation, doubts and planning of
the campaign’. The conquest narratives paint dismal picture of pre-Islamic times; Chachnama informs the reader of
the wealth and resources in Sind before Muhammad Bin Qasim. Furthermore, unlike the conquest narratives, Kufi
draws comparisons between the Hindu ruler Chach, and the Muslim ruler Bin Qasim (p. 66). Based on these
differences, Asif contends that the Chachnama is not a conquest narrative but ‘an Indic political theory’ which is
‘deeply ingrained in the physical geography and spatial constraint of the thirteenth century’ (p. 67).
Asif’s interpretation differs significantly from those of earlier commentators.


The falsehood that Hindus and Muslims are enemies who have been engaged in conflict since time immemorial is
perpetuated by centres of power to establish legitimacy. The British used it to legitimise colonisation, for Pakistani
state it provides legitimacy for military expenditure and for Hindu nationalists it becomes the basis for delegitimising
last one thousand years of Indian history. Asif’s new volume seeks to challenge the misinterpretations of the
Chachnama that has arisen from its use in these instrumental narratives.

Riaz Haq said...

#Islamophobia, #casteism characterize #Hindu comics Amar Chitra Katha. #BJP #Modi #Hinduism

since its debut in 1967, ACK has also helped supply impressionable generations of middle-class children a vision of “immortal” Indian identity wedded to prejudiced norms. ACK’s writing and illustrative team (led by Pai as the primary “storyteller”) constructed a legendary past for India by tying masculinity, Hinduism, fair skin, and high caste to authority, excellence, and virtue. On top of that, his comics often erased non-Hindu subjects from India’s historic and religious fabric. Consequently, ACK reinforced many of the most problematic tenets of Hindu nationalism—tenets that partially drive the platform of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, currently under fire domestically and internationally for policies and rhetoric targeting religious minorities and lower castes.

Yet millions of children—myself included—revered “Uncle Pai” for creating a popular avenue to an Indian heritage, however limited. Like many other Indian diaspora kids, my mother brought her own collection when she immigrated to the United States as a 9-year-old in 1973. My family had built a library of some 90 issues by the time I began to read them, tattered from decades of swapping between cousins. When I was a boy growing up in upstate New York, my parents had no Indian friends or nearby relatives. We only spoke in English and ate burritos more often than dal bhat.

The heroes of ACK became my superheroes long before I discovered Spider-Man or the Flash. They also became my first window into a culture I barely knew. I didn’t care that the protagonists I was reading about were drawn with white skin. I was unaware of the broader, ongoing effort by Hindu nationalists to define a doctrine devaluing lower castes, women, tribal populations, and religious minorities. I didn’t understand how ideals of obedience to authority—something the comics taught—can feed systemic inequality. I was just reading about heroes who made me feel stronger than I was, and who would teach me, I believed, how to be Indian.

* * *

ACK defines Indian identity via stories—which naturally appealed to a bookish child like me who constantly escaped into the worlds of Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, and C.S. Lewis. Most histories in the comics feature virtuous Hindus who fight against evil rulers, an encroaching Muslim horde, or arrogant British imperialists. The religious stories are drawn from (usually Hindu) epics, sacred texts, and folktales, and they frequently weave the same gods and heroes among minor vignettes and massive story arcs. Though many ACK issues could stand alone, roughly 30 pages at a time the series constructed a limited and tonally consistent India sanitized through a distinctively Hindu lens.

While many scholars reject the notion of a single Hindu doctrine, they have some opponents. In 2008, Hindu nationalist students at Delhi University protested the inclusion of A.K. Ramanujan’s landmark essay “Three Hundred Ramayanas” in the history syllabus. The protestors alleged that it demeaned Hinduism to imply nonclassical versions of the epic were equally legitimate. Under a renewed wave of dissent in 2011, the university dropped the essay from the syllabus.

Riaz Haq said...

Classical #Hindustani #Music Gharanas are almost all #Muslim. Here's a list: #India

Gwalior Gharana - This is the oldest among all the Khayal Gayaki (vocal) styles. The distinctive feature of this style of singing has been noted as its lucidity and simplicity.
Founders - Ustad Hassu Khan, Ustad Haddu Khan, Ustad Nathu Khan
Exponents - Bal Krishna BaIchal Karanjikar, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Malini Rajurkar

Agra Gharana-The Agra Gharana places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant.
Founders- Haji Sujan Khan, Ustad Ghagghe Khuda Baksh
Exponents-The important singers of this Gharana are Faiyyaz Khan, Latafat Hussein Khan and Dinkar Kakini.

Kirana Gharana - It derives its name from the birthplace of Abdul Kharim Khan of Kirana near Kurukshetra. In the Kirana style of singing, the swara is used to create an emotional mood by means of elongation and use of Kana-s.
Founders - Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid Khan
Exponents - Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Prabha Atre.

Jaipur - Atrauli Gharana- The most distinctive feature of the Jaipur Gharana can be best described as its complex and melodic form which arises out of the involutedly and undulating phrases that comprise the piece.
Founders - Ustad Alladiya Khan
Exponents - Alladiya Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kesarbhai Kerkar, Kishori Amonkar, Shruti Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.

Rampur Sahaswan Gharana- The Rampur Sahaswan Gharana there is a stress on the clarity of swara in this style and the development and elaboration of the raga is done through a stepwise progression.
Founders - Ustad Inayat Khan
Exponents - Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, Ustad Rashid Khan, Sulochana and Brihaspati.

Patiala Gharana - Patiala Gharana is regarded as an offshoot of the Delhi Gharana. The Patiala Gharana is characterized by the use of greater rhythm play and by Layakari with the abundant use of Bols, particularly Bol-tans.
Founders - Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh
Exponents - The major singers of the Patiala Gharana are Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ajoy Chakravarti, Raza Ali Khan, Beghum Akhtar, Nirmala Deni, Naina Devi, Parveen Sultana and others.

Delhi Gharana - The Delhi Ghaana was represented by Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan. The highlights of Delhi Gharana are pleasing vistaar and exquisite compositions.
Founders - Ustad Mamman Khan
Exponents - Some of the notable exponents of Delhi Gharana are Chand Khan, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Usman Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Krishna Bisht.

Bhendi Bazaar Gharana - The most distinctive feature of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana is the presentation of Khayal, which is open voice, using Akar. There is a stress on breath-control and singing of long passages in one breath is highly regarded in this Gharana
Founders - Ustad Chajju Khan
Exponents - The important singers of this Gharana are Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Shashikala Koratkar and Anjanibai Malpekar.

Benaras Gharana - The Benaras Gharana evolved as a result of great lilting style of khayal singing known by Thumri singers of Benaras and Gaya.
Founders - Pt Gopal Mishra
Exponents - The chief exponents of the Benaras Gharana are Rajan Mishra, Sajan Mishra, Girija Devi and others.

Mewati Gharana - The Mewati Gharana gives importance to developing the mood of the raga through the notes forming it and its style is Bhava Pradhan. It also gives equal importance to the meaning of the text.
Founders - The founder of Mewati Gharana was Ghagge Nazir Khan.
Exponents - The exponents of the Mewati Gharana are Pandit Jasraj, Moti Ram, Mani Ram, Sanjeev Abhyankar and others.

Riaz Haq said...

Talking about culture, North Indian and Pakistani culture is often referred to as Indo Persian culture

Do you know that sitar and tabla, the key musical instruments of Indian music, are attributed to Muslims, specifically Amir Khusro? Tabla is from tabl, the Arabic word for drum. Sitar is Persian meaning three strings. Harmonium came from France

Biryani. the most popular Indian dish, was brought to India by Persian speaking Muslims. Its origin is “brinj e biryan” or fried rice in Farsi.

Naan is the Persian word for bread.

Tandoor is from Arabic and Persian tanoor

Riaz Haq said...

Twitter thread:

Audrey Truschke‏Verified account
Following Following @AudreyTruschke
More Audrey Truschke Retweeted Devil's Advocate
Indian cultures (they really are plural) are largely unimaginable as they are today without Islamic influences.
It’s not a straightforward matter of conversion, but rather dynamic processes of assimilation, innovation, and so forth.


shantanoo goswami‏
Follow Follow @shantanogoswami
Replying to @AudreyTruschke
tell us 5 things influenced by islam in a typical hindu home ?


Audrey Truschke‏Verified account
Following Following @AudreyTruschke
More Audrey Truschke Retweeted shantanoo goswami
vocabulary, biryani, Bollywood, music, and, of course, that we're talking about a "Hindu" home. #tooeasy

Haseeb R. said...

There are open minded Hindus in India. Here is one:
A truthful post on FB by Priyanka Goenka, an unbiased hindu from India... :

"Under Muslims rule India was the richest country, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, Muslims united this nation into one entity, gave it an identity. Prior to Muslims arrival for almost 1000 years India was divided into several nations fighting each other. Muslims gave most beautiful architectural building of the world.

Muslims gave education system, specially prior to Muslims there was no history recording except stories.

While half the world in 11th to 13th century was being plundered, burnt, raped, destroyed by Mongols including Muslim lands, it was Muslims who fought, sacrificed their lives and protected India from the savage Mongols. This in itself is a great service to India.

Today the stupid HINDUTVA don't remember the brutal role of British which plundered India for 200 years and reduced GDP from 27% of world to less than 4%. British policies killed over 4 million Indians. It is their legacy of "Divide & Rule" which BJP is following.

Muslims are nothing to be ashamed of their history, infact they are the makers of India!"

Parvati Goenka post 👇🏽

Riaz Haq said...

India’s pre-colonial economy considered as a golden age of prosperity under Mughal period, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, said former union minister Shashi Tharoor on a recent visit to Australia for Melbourne Writers Festivals 2017.
The Congress MP appearing on national channel ABC’s #QandA (Question and Answer) on September 04, 2017, described at length how India’s textiles, dominated mostly by Muslims, were systematically destroyed by the British.

“The British came to one of the richest countries in the world when the GDP was almost 27% in the 17th century, 23% in the18th. But, over 200 years of exploitation, loot and destruction reduced India to a poster child for third world poverty”, he said in reply to a question about the British rule in India.

“But when they left India in 1947, 90% of the population was living under below poverty level. Literacy rate was below 17% and growth rate from 1900 to 1947 was a meager 0.001%”, he said.
“The fact is in the name of free trade the British came in and destroyed the free trade that had made India leading exporter of textiles.

“The British soldiers smashed looms so people couldn’t practice their craft. They imposed punitive duties and taxes on the export of Indian textiles while lifting duties on import of British cloth”, he said.

“Cities like Dhaka and Murshidabad were depopulated. In one notorious incident weavers’ thumbs were cut so that they could not operate on looms.

“India’s textile industry was systematically destroyed by the British”, he added.

India’s trade was in a healthy state and it became the largest economy by 1700, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, until the mid-18th century, prior to British rule.

This is not the first time Tharoor praises for Muslim rulers. Earlier in August 2017, speaking at Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan’s capital Thimpu, Tharoor said that he did not regard Muslim rulers as foreigners.

“I am talking about the British who came and ruled us for the benefit of a country far away. For the Prime Minister, Muslim rulers who originally came to India to rule but stayed in India, assimilated and intermarried are also considered foreigners. To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British,” Tharoor is quoted as saying in a report by NDTV.

“To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British,” Tharoor said in a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated claim of “1,200 years of foreign rule”.

Rabia said...

Finally saw #Padmaavat tonight. So, basically,

Bollywood: why are there so many crazy, bloodthirsty, anti-Muslim Hindu extremists trying to kill us?

Also Bollywood: Let's keep piling awful, bigoted, disgusting anti-Muslim stereotypes into movies to cash in on ethnoHindu pride.

Riaz Haq said...

Padmavati Was Never A Role Model For These Rajput Women, And Now She's A Curse

JAIPUR — Rakhi*, a 25-year old Rajput woman, is willing to wager that neither the actors in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat nor the sword-wielding goons opposing it will be ones living under the long shadow cast by the ₹190 crore movie and the controversies surrounding it.

She, however, has felt a change in her family in recent months, a hardening of conservative and patriarchal attitudes, especially after the period drama was pitted against Rajput honour.

In a recent conversation with HuffPost India, she said, "Please don't use my real name. My whole family is opposing the movie. They will throw me out of the house if I speak out publicly. Or worse, make me marry some Rajput man who brandishes a sword just like those horrible Karni Sena men."

As the opposition to the Bhansali's movie rages on, driven largely by a fringe group called the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, Rakhi has been admonished and lectured by her family members whenever she has spoken her mind on the movie and its titular character, Padmavati or Rani Padmini.

The Rajput queen first appears in Malik Muhammad Jayasi's poem 'Padmavat', a 16th-century fictionalised account of Alauddin Khilji's siege of Rajasthan's Chittorgarh. It ends tragically with Padmavati committing jauhar — an outlawed practice of mass self-immolation by Hindu women — to avoid capture by the Muslim sultan of Delhi.

On the flip side, the school teacher also gets flak from her family for mocking the Karni Sena.

Even though she is not a fan of Padmavati, the young Rajput believes that Bhansali has the freedom to make the kind of movie he wants to. Of the many arguments which Rakhi has had with her family members over Padmaavat, there was one exchange that eventually silenced her on the subject.

It happened about one month ago, when Rakhi suggested that her family turn off a television debate which featured members of the Karni Sena screaming about "women's honour."

"I said something like 'how much more of this nonsense do we have to listen to?' They pounced on me. They said that 'you are anti-national, anti-Hindu and a disgrace to your caste and to Rajput women.' It went too far. They said that 'you are like Kanhaiya Kumar of JNU'," she said, referring to the former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students' Union, who was arrested on charges of sedition in February, 2016.

Following that outburst, Rakhi chose to stay mum about the movie. "I decided to shut up . What's the point? Then, they will say 'we made a mistake by educating her, by letting her work.' I'm afraid of having that conversation and where it could lead."

Rakhi put all Padmaavat-related thoughts out of her head until about a week ago, when she witnessed her neighbours brutally beating their wives in the street. It was a scene that she had seen play out many times in her neighborhood and sometimes in her own home. But what the women did after they were beaten shocked her.

"The same women went to join the protest against the release of the movie, they signed up for jauhar. I just couldn't believe it. They get no respect in their own homes and they care about some Rajput honour," she said.

Then, after a pause, the school teacher sarcastically added, "Actually, it makes perfect sense. Perhaps, jauhar is the only way for them to get away from their horrible husbands and their miserable lives."

Riaz Haq said...

Watched #Padmaavat. The Movie shows Rajputs full of glory, valour, pride and as brave hearts who would rather give their life than be defeated. Which means Karni Sena and those opposing the Movie have a Point. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has distorted history

Riaz Haq said...

Padmavat, Prithvi Narayan Shah and the return of majoritarian history
In today’s ‘post-truth world’, majoritarianism is cocooned and strengthened in perceived victimhood

Jan 26, 2018-One’s a Bollywood blockbuster that was in the news for all the wrong reasons even before its release, and the other is a 250-year-old monarch whose birth anniversary evokes multiple debates around what makes a nation. The two couldn’t be further apart, yet Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, which released on Thursday, has more in common with Prithvi Narayan Shah than at first glance.

At the root of both--the protests against the film alleging the filmmakers have dishonoured a Rajput queen, and the decision to celebrate Prithvi Narayan Shah’s birth anniversary after a gap of 11 years as ‘National Unification Day’--is history, and the many truths that history holds. After all, whose history can we deem to be ‘correct’, or ‘accurate’? Should we consider the historian’s opinion that Rani Padmini, the Rajput queen who is at the heart of the controversy over the film, may have been a fictional creation? Or should we consider the view of an Indian ex-royal and former MP who says ‘artistic freedom is “anti-national” if it plays with history and nation's heritage.’

History--much like any other emotive issue--is used to supplement the political narrative of the day and morphed to suit an idea. But it often contains truths that may be discomfiting. For example, the case for Prithvi Narayan Shah rests on the argument that it was his military strength that resulted in a bevy of hill-states being absorbed into the Gorkha fold and allowed the Shah kings to envision a singular Nepali state. But what do we make of his words to ‘enlist Khas, Magars, Gurungs, and Thakuris, and only these four jaats’ in the armed forces? Do we single him out as a ruthless discriminatory expansionist, or do we consider him a pragmatic military leader?

In Padmaavat’s case, under the guise of protecting the honour of a 13th century queen, a state of disorder has descended on India. A school bus with children was attacked in Gurgaon on Wednesday; several cinemas in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa will not screen the film fearing reprisals, while a few theatres in UP have been attacked; preventive arrests have been made in several states. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand had all banned the film--it is no coincidence that these are all BJP-ruled states--until the Supreme Court asked the states to ensure the film was screened. The filmmakers, in an extraordinary move, had released a full-page ad that said, among others, the film ‘portrays Rani Padmavati with utmost respect and does not tarnish her repute or misrepresent her character in any manner’. The Shree Rajput Karni Sena, the Rajput group at the forefront of the protests against the film, earlier said 1,700 women will commit jauhar, or mass self-immolation if the film wasn’t banned. It is a separate question that why is it only women who would undergo the suicide, and not the men of the Karni Sena.

But how did a fictionalised depiction of a Rajput queen, whose earliest mention only arrives in a 16th century epic poem, become the symbol of honour for Rajputs in the 21st century? For this, one must understand the larger underlying trend in Indian polity today.

Reinventing history

The old politics of caste vote-banks in India has crumbled in a time of Narendra Modi and his politics, which combines existing caste equations with a unified Hindu vote and the subtle propagation of Hindutva. The BJP’s incredible electoral machine has brought it victory after victory in several state elections since 2014, which means nearly 67 percent of India lives in BJP-ruled states today. With elections in three North-eastern states next month, that tally could increase.

Riaz Haq said...

Mythification of History and ‘Social Common Sense’
By Ram Puniyani

The discipline of history has come to the center stage of social debate for last two decades. We have witnessed a worsening of inter-community relations and spreading of derogatory myths against minority communities in particular and weaker sections of society in general. The rising tide of communal violence is standing on the myths against the minority community, which are based on a particular interpretation of history.

In today’s parlance many a myths have assumed the status of unshakable facts. Generally it is assumed that Muslim kings destroyed Hindu temples to spite the Hindus. Today’s ‘social common sense’ believes that not only Somnath temple but also Ram Janm bhumi temple, Kashi Vishwanth temple, the Mathura Krishna Janmasthan and thousands of other temples have been destroyed by the Mughal aggressors. The general and sweeping statement apart let us have a look at some of these demolitions. Mahmud Gazni on way to Somanth encountered the Muslim ruler of Multan (Abdul Fat Dawod), with whom he had to have a battle to cross Multan. In the battle the Jama Masjid of Multan was badly damaged. Further on way he struck compromise with Anandpal, the ruler of Thaneshwar who escorted his army towards Somanth with due hospitality. Gazni’s army had a good number of Hindu soldiers and five out of his 12 generals were Hindus (Tilak, Rai Hind, Sondhi, Hazran etc). Before proceeding to damage the temple he took custody of the gold and jewels, which were part of the temple treasury. After the battle he issued coins in his name with inscriptions in Sanskrit and appointed a Hindu Raja as his representative in Somnath. Similarly Dr. Pattabhi Sitarammaiya in his History of India describes the circumstances under which the Kashi Vishwanth temple had to be razed to the ground. He states that when Aurangzeb’s entourage was on way from Delhi to Kolkata the Hindu queens requested for the overnight stay in Kashi to enable them to have the Darshan of Lord Vishwananth. Next morning one of the queens who had gone to have the holy prayer did not return and was found in the basement of the temple, dishonored and raped by the Mahant of the temple. The Mahant was punished and the temple was razed to the ground as it had become polluted due to this ghastly act. Aurangzeb gave land and state support to build another temple.

It should be noted that Hindu Kings were not far behind in attacking and damaging temples when it became a political necessity for their rule or for the lust of wealth. Retreating Maratha armies destroyed the temple of Srirangtatanm, to humiliate Tipu Sultan whom they could not defeat in the battle. Parmar kings destroyed Jain temples. A Hindu king called Shashank cut off the Bodhi tree where Lord Gautam Buddha got his Nirvana. Similarly Kalhan a Kashmiri poet describes the life of King Harshdev of Kashmir, who appointed a special officer, Devotpatan Nayak (An officer who uproots the images of Gods) to usurp the gold from the temples. Aurangzeb did not hesitate to destroy the Jama Masjid in Golconda as Nawab Tanashah refused to pay him tribute for three consecutive years and hid his wealth underneath a mosque, which was damaged by Aurangzeb to recover his ‘dues’. Also many a Muslim kings gave Jagirs to the temples to keep their subjects happy. It is clear that kings from both the religions destroyed the places of worship for the sake of amassing wealth or for other political purposes.


the glorification of Shivaji and Rana Pratap for establishing Hindu Kingdoms is a total myth. Rana Pratap was longing for a higher status in the Mughal administration and having been denied that, entered into a battle with Mughal king Akbar. Now this was by no means a fight between Hindus and Muslims. Akbar was represented in the battle by Raja Mansing and an army, which was a mix of Rajput soldiers and Muslim soldiers, while Rana Pratap’s army also had Muslim (Pathan) and Rajput soldiers.

Riaz Haq said...

Soni Wadhwa 14 July 2017 Non-Fiction, Reviews
“A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia” by Manan Ahmed Asif

Chachnama, and its discussion of Chach as a just ruler, was incorporated in subsequent regional histories Masum’s Tarikh-i Masumi (1600) and Qani’s Tuhfat ul-Kiram (eighteenth century). Chachnama also finds a mention in Firishta’s history of cluster of regions in India, Gulsham-i Ibrahimi/Tar’ikh (1606-16). It is with Alexander Dow’s summary/translation that Chachnama came to be seen as “exposing” the origins of the “brutal” and “despotic” “Mahommedan empire in India”. Dow’s attempt was a part of larger project of conquest of Sindh by the British. Sindh was annexed to the empire of the East India Company in 1843. James Mill’s History of British India (1817) draws upon Dow’s interpretation to package the political arrival of Arabs as the history of Islam in India and to frame the British rule as enlightened and civilized. The British were manufacturing a Hindu past and thereby a 19th-century present that needed to be “rescued” from the Muslims.

Asif studies the aftermath of Chachnama and argues that it is misunderstood and misclassified as a work of history. It claims to be a translation of an earlier Arabic text but that claim is, as Asif argues, a gesture in gaining currency, legitimacy and authority in the period it was written—the 13th century.

Asif’s critical reading of Chachnama goes on to substantiate his opening sentence: “Beginnings are a seductive necessity”. In claiming to be a work of history, an authentic account that originates in an Arabic text written in 8th century, the author of Chachnama, Ali Kufi, strategically positions his creation to be perceived as carrying a certain magnitude. Asif demonstrates that this self-styling as history cannot be taken at its face value. He systematically makes a case for studying the case as a text of political theory after comparing it with other texts in the genres of so-called “conquest narratives” and “advice literature”.

Chachnama fails on all the points of reference of a conventional conquest narrative. To begin with, it does not describe all the conquests of the protagonist’s, that is, Qasim’s, achievements. The title “Chachnama” itself is inconsistent with a work purported to be about the conquests of Qasim. Asif shows that the text is a work of political theory and is concerned with dos and don’ts of governance, justice, ethics, kingship and warfare:

Chachnama argues that recognizing forms of difference and translating them into politically viable structures allows for communities to coexist. Chachnama’s theory of making difference commensurable and citing precedents is remarkable from a text that is understood as a conquest narrative.


Asif closes his book with the statement, “The stories we tell have consequences” after providing an extraordinary account of the kinds of stories left out of about thirteen centuries of the story of Islam in India: the stories of the women in Chachnama, and the strength of their participation in the definition of right conduct, or the stories of Buddhism, or the stories of the violence that Qasim did not commit.

The nineteenth century distortion of a text continues to have repercussions on national identity and communal harmony in South Asia and all around the world. The notion that Muslims are outsiders and thereby have a separate identity had been the premise behind the demand for the creation of Pakistan. It has also been used by the Hindu right to avenge the “humiliation” of its past. Muhammad bin Qasim’s invasion is time and again invoked to provoke and justify terrorist actions. Asif’s book is a timely reminder that the questions of origins cannot be answered categorically and need to scrutinized carefully.

Riaz Haq said...

How Winston Churchill stole from India for Britain’s war

“I am glad to learn from the Minister of War Transport that a strict line is being taken in dealing with requests for cereals from the Indian Ocean area. A concession to one country at once encourages demands from all the others,” the prime minister commented in a memo on 10 March 1943. “They must learn to look after themselves as we have done. The grave situation of the UK import programme imperils the whole war effort and we cannot afford to send ships merely as a gesture of good will.”

For three months, Viceroy Linlithgow had been warning about a food crisis in India, and earlier that March a member of his council, Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, had told the War Cabinet’s shipping committee of “some danger of famine conditions, particularly in Calcutta and Bombay’.” Wheat was available in Australia, but all Indian ships capable of the round trip were engaged in the war effort. Moreover, in January the prime minister had brought most of the merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean over to the Atlantic, in order to bolster the United Kingdom’s stocks of food and raw materials. He was reluctant to release vessels to carry grain to the colony, because lowered stocks at home would compromise the British economy and limit the War Cabinet’s ability to pursue military operations of its choice—and because his hostility towards Indians was escalating.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Kingsley Wood, had long been warning that India had erased its traditional debt to the United Kingdom and was instead becoming a major creditor. The sterling debt owed to the colony was mounting at a million pounds a day. It would fall due right after the war, just when a ravaged if liberated Europe would have to be fed. Food in the post-war era would be scarce worldwide and expensive to import—and His Majesty’s Government would already be bankrupt from paying for the war. In consequence, maintaining British food stocks had become crucially important to the War Cabinet and the debt to India a source of profound frustration.


“Winston cannot see beyond such phrases as ‘Are we to incur hundreds of millions of debt for defending India in order to be kicked out by the Indians afterwards?'” (Leo) Amery confided to his diary. “But that we are getting out of India far more than was ever thought possible and that India herself is paying far more than was ever contemplated when the present settlement was made, and that we have no means of making her pay more than she wants or supplying goods unpaid for, is the kind of point that just doesn’t enter into his head.” The prime minister was aware that the sterling debt was inverting the economic relationship between colony and colonizer. After the war, money would flow from Britain to India, not as investment to be repaid with interest but as remittance. Whatever the romance of empire, a colony that drains the Exchequer is scarcely worth having—and that reality, notes historian Dietmar Rothermund, would make it easier for India to be finally released.


On 10 January 1943, Amery received an even more desperate plea from India’s Department of Food. The army’s wheat reserves would run out in a month. The remainder of the wheat promised to the army was waiting in Australia and must be brought in by February; and if shipping could not right away be found for 6,00,000 tons, at least 2,00,000 tons must come by April. “The vital necessity for expedition cannot be exaggerated as we have to carry on with practically no supplies for civil population till some of these shipments arrive,” the officials warned.

Haris Yousufzai said...

چند سال سے اس ملک کے ٹیلیویژن چینلز پر تعلیم کے نام پر سفید جھوٹ پر مبنی پروگرام چلائے جا رہے ہیں اور یہ باور کرانے کی کوشش ہے کہ جب یورپ میں یونیورسٹیاں کھل رہی تھیں تو مسلم بادشاہ تاج محل اور شالامار باغ بنا رہے تھے.میری یہ تحریر مختلف مصنفین کے متعلقہ کالمز اور پروفیسرز، مورخین یا محققین کی تحقیق کے اس حصہ پر مبنی ہے جو میں نے ذاتی تحقیق کے بعد درست پائے، اس تحریر میں میرے اپنے الفاظ کم اور مندرجہ بالا شخصیات کے الفاظ زیادہ ہیں. تاریخ کی گواہی بعد میں پیش کروں گا پہلے بنیادی عقل کا ایک درس پیش کروں. ان چینلز یا پروگرامز میں اگر کوئی سمجھ بوجھ والا آدمی بیٹھا ہوتا تو اسکو سمجھنے میں یہ مشکل نہیں آتی کہ مسلم دور کی شاندار عمارات جس عظیم تخلیقی صلاحیت سے تعمیر کی گئی، وہ دو چیزوں کے بغیر ممکن نا تھیں. پہلی فن تعمیر کی تفصیلی مہارت، جس میں جیومیٹری، فزکس، کیمسٹری اور ڈھانچے کے خدوخال وضع کرنے تک کے علوم شامل ہوتے ہیں. دوسری کسی ملک کی مضبوط معاشی اور اقتصادی حالت، اس قدر مضبوط کے وہاں کے حکمران شاندار عمارات تعمیر کرنے کا خرچ برداشت کر سکیں. معاشی حوالے سے ہندوستان بالعموم مسلم ادوار اور بالخصوص مغلیہ دور (اکبر - عالگیر) میں دنیا کے کل GDP میں اوسطاً 25% فیصد حصہ رکھتا تھا. در آمدات انتہائی کم اور برآمدات انتہائی زیادہ تھیں اور آج ماہر معاشیات جانتے ہیں کہ کامیاب ملک وہ ہے جس کی برآمدات زیادہ اور درآمدات کم ہوں. سترویں صدی میں فرانسیسی سیاح فرانکیوس برنئیر ہندوستان آیا اور کہتا ہے کہ ہندوستان کے ہر کونے میں سونے اور چاندی کے ڈھیر ہیں. اسی لئے سلطنت مغلیہ ہند کو سونے کی چڑیا کہتے تھے.
اب تعمیرات والے اعتراض کی طرف آتے ہیں. فن تعمیر کی جو تفصیلات تاج محل، شیش محل، شالامار باغ، مقبرہ ہمایوں، دیوان خاص وغیرہ وغیرہ میں نظر آتی ہے، اس سے لگتا ہے کہ انکے معمار جیومیٹری کے علم کی انتہاؤں کو پہنچے ہوئے تھے. تاج محل کے چاروں مینار صرف آدھا انچ باہر کی جانب جھکائے گئے تاکہ زلزلے کی صورت میں گرے تو گنبد تباہ نہ ہوں. مستری کے اینٹیں لگانے سے یہ سب ممکن نہیں، اس میں حساب کی باریکیاں شامل ہیں. پورا تاج محل 90 فٹ گہری بنیادوں پر کھڑا ہے. اس کے نیچے 30 فٹ ریت ڈالی گئی کہ اگر زلزلہ آئے تو پوری عمارت ریت میں گھوم سی جائے اور محفوظ رہے. لیکن اس سے بھی حیرانی کی بات یہ ہے کہ اتنا بڑا شاہکار دریا کے کنارے تعمیر کیا گیا ہے اور دریا کنارے اتنی بڑی تعمیر اپنے آپ میں ایک چیلنج تھی، جس کے لئے پہلی بار ویل فاونڈیشن (well foundation) متعارف کرائی گئی یعنی دریا سے بھی نیچے بنیادیں کھود کر انکو پتھروں اور مصالحہ سے بھر دیا گیا، اور یہ بنیادیں سینکڑوں کی تعداد میں بنائی گئی گویا تاج محل کے نیچے پتھروں کا پہاڑ اور گہری بنیادوں کا وسیع جال ہے، اسطرح تاج محل کو دریا کے نقصانات سے ہمیشہ کے لئے محفوظ کر دیا گیا. عمارت کے اندر داخل ہوتے ہوئے اسکا نظارہ فریب نظر یعنی (Optical illusion ) سے بھرپور ہے. یہ عمارت بیک وقت اسلامی، فارسی، عثمانی، ترکی اور ہندی فن تعمیر کا نمونہ ہے. یہ فیصلہ کرنے کے لئے حساب اور جیومیٹری کی باریک تفصیل درکار ہے. پروفیسر ایبا کوچ (یونیورسٹی آف وینیا) نے حال میں ہی تاج محل کے اسلامی اعتبار سے روحانی پہلو واضح (decode) کئے ہیں.اور بھی کئی راز مستقبل میں سامنے آ سکتے ہیں. انگریز نے تعمیرات میں (well foundation) کا آغاز انیسویں صدی اور (optical illusions) کا آغاز بیسویں صدی میں کیا. جب کے تاج محل ان طریقہ تعمیر کو استعمال کر کے سترھویں صدی کے وسط میں مکمل ہو گیا تھا…

Haris Yousufzai said...

انگریز نے تعمیرات میں (well foundation) کا آغاز انیسویں صدی اور (optical illusions) کا آغاز بیسویں صدی میں کیا. جب کے تاج محل ان طریقہ تعمیر کو استعمال کر کے سترھویں صدی کے وسط میں مکمل ہو گیا تھا. آج تاج محل کو جدید مشین اور جدید سائنس کو استعمال کرتے ہوئے بنایا جائے تو 1000 ملین ڈالر لگنے کے باوجود ویسا بننا تقریباً ناممکن ہے. 'ٹائل موزیک' فن ہے ، جس میں چھوٹی چھوٹی رنگین ٹائلوں سے دیوار پر تصویریں بنائی جاتی اور دیوار کو منقش کیا جاتا ہے. یہ فن لاہور کے شاہی قلعے کی ایک کلومیٹر لمبی منقش دیوار اور مسجد وزیرخان میں نظر آتا ہے. ان میں جو رنگ استعمال ہوئے، انکو بنانے کے لئے آپ کو موجودہ دور میں پڑھائی جانے والی کیمسٹری کا وسیع علم ہونا چاہئیے. یہی حال فریسکو پینٹنگ کا ہے، جن کے رنگ چار سو سال گزرنے کے باوجود آجتک مدہم نہیں ہوئے . تمام مغل ادوار میں تعمیر شدہ عمارتوں میں ٹیرا کوٹا (مٹی کو پکانے کا فن) سے بنے زیر زمین پائپ ملتے ہیں. ان سے سیوریج اور پانی کی ترسیل کا کام لیا جاتا تھا. کئی صدیاں گزرنے کے باوجود یہ اپنی اصل حالت میں موجود ہیں. مسلم فن تعمیر کا مکمل علم حاصل کرنے کی کوشش کی جائے اور موجودہ دور کے سائنسی پیمانوں پر ایک نصاب کی صورت تشکیل دیا جائے تو صرف ایک فن تعمیر کو مکمل طور پر سیکھنے کے لیے پی ایچ ڈی (phd) کی کئی ڈگریاں درکار ہوں گی. کیا یہ سب کچھ اس ہندوستان میں ہو سکتا تھا، جس میں جہالت کا دور دورہ ہو اور جس کے حکمرانوں کو علم سے نفرت ہو؟؟ یہ مسلم نظام تعلیم ہی تھا جو سب کے لئے یکساں تھا، جہاں سے بیک وقت عالم، صوفی، معیشت دان، طبیب، فلسفی، حکمران اور انجینئر نکلتے تھے. شیخ احمد سرہندی رح ہوں یا جھانگیر ہو یا استاد احمد لاہوری ہو، یہ سب مختلف گھرانوں سے تعلق رکھنے کے باوجود ایک ہی تعلیمی نظام میں پروان چڑھے، اسی لئے ان سب کی سوچ انسانی مفاد کی تھی.

Haris Yousufzai said...

1857ء میں جب انگریز ہندوستان پر مکمل قابض ہوئے تو اس وقت صرف روحیل کھنڈ کے چھوٹے سے ضلع میں، 5000 اساتذہ سرکاری خزانے سے تنخواہیں لیتے تھے." مذکورہ تمام علاقے دہلی یا آگرہ جیسے بڑے شہروں سے دور مضافات میں واقع تھے. انگریز اور ہندو مورخین اس بات پر متفق ہیں کہ تعلیم کا عروج عالمگیر رح کے زمانے میں اپنی انتہا کو پہنچا. عالمگیر رح نے ہی پہلی دفعہ تمام مذاہب کے مقدس مذہبی مقامات کے ساتھ جائیدادیں وقف کیں. سرکار کی جانب سے وہاں کام کرنے والوں کے لئے وظیفے مقرر کئے. اس دور کے 3 ہندو مورخین سجان رائے کھتری، بھیم سین اور ایشور داس بہت معروف ہیں. سجان رائے کھتری نے "خلاصہ التواریخ"، بھیم سین نے "نسخہ دلکشا" اور ایشور داس نے "فتوحات عالمگیری" لکھی. یہ تینوں ہندو مصنفین متفق تھے کہ عالمگیر نے پہلی دفعہ ہندوستان میں طب کی تعلیم پر ایک مکمل نصاب بنوایا اور طب اکبر، مفرح القلوب، تعریف الامراض، مجربات اکبری اور طب نبوی جیسی کتابیں ترتیب دے کر کالجوں میں لگوائیں تاکہ اعلیٰ سطح پر صحت کی تعلیم دی جا سکے. یہ تمام کتب آج کے دور کے MBBS نصاب کے ہم پلہ ہیں. اورنگزیب سے کئی سو سال پہلے فیروز شاہ نے دلی میں ہسپتال قائم کیا، جسے دارالشفاء کہا جاتا تھا. عالمگیر نے ہی کالجوں میں پڑھانے کے لیے نصابی کتب طب فیروزشاہی مرتب کرائی. اس کے دور میں صرف دلی میں سو سے زیادہ ہسپتال تھے.
تاریخ سے ایسی ہزاروں گواہیاں پیش کی جا سکتی ہیں. ہو سکے تو لاہور کے انارکلی مقبرہ میں موجود ہر ضلع کی مردم شماری رپورٹ ملاحظہ فرمالیں. آپکو ہر ضلع میں شرح خواندگی 80% سے زیادہ ملے گی جو اپنے وقت میں بین الاقوامی سطح پر سب سے زیادہ تھی، لیکن انگریز جب یہ ملک چھوڑ کر گیا تو صرف 10% تھی. بنگال 1757ء میں فتح کیا اور اگلے 34 برسوں میں سبھی سکول و کالج کھنڈر بنا دیئے گئے. ایڈمنڈ بروک نے یہ بات واضح کہی تھی کہ ایسٹ انڈیا کمپنی نے مسلسل دولت لوٹی جس وجہ سے ہندوستان بدقسمتی کی گہرائی میں جاگرا. پھر اس ملک کو تباہ کرنے کے لئے لارڈ کارنیوالس نے 1781ء میں پہلا دینی مدرسہ کھولا. اس سے پہلے دینی اور دنیاوی تعلیم کی کوئی تقسیم نہ تھی. ایک ہی مدرسہ میں قرآن بھی پڑھایا جاتا تھا، فلسفہ بھی اور سائنس بھی. یہ تاریخ کی گواہیاں ہیں. لیکن اشتہار و پروگرام بنانے والے جھوٹ کا کاروبار کرنا چاہے تو انہیں یہ باطل اور مرعوب نظام نہیں روکتا.
مجھے دہلی جانے کا اتفاق ہوا ہے اور ان تعمیرات کا مشاہدہ کیا ہے، آپ یقین کیجئیے کہ ان عمارات کے سحر سے نکلنا ایک مشکل کام ہوتا تھا اور فخر اور حیرانی ہوتی تھی کہ ان ادوار میں مشین کا وجود نا ہونے کے باوجود ایسے شاہکار تعمیر کرنا ناممکن لگتا ہے. لاہور میں مغلیہ فن تعمیر پر کبھی نظر دوڑائیے، آپ انجینئرنگ کے کارناموں پر محو حیرت رہے گے کیونکہ جب یورپ یونیورسٹیاں بنا رہا تھا تو یہاں وہ تعلیمات عام ہو چکی تھیں. لیکن یہ موجودہ ظالم نظام جہاں ہمیں اپنی اعانت کے لئے اپنا کلرک بناتا ہے وہاں ہماری عظیم تاریخ کو بھی مبہم بناتا ہے.
تحریر کا اختتام کرنے کے لئے بہت کچھ ہے لیکن ایک سنہری قول سے اختتام کروں گا. امام وقت حضرت اقدس مولانا شاہ سعید احمد رائےپوری نور اللہ مرقدہ فرمایا کرتے تھے "آج مسلمانوں کی سب سے بڑی کمزوری یہ ہے کہ انہیں ذرائع ابلاغ (Media) کا پروپیگنڈا بہا کے لے جاتا ہے ."..

Haris Yousufzai said...

مزید بھی میں مغربی مصنفین کی گواہی پیش کروں گا، اسلئے کہ میرے ان "عظیم" صاحبان علم کو کسی مسلمان یا لوکل مصنف کی گواہی سے بھی بو آتی ہے. ول ڈیورانٹ مغربی دنیا کس مشہور ترین مورخ اور فلاسفر ہے. وہ اپنی کتاب story of civilization میں مغل ہندوستان کے بارے میں لکھتا ہے: "ہر گاوں میں ایک سکول ماسٹر ہوتا تھا، جسے حکومت تنخواہ دیتی تھی. انگریزوں کی آمد سے پہلے صرف بنگال میں 80 ہزار سکول تھے. ہر 400 افراد پر ایک سکول ہوتا تھا. ان سکولوں میں 6 مضامین پڑھائے جاتے تھے. گرائمر، آرٹس اینڈ کرافٹس، طب، فلسفہ، منطق اور متعلقہ مذہبی تعلیمات. " اس نے اپنی ایک اور کتاب A Case For India میں لکھا کہ مغلوں کے زمانے میں صرف مدراس کے علاقے میں ایک لاکھ 25 ہزار ایسے ادارے تھے، جہاں طبی علم پڑھایا جاتا اور طبی سہولیات میسر تھیں. میجر ایم ڈی باسو نے برطانوی راج اور اس سے قبل کے ہندوستان پر بہت سی کتب لکھیں. وہ میکس مولر کے حوالے سے لکھتا ہے "بنگال میں انگریزوں کے آنے سے قبل وہاں 80 ہزار مدرسے تھے". اورنگزیب عالمگیر رح کے زمانے میں ایک سیاح ہندوستان آیا' جس کا نام الیگزینڈر ہملٹن تھا، اس نے لکھا کہ صرف ٹھٹھہ شہر میں علوم و فنون سیکھانے کے 400 کالج تھے. میجر باسو نے تو یہاں تک لکھا ہے کہ ہندوستان کے عام آدمی کی تعلیم یعنی فلسفہ، منطق اور سائنس کا علم انگلستان کے رئیسوں حتیٰ کہ بادشاہ اور ملکہ سے بھی زیادہ ہوتا تھا. جیمز گرانٹ کی رپورٹ یاد رکھے جانے کے قابل ہے. اس نے لکھا " تعلیمی اداروں کے نام جائیدادیں وقف کرنے کا رواج دنیا بھر میں سب سے پہلے مسلمانوں نے شروع کیا. 1857ء میں جب انگریز ہندوستان پر مکمل قابض ہوئے تو اس وقت صرف روحیل کھنڈ کے چھوٹے سے ضلع میں، 5000 اساتذہ سرکاری خزانے سے تنخواہیں لیتے تھے." مذکورہ تمام علاقے دہلی یا آگرہ جیسے بڑے شہروں سے دور مضافات میں واقع تھے. انگریز اور ہندو مورخین اس بات پر متفق ہیں کہ تعلیم کا عروج عالمگیر رح کے زمانے میں اپنی انتہا کو پہنچا. عالمگیر رح نے ہی پہلی دفعہ تمام مذاہب کے مقدس مذہبی مقامات کے ساتھ جائیدادیں وقف کیں. سرکار کی جانب سے وہاں کام کرنے والوں کے لئے وظیفے مقرر کئے. اس دور کے 3 ہندو مورخین سجان رائے کھتری، بھیم سین اور ایشور داس بہت معروف ہیں. سجان رائے کھتری نے "خلاصہ التواریخ"، بھیم سین نے "نسخہ دلکشا" اور ایشور داس نے "فتوحات عالمگیری" لکھی. یہ تینوں ہندو مصنفین متفق تھے کہ عالمگیر نے پہلی دفعہ ہندوستان میں طب کی تعلیم پر ایک مکمل نصاب بنوایا اور طب اکبر، مفرح القلوب، تعریف الامراض، مجربات اکبری اور طب نبوی جیسی کتابیں ترتیب دے کر کالجوں میں لگوائیں تاکہ اعلیٰ سطح پر صحت کی تعلیم دی جا سکے. یہ تمام کتب آج کے دور کے MBBS نصاب کے ہم پلہ ہیں. اورنگزیب سے کئی سو سال پہلے فیروز شاہ نے دلی میں ہسپتال قائم کیا، جسے دارالشفاء کہا جاتا تھا. عالمگیر نے ہی کالجوں میں پڑھانے کے لیے نصابی کتب طب فیروزشاہی مرتب کرائی. اس کے دور میں صرف دلی میں سو سے زیادہ ہسپتال تھے.

Haris Yousufzai said...

ریخ سے ایسی ہزاروں گواہیاں پیش کی جا سکتی ہیں. ہو سکے تو لاہور کے انارکلی مقبرہ میں موجود ہر ضلع کی مردم شماری رپورٹ ملاحظہ فرمالیں. آپکو ہر ضلع میں شرح خواندگی 80% سے زیادہ ملے گی جو اپنے وقت میں بین الاقوامی سطح پر سب سے زیادہ تھی، لیکن انگریز جب یہ ملک چھوڑ کر گیا تو صرف 10% تھی. بنگال 1757ء میں فتح کیا اور اگلے 34 برسوں میں سبھی سکول و کالج کھنڈر بنا دیئے گئے. ایڈمنڈ بروک نے یہ بات واضح کہی تھی کہ ایسٹ انڈیا کمپنی نے مسلسل دولت لوٹی جس وجہ سے ہندوستان بدقسمتی کی گہرائی میں جاگرا. پھر اس ملک کو تباہ کرنے کے لئے لارڈ کارنیوالس نے 1781ء میں پہلا دینی مدرسہ کھولا. اس سے پہلے دینی اور دنیاوی تعلیم کی کوئی تقسیم نہ تھی. ایک ہی مدرسہ میں قرآن بھی پڑھایا جاتا تھا، فلسفہ بھی اور سائنس بھی. یہ تاریخ کی گواہیاں ہیں. لیکن اشتہار و پروگرام بنانے والے جھوٹ کا کاروبار کرنا چاہے تو انہیں یہ باطل اور مرعوب نظام نہیں روکتا.
مجھے دہلی جانے کا اتفاق ہوا ہے اور ان تعمیرات کا مشاہدہ کیا ہے، آپ یقین کیجئیے کہ ان عمارات کے سحر سے نکلنا ایک مشکل کام ہوتا تھا اور فخر اور حیرانی ہوتی تھی کہ ان ادوار میں مشین کا وجود نا ہونے کے باوجود ایسے شاہکار تعمیر کرنا ناممکن لگتا ہے. لاہور میں مغلیہ فن تعمیر پر کبھی نظر دوڑائیے، آپ انجینئرنگ کے کارناموں پر محو حیرت رہے گے کیونکہ جب یورپ یونیورسٹیاں بنا رہا تھا تو یہاں وہ تعلیمات عام ہو چکی تھیں. لیکن یہ موجودہ ظالم نظام جہاں ہمیں اپنی اعانت کے لئے اپنا کلرک بناتا ہے وہاں ہماری عظیم تاریخ کو بھی مبہم بناتا ہے.
تحریر کا اختتام کرنے کے لئے بہت کچھ ہے لیکن ایک سنہری قول سے اختتام کروں گا. امام وقت حضرت اقدس مولانا شاہ سعید احمد رائےپوری نور اللہ مرقدہ فرمایا کرتے تھے "آج مسلمانوں کی سب سے بڑی کمزوری یہ ہے کہ انہیں ذرائع ابلاغ (Media) کا پروپیگنڈا بہا کے لے جاتا ہے ."..

Riaz Haq said...

#India deputy rep at #UN: #Indian civilization built on "waves of #migration". "Science confirms that all of us are migrants. The deep and the more recent history of our migration and mixed ancestry is, in fact, recorded in our genes," via @timesofindia

India has acknowledged here at an international forum that its civilization was built upon successive waves of migration like most countries and it was a scientific fact.
"The Indian civilization has been built upon successive waves of migration throughout history comprising traders, soldiers, missionaries, communities escaping persecution, artists and academics and artisans seeking better opportunities," India's Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal said on Monday.
"This mega diversity of our peoples is among our greatest strength," he said at a session of the intergovernmental negotiations on a global compact on migration.
The statement comes amid heated debates in India about historic migrations, some that happened eons ago.
Lal did not get into the debate or into the specific theories or peoples, but made a general statement, which mentioned "soldiers" among the wave of migrants.
He pointed out that migrations were a global phenomenon throughout history and nations have emerged through this inter-mingling.
"Most nation states and societies have been built upon waves of migration over the past several centuries," he said.
"Science confirms that all of us are migrants. The deep and the more recent history of our migration and mixed ancestry is, in fact, recorded in our genes," Lal added.
"Migration has continued to expand and is now aided by the integration of economies over the last few decades," he said.
Speaking of the benefits to the world through migration, he cited the example of Mahatma Gandhi, who studied in England and worked in South Africa, saying he is "among the most well-known international migrants who contributed hugely to our collective progress."
Lal also mentioned the many Nobel Prize-winners of Indian descent "who made seminal contribution to science" as well as foreign-born scientists, inventors, businesspersons, artistes, sportspersons, authors, academics, doctors and political leaders "who have made an indelible mark not only on societies where they lived but globally."

Negotiations are taking place for a global agreement to facilitate safe, orderly and regular international migration that is to be concluded in December in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Lal tried to dispel what he considered two widely held misconceptions about India and migrations

While India is considered to be among the top countries of origin for migrants globally, the rate of emigration from India is less than half of the world's average, he said.
"It is much lesser known and appreciated that India is also among the major countries of destination, as also a transit country, for migrants largely from our neighbourhood," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

‘A battle between #Hindutva and #Hinduism is coming’. "The key question is: how do we keep our (RSS) organization intact if we (abandon #caste system) and move towards an egalitarian #Hindu society?" #India #Modi #BJP #Dalit

Walter Andersen is, perhaps, the only scholar to have observed, or studied, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nearly five decades. In intellectual circles, it is normally believed that as an organisation, the RSS is impervious and impenetrable.

What is the RSS view of Modi’s economics, especially foreign economic policy, demonetisation and GST?

The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism. Modi is more open to FDI and foreign trade than the RSS would like. His demonetisation and GST directly hurt groups that are the original base of the organisations: the small traders. The RSS, of course, did not pass a resolution against demonetisation or GST. That is now how it works. But it sought to influence how these policies would be implemented – to ease the burden on small traders.


Let us finally return to the relationship of the RSS and Muslims. Your book says that Golwalkar repeatedly used the term “ek hazaar saal ki ghulami” (one thousand years of servitude). Your also say that Deoras changed that, and in 1979, opened the RSS to Muslims. Narendra Modi has often used the term “barah sau saal ki ghulami” (twelve hundred years of servitude), which is more in the Golwalkar vein than in the Deoras mold. At any rate, the implication of the Golwalkar and Modi statements is that India’s colonisation began with the arrival of Muslim rulers either in the 8th century in Sindh or the 11th century in Delhi. This militates against the historian’s argument that it is the British who started colonising India in 1757. The Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal era was not a period of colonisation. However offensive Babur or Aurangzeb were, the other Mughal kings Indianised themselves, even married into Rajputs, and developed commitments to India. The British did not Indianise themselves. They were the real colonisers. How can one justify the term Mughal colonialism?

I don’t think many RSS activists, or even prachaaraks, would disagree with the distinction you are making between the British and Mughals. When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian.

But despite that ideological development, PM Modi returned to the Golwalkar understanding.

There is clearly a generic problem, here. Even those RSS ideologues, who want Muslims to enter the RSS, would like them to accept India’s “historic culture”.

But India’s “historic culture” — the arts, the languages, the everyday manners, the poetry, the architecture, the music — have a lot of Muslim contributions.

But that implies that Urdu, which was widely spoken in North India, is not an Indian language, which is so hard to accept. Urdu was not born in the Middle East.



Let us now turn to the recent lynchings. Your book says that the higher echelons of the RSS and BJP don’t approve of lynchings. But how does one align your claim with the following: ministers in Modi government have expressed sympathy for lynchers, even garlanded those convicted of lynching (though out on bail), but the Prime Minister has not taken them to task. Indeed, though the Prime Minister has spoken against lynchings, his most forceful denunciations came when Dalits were hit. When Muslims are attacked by lynch mobs, he, at best, makes perfunctory remarks, if at all.

I haven’t thought clearly about the Muslim-Dalit distinction you are drawing, nor does the book talk about it. I will think more systematically about it.

Riaz Haq said...

In India and Pakistan, religion makes one country’s hero the other’s villain
By Haroon Khalid

At the entrance of the [Badshahi Masjid in Lahore] are some pictures from the colonial era. They show the mosque’s dilapidated condition after having served as a horse stable during the Sikh era.


The pictures narrate the story of the mosque, of the benevolence of the “just and fair” colonial empire that returned its control to the rightful inheritors—the Muslims of the city. It narrates the story of colonial historiography, the categorisation of history into Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and British eras, pitting epochs, communities, religions, and histories against one other, and in the process creating new classifications that might not have been there at the start. History is used as a political tool, an excuse, a justification for the imposition of colonial rule. The British were needed to rescue the Muslims from the Sikhs, the Hindus from the Muslims, the Dravidians from the Aryans, the Dalits from the Brahmins, the past from the present.

The narrative continues to unfold even today, throughout south Asia, as modern sensibilities are imposed on historical characters, making heroes out of them, of imagined communities. The Mughal rule, for example, in this narrative became a symbol of the oppressive Muslim “colonialism” of India, as foreign to the Indian subcontinent as British rule, while figures such as Chhatrapati Shivaji were representative of Hindu indigenous resistance. Just like the British, everything Muslim was deemed “foreign,” alien to the Indian subcontinent, a coercive historical anomaly that ruptured the Indian, read Hindu, civilization. In this narrative there was room for Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs within the fold of Hindu nationalism, but not for the Muslims, the successors of foreign occupation.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Muslims too looked back to a “glorious” past when this infidel land was ruled by one true force. This imagined memory became the basis of laying down future plans, with one group determined to uproot all vestiges of foreign influence, and the other wanting to take inspiration from the past to reclaim lost glory. The British, in the meantime, were more than eager to perpetuate this communalisation of history for it provided them with a justification to govern as arbitrators, as correctors of historical injustices.

In this communalisation of history, emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707) bears the dubious distinction of being blamed for the downfall of the mighty Mughal empire due to his intolerance, a product of his puritanical interpretation of religion. It is believed that during his long rule, which saw the expansion of the Mughal empire to its zenith, Aurangzeb isolated several of his key Hindu allies because of his religious policies. Ever since the time of Emperor Akbar, jizya, a tax levied on non-Muslim subjects in a Muslim empire for their protection, stood abolished. It was reintroduced by Aurangzeb, adding to the grievances of his Hindu subjects, including his Rajput allies, whose support to the Mughal throne had been crucial to its stability throughout Mughal history. Also, Aurangzeb’s protracted campaign in the Deccan was perceived as his vainglorious attempt to expand his autocratic rule, which put such a burden on the state that it quickly unravelled after his death.

As evidence of Aurangzeb’s intolerance, it is argued that he demolished several Hindu temples. Sikh history notes how he ordered the assassination of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, for his sympathy to the Kashmiri Brahmins. The Mughal-Sikh conflict continued with Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son, Guru Gobind Singh, who waged several battles with the powerful Mughal army. The staunchest opposition to Aurangzeb came from the Marathas in the south, under the leadership of Shivaji.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians demand citizenships of countries they settle in and they get angry if denied; yet they, today's #Hindus, consider #India's #Muslims and India-born #Muslim rulers and their descendants outsiders. #BJP #Modi

Amrit Dhillon is a New Delhi-based journalist.

Indians have often demanded that the countries to which they have migrated should, after a suitable period, grant them citizenship. If a government refuses to do so, they become angry. It’s my right, my children were born here, I am settled here, this is my home now.

Fair enough.

Yet descendants of the Muslim Mughal dynasty, which ruled India for almost 400 years, are considered outsiders by those same people who wish to claim citizenship, today’s Hindus. Although their forefathers came from Central Asia, the Mughals settled in India. Some took Hindu wives, made India their home and died here. So why is the current government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), busy renaming towns to remove any names that sound even remotely Muslim and replacing them with Hindu ones? The federal government has given consent to the renaming of at least 25 towns and villages in the past year. The latest is in Uttar Pradesh where BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has renamed Faizabad district as Ayodhya. Last year, he gave Mughalsarai railway station a Hindu name. Last month, he renamed Allahabad city as Prayagraj. Other BJP chief ministers are also going to get rid of Muslim-sounding names.

Why do Hindus, who are the majority and currently ruled by the BJP, which glorifies Hindu culture, seem so insecure? So much so that renaming a city satisfies some obscure and deep need? From their behaviour, you would think they were a besieged minority seeking solace in symbolic acts.

Indians, of course, are not the only ones to rename cities. The Bolsheviks (who even renamed their country) turned St. Petersburg into Leningrad to honour Lenin. Opposing empires have turned a beautiful city variously into Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul. The Vietnamese got rid of Saigon (a westernized form of the traditional name) and made it Ho Chi Minh City as a rejection of French colonialism. Ever since the end of apartheid, South Africans have renamed streets, airports and towns to obliterate those given by their Afrikaans oppressors. And Indians have renamed major streets named after British personages for the same reason – to repudiate their colonial rulers.

But to erase names given by the Mughals, their own ancestors? This is not the same as repudiating foreign rulers (the British) or indigenous oppressors (the Afrikaans). The reason for the renaming is that the BJP and some of its supporters cannot abide the act that India was ruled by Muslims. Externally, they feel loathing and hatred for the Mughals qua Muslims. Internally, they feel sheepish and diminished that a Hindu-majority country came to be ruled by Muslims and for so long.

This practice is plain silly. The BJP have three Muslim ministers in the government right now. Why not get them to change their names, too? And why not, as respected historian Irfan Habib has suggested, get the BJP president Amit Shah (a Hindu, of course) to change his surname because the name Shah is of Persian origin?

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians demand citizenships of countries they settle in and they get angry if denied; yet they, today's #Hindus, consider #India's #Muslims and India-born #Muslim rulers and their descendants outsiders. #BJP #Modi

Amrit Dhillon is a New Delhi-based journalist.

The renaming business, if taken to its logical conclusion, would require that insecure Hindus stop eating biryani (a Mughal dish), stop wearing the sherwani (a long, formal coat), stop listening to Sufi music and shut down the Taj Mahal (don’t laugh – some members of the Hindu fringe claim preposterously that the monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was originally a Hindu temple). In fact, the Taj Mahal in particular upsets Hindu extremists because it is the symbol of India for the world – and it is Muslim.

When you suffer from an inferiority complex, you feel compelled to launch a renaming campaign as a way of telling your Muslim minority, your fellow-citizens, that they have made no contribution to India’s cultural life. That whatever the Mughals did is of no value, despite the fact that it is their buildings and monuments that Indians and foreigners admire.

Indian Muslims have already been forced by this government to be on the defensive over the issue of beef, which has been used to attack and lynch them. But to go on a renaming spree, which sends the message that their cultural contribution is zero, is the height of pettiness and a new low.

The latest spate of renaming is also an insult to Indian voters. A general election is due next year and it takes no great depth of political analysis to see that the BJP hopes that renaming cities will help voters forget that it has hardly fulfilled any of its grandiose promises and that life for most ordinary Indians continues to be as hard as ever. So rename cities rather than create jobs.

Rename Faizabad rather than tackle the pollution in Faizabad. Rename Mughalsarai railway station rather than keep the platforms clean and give travelers modern amenities. Rename Allahabad rather than remove the stinking piles of rubbish and drains clogged with filth.

In fact, under this government’s own Ministry of Urban Development’s cleanliness rankings last year, most of the major cities in Mr, Adityanath’s state, Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s poorest, fared badly on all parameters. But why bother trying to address that?

Getting rid of Muslim names is both a spiteful petty act against Muslims and bread and circuses.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu Nationalist saffron brigade is working tirelessly to scrub #Modi’s #India clean of vestiges of the #Mughals by writing them out of school textbooks, renaming cities and roads, and neglecting Mughal monuments monuments.

INDIA IS GRIPPED by Mughal fever these days. Seemingly obsessed with premodern India’s most famous empire, the saffron brigade works tirelessly to scrub Modi’s India clean of vestiges of the Mughals by writing them out of school textbooks, renaming cities and roads, and neglecting Mughal monuments. When Hindu nationalists are not marginalising the Mughals, they villainise these long-dead kings as proxies for modern-day Indian Muslims. All actions provoke a reaction. And so popular curiosity about the Mughals has expanded apace with Hindutva’s anti-Muslim exertions. The political abuse of Mughal history raises the stakes of popular knowledge about this dynasty and their legacies in India.

Parvati Sharma’s Jahangir : An Intimate Portrait of a Great Mughal (Juggernaut; Rs 599; 319 pages) and Ruby Lal’s Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan (Viking; Rs 599; 304 pages) are among the most recent efforts to wade into these fraught waters and educate the public about key Mughal figures. Sharma tracks the life of Jahangir (1569-1627), the fourth Mughal king, while Lal devotes her attention to his favourite wife, Nur Jahan (1577-1645). Jahangir and Nur Jahan were only married for 16 years (1611-1627), but their alliance defined much about both of their lives. They were the ultimate power couple. He sat on the throne, and she wielded power behind the scenes (how much power is the subject of scholarly debate and a question that animates Lal’s book). Still, neither author has written about this pair, but rather each has chosen to write a narrative biography of a single royal figure.

Biography has been a late-bloomer in the discipline of history, and the jury is still out on its ultimate acceptance as a productive way to analyse the past. For decades, most professional historians wrote off biography as a crummy way to do history. Things began to shift in the 1980s and 1990s as some historians saw anew in biography a way to produce social history. Still, the genre has its share of detractors. Writing in 1999, Stanley Fish slammed biography as ‘minutiae without meaning’ and ‘a bad game’ that is less edifying to readers than watching professional wrestling. In recent years, historians have characterised biography as ‘the bastard child of academe,’ ‘the [historical] profession’s unloved stepchild’ and, quite simply, ‘a lesser form of history.’

While many professional historians have long turned up their noses at narrative biography, everybody else feels differently. As Richard Eaton has observed: ‘People are profoundly drawn to the personalities and life-stories of others.’ Seeking to quench or at least address this popular thirst for biography, William Dalrymple—who has done more than any scholar to awaken public interest in Mughal history—wrote in 2005 that more historians ought to write ‘serious biography or narrative history’ of India’s pre-colonial rulers. Historians have responded to this call. For instance, Sunil Khilnani told the history of India through 50 lives as a radio programme, set of podcasts, and a book (Incarnations: India in 50 Lives, 2016). In addition, non- historians have attempted to produce narrative histories.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

Between the 1960s and the 1990s, India’s textbooks were a stronghold of the country’s left-wing ruling class, represented by the dominant Congress Party. Distinguished scholars such as the historians Romila Thapar and Satish Chandra wrote textbooks that were strikingly erudite, analyzing, for instance, the high price of shoes during the medieval era and the manner in which Indian colors such as peacock blue altered the Persian style of early Mughal court painting.

These textbooks used Mughal emperors as mouthpieces for twentieth-century politics. To the Mughal ruler Akbar (1542–1605), one book attributed “the great dream” that “people should forget their differences about religion and think of themselves only as the people of India.” This was actually the dream of Jawaharlal Nehru, a leader of the independence movement and India’s prime minister for its first seventeen years of statehood. In his book The Discovery of India, Nehru described his homeland as “an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously.” Such a polyglot history could form the factual basis, Nehru hoped, for each of India’s ethnic and religious groups to feel they shared a claim to a common national identity.

When the BJP took over several state governments in the 1990s, it began publishing its own state-level textbooks. The party assumed effective control of the federal government for the first time in 1998 and quickly announced that education would be “Indianised, nationalised and spiritualised.”1 Four years later, it started releasing textbooks—forerunners to those recently issued in Rajasthan—that glorified the Vedic era and vilified Muslim rulers.

The change provoked an outcry. One prominent journalist warned that the new federal textbooks heralded “the destruction of secularism and pluralism.” After the BJP lost the next general election in 2004, the new ruling coalition, led by Congress, changed the way textbooks were written in order to prevent them from being ideologically slanted. Rather than commission individual authors, the government introduced Textbook Development Committees (TDCs) composed of authorities from a variety of professions and academic disciplines. The books produced under this system lack the élan of their Nehruvian predecessors, but they signify a consensus of expert opinion and deftly navigate controversial issues. The seventh-grade history book, for instance, observes that Mahmud of Ghazni (971–1030), the Islamic sultan of Afghanistan, sacked Indian temples—a point of emphasis for Hindu nationalists—but explains that this was a common military and political technique also employed by contemporaneous Hindu and Buddhist rulers.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

The word “Hindu” is not indigenous to India. It comes from an Old Persian word used by Arabs and Turks to refer to the people who lived around the Indus River. The religious sense of the word “Hindu” does not seem to have existed until the second millennium AD. Even into the early nineteenth century, its meaning was vague enough that Europeans would refer to “Hindoo Muslims.” The people we now consider Hindus appear generally to have thought of themselves for millennia as belonging primarily to a caste and to a region, rather than to a religion.

The first accounts of Hinduism lie in the Vedas, a corpus of religious texts whose most ancient works are conventionally dated to the middle of the second millennium BC. That’s pretty old, but it doesn’t make Hinduism old enough—or Hindus native enough—for the purposes of Hindutva. Ruins associated with the Harappan civilization suggest that an urban society without any obvious connection to the pastoral world described by the Vedas existed in India as early as the third millennium BC. Not only do the Vedas seem far removed from India’s earliest-known civilization, but they were also probably composed by the descendants of recent migrants to India who dominated other longer-standing groups in the form of the caste system.3

All this is inconvenient for an ideology that seeks to make Indian history into Hindu history. The Rajasthan books solve this problem by making the Harappan civilization fully Vedic, renaming it the “Sindhu-Saraswati” civilization after the “Saraswati River” of the Vedas. In this way, the Vedas provide a common origin point for Hinduism, for the diverse castes within Hinduism, and for India writ large. “Vedic culture” is transformed, as the sixth-grade book says, into “the Sanatan (Perennial) culture of India.”

The early Hindu era is depicted in the Rajasthan books as an unrivaled Golden Age. The condition of women was “happy and progressive.” In contrast to the strictures of caste, “as per his needs, a person could change his profession.” Many rulers followed a “democratic and constitutional form of administration” that resembled the “present day Loksabha,” India’s lower house of parliament, since “members were elected by the public.” At the same time, the Golden Age also boasted religious purity: “nobody except chandals”—members of a traditionally untouchable caste—“ate meat or drank wine,” and rulers were “hardcore followers of Hinduism.”

Gujarat’s textbooks take a more moderate line on ancient India, but still tend toward the view that “the most glorious and prosperous age of Indian history” occurred before Muslim rule. On a visit to a tenth-grade social science class at the English-medium Asia School of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s former capital, I saw how even such milder promotions of ancient India could encourage chauvinism among teachers and students.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

The class lingered on vastu shastra, the Vedic study of architecture, one of many aspects of ancient Indian thought emphasized in the tenth-grade social science textbook. In her explanation of the section, Archana Sharma, the teacher, described Vedic practices as quintessentially Indian and ascribed superlatively “auspicious” powers to them. One student wondered about the worldly implications of these views. “If we are following vastu shastra so well,” he asked, “why are we a developing nation?” This enabled Sharma to unlock the next step of the logic of Hindutva history: the idea that a lack of pan-Hindu sentiment permitted violent and immoral Muslims to defile the country. “Only one thing missing was unity. Otherwise, not possible for Mughals to come for so many centuries. They stayed here as a foreign country. We would have welcomed them as guest. But they did not stay as guest.” Instead, Muslims “looted so much.” India was “ruined by a number of invasions.” The class nodded along, taking notes.

One crucial question largely absent from Rajasthan’s books is how exactly the dominant power of India came to be Muslim. Rajasthan’s tenth-grade social science textbook observes that the twelfth-century ruler of northwest and central India, Prithviraj Chauhan, defeated Muhammad of Ghor in several battles, but passes over Ghor’s ultimate victory, saying simply that “due to certain circumstances, Muslim rule started in India by 1206 CE.”

In their discussions of the Mughal era, the Nehruvian textbooks emphasized Akbar, who empowered Hindu generals, married Hindu princesses, participated in Hindu ceremonies, abolished religious taxes, and held spiritual discussions with Hindus, Christians, Jews, and even atheists. These details are neglected in the new Rajasthan and Gujarat books, which concentrate instead on Aurangzeb (1618–1707), the emperor who reinstated religious taxes and destroyed some Hindu temples. The books overstate Aurangzeb’s prejudice—“Aurangzeb used to hate Hindus,” according to Rajasthan’s eighth-grade book—and exaggerate its influence, suggesting, as in Gujarat’s seventh-grade book, that “Aurangzeb’s narrow-minded policies were responsible for the end of the Mughal Empire.” The truth is more complicated: as Audrey Truschke, an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University, writes in her recent book, Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King, Aurangzeb “employed more Hindus in his administration than any prior Mughal ruler by a substantial margin” and supported Hindu religious practices in numerous ways.

As Muslim rulers are diminished or vilified, so Hindu figures of the same period are inflated to majestic dimensions. The updates to the federal seventh-grade history book include the introduction of Maharana Pratap, a local ruler who “stood his ground” against the Mughals, and an expanded section on the warrior king Shivaji’s “career of conquest.” Shivaji was from Maharashtra, and though the state’s seventh-grade history and civics book claims to describe the “History of Medieval India,” it treats this regional hero as a figure of such civilizational import that his life, like that of Jesus Christ, organizes time itself. There is “India before the Times of Shivaji Maharaj,” “Maharashtra before the Times of Shivaji Maharaj,” and then, climactically, Shivaji’s own era, that of “An Ideal Ruler.” Whereas the Mughals are described as “foreign powers,” Shivaji’s descendants are “The Protectors of the Nation,” suggesting that Indian national identity began with Hindu self-assertion.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

The Rajasthan books use the more pungent phrase “foreign invaders” for the Mughals, but there is little evidence that most Indians saw them that way. In fact, during the armed struggle against the British in 1857, Hindu and Muslim rebel soldiers from all over India came to Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar, the inheritor of the much-weakened Mughal Empire, the leader of their movement and the symbol of home rule.

The same tactics of selection and elision characterize the textbooks’ portrayal of the freedom movement. Mohandas Gandhi and Nehru are generally considered the most consequential figures of this period. Both, however, embody the “ancient palimpsest” view of Indian history that Hindutva seeks to eradicate. The Gujarat and Rajasthan textbooks emphasize instead figures of notable “manliness,” such as Bhagat Singh, whose activities during the independence movement included killing a British policeman and bombing the Central Legislative Assembly of the British Empire. “The revolutionary martyrs wrote the history of Indian independence through their blood,” according to Rajasthan’s tenth-grade book—a rather far cry from Gandhian nonviolence.

The Rajasthan books solve the conundrum of the ideology of the leaders of the independence movement by completely wiping out Nehru from their eighth-grade modern history section, and emphasizing instead none other than Vinayak Savarkar—whom they refer to as “Veer,” the Sanskrit word for “brave.” Savarkar is thought to have rather preposterously given himself this name in a pseudonymous autobiography, despite the assertion in Rajasthan’s tenth-grade book that “the public adorned” him with it. Without any mention of Savarkar’s writing on Hindutva, the books hail him as a “great revolutionary, a great nationalist and a great organizer.” Yet after being imprisoned in 1911 for violent anticolonial activities, Savarkar pledged loyalty to the British Empire. When Gandhi called for a civil disobedience campaign during World War II, Savarkar encouraged his followers to cooperate with the British war effort. Savarkar’s legacy comes from his theoretical and political contributions to Hindu nationalism—not from participating in the independence movement.

K.S. Gupta, a former professor at the Mohanlal Sukhadia University of Udaipur and one of the eight writers of the sixth-to-eighth grade Rajasthan textbooks, said in an interview that he was “fully convinced that Savarkar’s utility is due to his views on Hinduism.” Gupta declined to explain why Savarkar’s questionable involvement with the freedom struggle was mentioned in lieu of these views, but he did expound on Gandhi’s and Nehru’s flaws. “Gandhi was never successful in any of his movements,” he said. “Nehru had no in-depth study about India.” Chief among these leaders’ mistakes was being “very soft on Muslims,” especially during partition with Pakistan, since “there should have been exchange of population there.”

“What was the need of keeping them here?” Gupta asked about India’s Muslims. They have a “Pakistan mentality,” he explained, and yet “every political party is looking after their welfare.” “Parliament may be good for England,” Gupta concluded, “but not for India.”

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

Though the updates to the federal textbooks have been moderate so far, a BJP victory in next year’s general election would likely lead to greater changes. Crucial policy documents of the government education department are over ten years old, and their replacements are expected soon. In March, a Reuter’s article revealed that a federally appointed committee of scholars and bureaucrats is working on a report intended as a basis for rewriting textbooks along extreme Hindu nationalist lines. More changes can also be expected at the state level. Arun Yadav, a media adviser for the BJP government of the state of Haryana, told me that the local administration is planning to change its books to resemble those of Rajasthan.

Some journalists and academics will vehemently protest these efforts, but TV and print editors and university presidents are increasingly government loyalists. Meanwhile, years of battles over textbooks have led many Indians to conclude that there is no such thing as objective history—only power and the stories it finds useful. “Every party has their scholars,” Subhash Sharma, the deputy director of Rajasthan’s State Institute of Educational Research and Training, told me in an interview. “History writing has always been controversial, na? History is always written in favor of the government.”

Such cynicism will make history into a province of passion rather than reason. This transformation has had destructive consequences before. In 1992, Hindu mobs tore down a mosque because of dubious claims that it had been constructed centuries earlier on the site of a demolished temple. Riots followed in which roughly two thousand people, many of them Muslim, were killed. It’s not just the nature of Indian identity that depends on what Indians believe about their history. It’s also the most basic rights of over two hundred million citizens who do not identify as Hindus.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Hindu Nationalist Sena: "#British Queen Victoria rid #India of Islamic invaders": Hindu Sena celebrates death anniversary. The #Hindu Sena on Tuesday organized an event at #Delhi's Jantar Mantar to celebrate the Queen. via @indiatoday

ueen Victoria rid India of Islamic terrorists and invaders - with this tagline, Hindu Sena, a right wing outfit was seen celebrating the British royal's death anniversary on January 22.

Known for its bizarre protests and celebrations, the Hindu Sena on Tuesday organised an event at Delhi's Jantar Mantar to celebrate the Queen.

In its invite that is circulating on social media, Hindu Sena also declared the 1857 as the year in which India gained independence in the truest sense.

Riaz Haq said...

Every Muslim ruler in India, Mohammed bin Qasim onward, had a bureaucracy peopled by Hindu elites, alliances with Hindu rulers, Hindus in positions of political and military authorities, and Hindus in their army. So what is this nonsense about Hindus being oppressed by Muslims?

Riaz Haq said...

Author Ashutosh in"Hindu Rashtra" talks about call to arms for #Gandhi’s #Hindus . “#Hindutva has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past” under #Muslim rule. #Modi wants “masculine and martial nationalism” aimed at “#Kashmir, #Pakistan and #Islam”

As time moves forward, Hindu Rashtra will take its rightful place as a well-researched attempt to explain the unfolding of the Modi years. Review by Mani Shankar Aiyar

Ashutosh takes the reader by the hand, as it were, through the beginnings of Hindutva: the invention of this hitherto unknown word by V.D. Savarkar, its elaboration by M.S. Golwalkar, and its being put into political practice by the current icon of “masculine and martial nationalism”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Hindutva,” the author observes, “has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past”. The past is seen, in Savarkar’s words, as “millions of Muslim invaders from all over Asia (falling) over India century after century with all the ferocity at their command to destroy the Hindu religion, the lifeblood of the nation”. Savarkar held that in this the Muslim invaders succeeded only because the Hindus had become “weak and cowardly” by upholding the “perverted virtues” of “compassion, tolerance, non-violence and truth”. The answer lay in recasting the Hindu as “masculine and martial”, the very qualities that Mr Modi seeks to embody. Ashutosh continues: “Modi epitomises Hindutva nationalism, which is founded on an adversarial attitude towards Muslims and believes that India’s history is one of Hindus being tortured in their own homeland for thousands of years because of the ruthlessness of Muslim rulers”.

But why continue this quarrel with the past even unto the 21st century, well after India, albeit a partitioned India, gained her Independence? M.K. Gandhi laid down the fundamental parameter of our contemporary nationhood in the following terms: “The assumption that India has now become the land of the Hindus is erroneous. India belongs to all who live here”.

Golwalkar held in direct contrast that the coming into being of Pakistan “is a clear case of continued Muslim aggression”. This led Nathuram Godse to justify assassinating Gandhi as, “Gandhiji was himself the greatest supporter and advocate of Pakistan… In these circumstances, the only effective remedy to relieve the Hindus from the Muslim atrocities was, to my mind, to remove Gandhiji from this world.”

This meshes seamlessly, as cited by Ashutosh, with Vinay Katiyar, several times BJP MP from Faizabad, asserting in an NDTV interview on February 7, 2018: “Muslims should not stay in this country. They have partitioned the country. So why are they here? They should go to Bangladesh or Pakistan. They have no business being here in India”. And that explains the conflation of “Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam” which Hindutva enjoins as “the duty of every Indian to fight”.

It is from such beliefs, argues Ashutosh, that have arisen the horrors of lynching and murder in the name of gau raksha and “love jihad”, assault and assassination of “anti-nationals”, the undermining of the institutions of democracy, and the nurturing of a new breed of “right-wing television channels that have become platforms for the propagation of Hindutva ideology: muscular nationalism; warmongering; militarism; bashing of Islam, Kashmir and Pakistan; and ridiculing and condemning liberal and secular values”.

The writer goes into each of these, and more, linking them to the ideology that inspires such hate and prejudice. The basic dream of Hindutvavadis, he shows, is “to make Hindus ruthless and masculine as they assume Islam did to its followers” by “effectively us(ing) state power to spread religion”.

Riaz Haq said...

Most famous #ingredients used to make typical '#Indian' #cuisine aren’t actually native to #India. chillies from #Mexico, potatoes from #SouthAmerica, tomatoes (introduced by the Portuguese) and the texture of its naan (from Central Asia)

I was in a narrow kitchen in Mumbai, one of India’s most strikingly modern cities, watching an ancient Indian meal being cooked on vessels of baked clay. Utensils made from leaves, wood and metal were scattered across the kitchen. The food was being prepared using only ingredients native to the subcontinent, which meant that the sharpness of chillies (native to Mexico) and the starch of the potatoes (imported from South America) were missing.

“No cabbages, cauliflower, peas or carrots, either,” said Kasturirangan Ramanujam, one of the cooks preparing the meal. But that won’t stop him from making an elaborate feast for my family that will include rice, the mulligatawny-like saatramudu, protein-rich kuzhambu gravy and an astonishing array of vegetables and snacks.

This is the shraadha meal that is eaten by many Hindu families in southern India on the death anniversaries of close family members – in this case, the anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing. While the feast is believed to feed families’ departed ancestors, it has inadvertently created a living memory of the region’s culinary history, because it is made entirely from recipes and ingredients that have existed on the subcontinent for at least a millennium.

In a country famous for its rich red curries made from tomatoes (introduced by the Portuguese) and the texture of its naan (from Central Asia), many of the most famous ingredients that go into typical ‘Indian’ food aren’t actually native to India.

Potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots and peas, which are now staples in contemporary Indian cooking, arrived in the subcontinent relatively recently. Accounts from the late-18th Century report that the Dutch brought potatoes to India primarily to feed other Europeans. Now, however, potatoes are boiled, baked, roasted, stuffed and fried in nearly every kitchen in India.

The late Indian food historian K T Achaya believed that chillies probably arrived from Mexico via Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and answered a deeply felt need for a pungent spice that could be grown in every part of the country without needing as much rain as pepper.

And according to Ruchi Srivastava, producer for Indian television show The Curries of India, “All cuisines in India have adopted the tomato.” The plant arrived in India through a circuitous route – from South America to southern Europe, then to England and finally to India in the 16th Century courtesy of the British. Srivastava argues that restaurants and hotels have popularised red curry sauce as ‘Indian’ in the last 100 years. “This has now started changing the palate of people,” she said. “For anyone who doesn’t know much about Indian food, the onion-tomato gravy has become a classic.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Liberals need to watch out for their own careless #Islamophobia. Our prejudices about Muslims are not even original. Through the last millennium, the West constructed the #Muslim as a threat, as #Christianity and #Islam competed for power

Clearly, melting yourself down to Hindutva specifications isn’t enough if you have a Muslim name.

But forget the Hindu right, who are ideologically committed to their position. What is remarkable is how even liberals buy into similar suspicions.

Our prejudices about Muslims are not even original. Our language and images are borrowed. Through the last millennium, the West constructed the Muslim as a threat, as Christianity and Islam competed for power. Nineteenth-century European scholars of the Orient, obsessed with classifying and differentiating, with racial and civilisational theories— instilled the idea that the Muslim mind is one, unchanged from the deserts of Arabia, sexist and violent and fanatical.

These colonial storytellers gave us our H&M history — Hindus were cast as indisciplined and soft, Turks and Afghans and Persians were all made into generic ferocious Muslims, medieval warfare on all sides was recast as running religious enmity. This British-made history didn’t just set off Hindu nationalists — you hear it everywhere. Then the American Islamophobia industry after 9/11, which cast specific political conflicts as an enduring struggle with a malevolent, medieval other, fed perfectly into Indian politics and majority common-sense.

This stuff is not always about memories of trauma, it is mass-manufactured mythology. Someone I know in Kerala, who has inherited no psychic injury from any invasion or riot, is a library of Islamophobic stereotypes. He quotes cherry-picked bits from the Quran that abound on the internet, gives no quarter to context. He forgets his real schoolmates and acquaintances, as he frets about this abstract Muslim terrorist.

This allows people like him to blank out the violent hate-crimes, the insecurity and denial of rights that the NRC threatens, the majoritarian tilt of the Ayodhya judgment. It makes it impossible to see the facts of subordination and exclusion that the Sachar committee showed. It makes them reduce democracy-as-usual — i.e., responding to interest groups, as every party does — as suspect ‘vote bank’ pandering when it comes to Muslims.

Some liberals are not much better; accepting Hindutva terms like “appeasement” for basic cultural protections given to minorities in a multicultural nation. They hold pity-parties for Muslim women, as though non-Muslim women are much better off, affecting not to know that sexist societies make for sexist practices, whatever the faith.

To them, just being a believing Muslim is a sign of “indoctrination” or orthodoxy. Just speaking strongly for yourself, in this embattled situation, makes a Muslim a “Musanghi” in their eyes. The only acceptable Muslim is the post-faith Muslim, or someone willing to run down their community. Think of everyone clucking over Zaira Wasim’s choices, or liberal feminists bemoaning the hijab without respecting the rationality of the wearer. Remember how Nusrat Jahan’s sindoor was gloriously Indian, but Hadiya’s choices were about ISIS mind control? Most of us know little, ask little, but judge with an airy superiority.

Religion is a source of selfhood, a personal journey and a community, a refuge and a practice. But when it comes to political Islam, we make a point of the Islam rather than the politics. Even liberals divide things into a grid between good or bad, Sufi or Wahhabi, moderate or fundamentalist, syncretic or scarily alien. But Sufism has inspired fighters too; a better approach might be to see totalitarianism and violence as what they are, whether under the banner of Islam or class struggle or anything else.

Ahmed Shah said...

Sir Riaz Haq Sahab

Are you sure that British govt of India intentionally distorted the history of Muslim rule in India to promote Hindu rule in the country or they wanted to justify their own arrival and rule in India?

Riaz Haq said...

B.K. Chattopadhyay, the novelist who penned "Vande Mataram" [considered the national song of India], on Islam/Muslims.Source : Ayesha Jalal, "Self and Sovereignty : Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850"

"Harping on the extra-territorial affiliations of Indian Muslims was an old dictum of the discourse on majoritarianism. Even before the formal granting of separate electorates to Indian Muslims in 1909, the discourse of Indian nationalism had become thoroughly infused with the presumption of majority 'majority' and 'minority' interests. The idea of a single Indian 'nation' was most powerfully expressed by the Bengali pen. Yet as educated Bengali Muslims noted with bitterness, the 'nation' had acquired overtones that were offensively exclusionary. In 1898 the Muslim Educational Conference formally condemned the animosity towards Muslims found in literature. Novels and poems depicting Muslims as 'wicked, tyrannical, dissolute devils and hated lecherous dogs' drew the 'praise of countless Hindus'. Leading the attack was the popular Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (1838-1894) whose creative imagination was not above dragging the daughters of Muslim rulers out of the harem to show them as 'desirous of the love of Shivaji', the 'devil incarnate', 'mountain-rat and slayer of women'. Muslim women were seen 'languishing for the love of pig-eating Rajputs' or portrayed as 'handmaids' of 'Hindu slaves'. The delight with which such stories were staged and appreciated suggested that 'Hindu authors, orators, poets and novelists' believed they were 'born only to slay the yavannas'. 
Unless the term yavannas was defined otherwise, Bengali Muslims would 'continue to take it as a terrible term of abuse' reserved exclusively for them. How could 'Hindus whiningly and brazenly' expect Muslims to like them while using such derogatory terms like yavannas and mlechhas? Until they realized the internal dissensions' were the 'root of ruination', Hindu-Muslim unity would 'remain a mid-day reverie'.   

Riaz Haq said...

Perhaps #Modi's words explain the current situation best: "Barah sau saal ki gulami ki maansikta humein pareshan kar rahi hai" (The slave mentality of 1,200 years is troubling us). Probably a reference to 1000 years of #Muslim rule, 200 years of #British Raj in #India

New Delhi: "Barah sau saal ki gulami ki maansikta humein pareshan kar rahi hai. Bahut baar humse thoda ooncha vyakti mile, to sar ooncha karke baat karne ki humari taaqat nahin hoti hai (The slave mentality of 1,200 years is troubling us. Often, when we meet a person of high stature, we fail to muster strength to speak up).

Those were some seminal words in the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. He was speaking as part of the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address to the joint session of the Parliament on 9 June. The key phrase was – "1,200 years of slave mentality".

For years, India has grown up on the hard fact of "slavery of 200 years", that refers to the period that the country was under the British rule. By expanding it to 1,200 years—by including the millennium in which major rulers of the country were Muslims—is PM Modi trying to bring about a paradigm change in the way we perceive our history?

However, this is not the first time he has used this phrase in his speech – he has referred to "1,200 years of slavery" in quite a few of his addresses in previous years. The phrase assumes significance now as he is the prime minister of the country.

Scholars are divided on their assessment of this new usage in the context of Indian history. Makkhan Lal, historian and former ICHR Council member, says, "The prime minister has stated historical facts. He was not asserting to political correctness. Whether Ghoris, Ghaznavis, or the rulers of the Sultanate or the Mughal period, they were all foreigners originally. They didn't belong to the culture of the land then. They came from outside, waged wars against the local rulers, took them captive and in many cases, plundered the resources and ruled the land by enslaving the locals."

The question, it seems, is not about foreign rule or local rule, but about 'slavery' or subservience to a foreign power that gave birth to slave mentality. Lal elaborates, "Had the British not left India in 1947, and stayed on and become one among the Indians, they too would have begun to be considered as non-foreign."


After all, it was not just Hindu rulers that the invading Muslims fought against. In later period, often, the locals challenging the invading Muslim armies were Muslim themselves. Says Rajeev Kumar Srivastav of Banaras Hindu University, "Most of the foreign Muslim rulers of India between 1206-1256 paid obeisance to the Khalifa and not to an Indian authority, which clearly points to their foreign character. Even local Muslims were at loggerheads with the Muslim rulers, which is clearly referred to in the book Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi, by Zia-ud-din Barni and Shams-i-Siraj Afifi written during Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firuz Shah's reign.”

As expected, the repositioning of the period of 'slavery' in Indian history is bound to incite academic attack. Mushirul Hasan, historian and former vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, says, "It is complete falsification of history. Several historians have refuted this fact but if the government wants to revisit it, they are free to do so, just as we are free to contest. The British didn't make India their home, whereas Muslims who came here, settled in India and contributed to the country’s culture. That gave birth to the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (syncretic culture)."

Riaz Haq said...

In 1026, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raided the Hindu temple of Somanatha (Somnath in textbooks of the colonial period). The story of the raid has reverberated in Indian history, but largely during the raj. It was first depicted as a trauma for the Hindu population not in India, but in the House of Commons. The triumphalist accounts of the event in Turko-Persian chronicles became the main source for most eighteenth-century historians. It suited everyone and helped the British to divide and rule a multi-millioned subcontinent.

In her new book, Romila Thapar, the doyenne of Indian historians, reconstructs what took place by studying other sources, including local Sanskrit inscriptions, biographies of kings and merchants of the period, court epics and popular narratives that have survived. The result is astounding and undermines the traditional version of what took place. These findings also contest the current Hindu religious nationalism that constantly utilises the conventional version of this history.


Thapar, Romila. The Past as Present (pp. 168-169). Aleph Book co.. Kindle Edition.

Some of the articles in this book discuss the manner in which religious ‘nationalisms’ interpret or object to certain historical texts. Items are picked out from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana—to be used for political mobilization; or there is a particular projection of an event such as the raid of Mahmud of Ghazni on the temple of Somanatha/Somnath. The dates of the epics have been contested since a long time and the more conservative attempt has been to take them back to remote antiquity. Historians try to date the core of each epic by relating it to the kind of society it represents as known from other sources, and the segments added on are investigated in terms of the society they depict or the artifacts they mention. It is thought that since evidence for them is lacking in earlier periods, signet rings were probably unknown to India prior to the coming of the Indo-Greeks at the turn of the Christian era. Would the reference to the signet ring in the Ramayana date to this period, as was suggested by the archaeologist H.D. Sankalia?

Riaz Haq said...

Those who refer to Mahmud of Ghazni’s destruction of Hindu temples and the carrying away of their wealth generally prefer to ignore the statement of Kalhana in the Rajatarangini that Harshadeva, an eleventh century king of Kashmir and therefore a close contemporary of Mahmud, defiled and looted temples when he required funds for the State treasury. The devotpatananayaka, officer in charge of uprooting the gods, was appointed to seize the images and the wealth of temples. Given the opulence of most temples, such evidence may be forthcoming from other areas as well. The wealth stored in temples required some to be walled in and defended almost like fortresses.

The religious intolerance of royalty flavoured with politics often taking violent forms is not unknown in many societies. Possibly what muted religious intolerance among the larger number of people in India was the link between religion and caste which confined it to being a local event. Communication of news was in any case relatively limited. For example, knowledge about the raids of Mahmud of Ghazni, was generally confined to the areas he visited.

Thapar, Romila. The Past as Present (p. 149). Aleph Book co.. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

#American Historian Audrey Truschke faces threats, Rutgers University extends support to her. Some students, mainly #Hindu, allege that the historian was defaming #Hindus due to her ‘inherently prejudiced views’. #Hindutva #Modi #India via @scroll_in

Truschke, who teaches South Asian history at Rutgers University, is the author of Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court, Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King, and most recently, The Language Of History: Sanskrit Narratives Of A Muslim Past, which explores ancient Sanskrit texts and their perspectives on Indo-Muslim rule and the Deccan sultanates.

Her most well known and controversial work remains to be Aurangzeb, in which Truschke offers a perspective on the public debate over the Mughal emperor, who is often condemned as the cruelest king in Indian history, and makes the case for why his often-maligned legacy deserves to be reassessed.

Aurangzeb, a Muslim ruler, is widely thought to have destroyed thousands of Hindu temples, forced millions of Indians to convert to Islam, and enacted a genocide of Hindus. In the book, Truschke uses extensive research to argue that his life and history do not match his current reputation.

The book generated fierce backlash in India, particularly from Hindutva groups, making Truschke the target of intense hate speech and slander on social media, which has only worsened over the years. The author also faced calls to ban Aurangzeb and even to ban her from India.

After the renewed backlash on Monday, the author said she had to block over 5,750 Twitter accounts after enduring an “avalanche of hate speech, anti-Muslim sentiments, misogyny, violent threats,” and even “things endangering” her family.


A group called “Hindus on Campus” on Twitter, which describes itself as a student-led initiative to create “a safe space for diaspora Hindus to share their experiences with Anti-Hindu bigotry”, has launched a petition on social media against the historian.

It alleged that Truschke, in her tweets, falsely linked Hindus with extremists and white supremacists rioting at the US Capitol Hill, and claimed that the Bhagavad Gita “rationalises mass slaughter” and violence. The Hindutva community further accused the historian of tweeting that Hindu deity Ram was a “misogynistic pig”, while she “whitewashed Hindu genocide by Mughal king Aurangzeb”.

The group demanded that Truschke be disallowed to teach a course that involves materials related to Hinduism and India “due to her inherent prejudiced views”.

Further, the Hindus on Campus demanded that the Rutgers University publicly condemn her “for causing trauma to Hindu students, alumni, and the Hindu community”. It sought the university to give a platform where Hindu students can bring in faculty and researchers “who can provide realistic representations of Hinduism and India”.

The Rutgers University rejected the submissions made by the group. “Scholarship is sometimes controversial, perhaps especially when it is at the interface of history and religion, but the freedom to pursue such scholarship, as Professor Truschke does rigorously, is at the heart of the academic enterprise,” the institute said.

At the same time, Rutgers “emphatically affirms its support for all members of the Hindu community to study and live in an environment in which they not only feel safe, but also fully supported in their religious identity”, it said.

The institute said it was initiating dialogues to understand the sentiments of the Hindu community on campus, and “create a context that honors our complexity, while allowing us to do the difficult work of constructive and healthy engagement among our diverse community”.

After all, our academic excellence is inseparable from our diversity of perspectives and voices, Rutgers said.

Riaz Haq said...

How colonialism eroded Pakistan’s history of religious fluidity
Before colonialism, Muslims and Hindus in Pakistan shared their sacred shrines and welcomed each other into their religious spaces. Post-Partition, this has changed but some traditions continue in rural areas.

By Haroon Khalid

Over the cot is spread a “chaddar” – a piece of green cloth edged with gold embroidery – onto which the spectators have scattered hundreds of rupees as a gift to the young men who are dancing.

It is part of the festivities that take place at the shrine of Ram Thaman, a 16th-century Hindu saint, located in the village of the same name, during the annual festival of Vaisakhi.

Vaisakhi, which has both Hindu and Sikh mythological roots, is celebrated in the month of April to mark the beginning of the harvest season.

For three days, the village, which is located entirely within the compound of an ancient Hindu temple, is transformed from a sleepy hamlet into a bustling city of makeshift tents as thousands of pilgrims arrive from across the country and celebrations break out in the streets and alleyways.

Festival with a difference
At the spin-off celebration in the courtyard, the money scattered by revellers has now been removed and the cloth has been taken to the main shrine where it is placed inside a marble pavilion, on top of a triangle-shaped marble stone that contains the last remains of the saint.

The group of young male dancers have brought the cloth to the shrine as their offering to the saint. They all crowd into the small room.

“We brought this chaddar from Kasur,” explains Ghulam Ali, who is in his early 20s. “We wanted to offer it to the saint.”

“I have been doing this for 15 years,” he adds. “Paying homage to different shrines, offering chaddar, performing with my group and collecting any money that people give us.”

The scene is similar to hundreds of other festivals at Hindu shrines across South Asia, but there is one fundamental difference here in Pakistan. The majority of the devotees who come to the shrine of Ram Thaman, including Ali, are not Hindus – but Muslims.

‘We see the world in oppositions – Hindu, Muslim’
Pakistan is home to hundreds of shrines, many of which have a long history. Most of these are Sufi – a tradition in Islam that focuses on mysticism – but some, like Ram Thaman, are Hindu. Some shrines are visited by thousands of people; others attract millions of devotees during festivals.

“Pilgrimage to Sufi shrines is an important part of the religious experience,” explains Raza Rumi, a policy analyst, journalist and author of several books, including Delhi by Heart, and Identity, Faith and Conflict.

“A visit to a Sufi shrine provides a lived experience to the devotees as opposed to an intellectualised or ritualised understanding of religion. The pilgrimage to Sufi shrines is a multi-layered journey for the devotee. On the one hand, it denotes the effort and resources that are invested in the physical journey towards worship. At another level, it is a search for communion socialisation, and relating to the larger community of dargah (shrine) goer.”

The Vaisakhi festival at Ram Thaman is like any other Sufi festival but instead of being at a Sufi shrine, it is at the smadh (a sacred space constructed over the burial ground of the ashes of a prominent religious figure) of a Hindu saint.

Next to the building containing the sacred space is a Hindu temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali. Adjacent to these two buildings are the remains of a large, sacred pool. There are several other smaller temples within this larger complex, scattered all over the village.

This Hindu shrine is one of several non-Sufi shrines in Pakistan. Other examples are Udero Lal and Sadhu Bela, both in Sindh, the Pakistani province that is home to the vast majority of the country’s Hindus.

Riaz Haq said...

On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy, commanding a squadron of two steamers and two sailing vessels, sailed into Tôkyô harbor aboard the frigate Susquehanna. Perry, on behalf of the U.S. government, forced Japan to enter into trade with the United States and demanded a treaty permitting trade and the opening of Japanese ports to U.S. merchant ships. This was the era when all Western powers were seeking to open new markets for their manufactured goods abroad, as well as new countries to supply raw materials for industry. It was clear that Commodore Perry could impose his demands by force. The Japanese had no navy with which to defend themselves, and thus they had to agree to the demands.

Perry's small squadron itself was not enough to force the massive changes that then took place in Japan, but the Japanese knew that his ships were just the beginning of Western interest in their islands. Russia, Britain, France, and Holland all followed Perry's example and used their fleets to force Japan to sign treaties that promised regular relations and trade. They did not just threaten Japan — they combination their navies on several occasions to defeat and disarm the Japanese feudal domains that defied them.

Tokugawa Japan into which Perry Sailed

Japan at this time was ruled by the shôgun ("great general") from the Tokugawa family. The Tokugawa shogunate was founded about 250 years earlier, in 1603, when Tokugawa leyasu (his surname is Tokugawa) and his allies defeated an opposing coalition of feudal lords to establish dominance over the many contending warlords. But while Tokugawa became dominant, receiving the title of shôgun from the politically powerless emperor, he did not establish a completely centralized state. Instead, he replaced opposing feudal lords with relatives and allies, who were free to rule within their domains under few restrictions. The Tokugawa shôguns prevented alliances against them by forbidding marriages among the other feudal lords' family members and by forcing them to spend every other year under the shôgun's eye in Edo (now Tôkyô), the shogunal capital — in a kind of organized hostage system.

It was the third shôgun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, who enforced isolation from much of the rest of the world in the seventeenth century, believing that influences from abroad (meaning trade, Christianity, and guns) could shift the balance that existed between the shôgun and the feudal lords. He was proven right two centuries later, when change came in the form of Perry's ships.

Japan's Response

Upon seeing Perry's fleet sailing into their harbor, the Japanese called them the "black ships of evil mien (appearance)." Many leaders wanted the foreigners expelled from the country, but in 1854 a treaty was signed between the United States and Japan which allowed trade at two ports. In 1858 another treaty was signed which opened more ports and designated cities in which foreigners could reside. The trade brought much foreign currency into Japan disrupting the Japanese monetary system. Because the ruling shôgun seemed unable to do anything about the problems brought by the foreign trade, some samurai leaders began to demand a change in leadership. The weakness of the Tokugawa shogunate before the Western demand for trade, and the disruption this trade brought, eventually led to the downfall of the Shogunate and the creation of a new centralized government with the emperor as its symbolic head.

Riaz Haq said...

During his (Aurangzeb's) lifetime, the conquest of south India expanded the Mughal Empire to 4 million square miles, and ruled over an estimated 158 million people, with annual revenue of $ 450 million (more than ten times that of his modern Louis XIV of France), or £ 38,624,680 (2,879,469,894 rupees) for 1690. Under his rule, the Mughal Empire surpassed China into the world's largest economy, costing more than $ 90 billion, about a quarter (25%) of the world's GDP in 1700.
Sultan Aurangzeb Alamgir was born at Dahod, is a city in the Indian district of Gujrat, on the 4 November 1618. From childhood, Aurangzeb showed signs of glory and nobility. He was a bold cavalryman.
He was brought up, that he loved knowledge and religion. Even as a child, he was trying to stay away from a life of luxury. He rapidly gained knowledge and experience of administering the affairs of his Wilayah -The Deccan state, in the middle of India.
He spent 52 years of age, in the Jihad, to the Indian sub-continent, until the sub-continent (Indian) during his reign (1658-1707) expanded significantly. During his reign, the Mughal fought more than 30 battles out of which 11 were fought under Aurangzeb's personal command.
Aurangzeb succeeded in transforming the Indian subcontinent into Muslim Mughal Wilayah under one leadership. Aurangzeb established Islamic justice during its reign, Now Delhi became one of the modern cities on the globe. Aurangzeb cancelled 80 taxes and imposed jizya on non-Muslims cancelled by his ancestors.
He has established monasteries, schools, mosques, baths, and hospitals. He built gardens and repaired roads. He ordered the construction of the magnificent Badshahi Mosque, located in the city of Lahore "Pakistan."
Aurangzeb used to fast regularly, pray in the regular Mosque, and recite the Qur'an himself.
He appointed staff members who researched human resources and presented them to him. He used to sit three times a day and listen directly to the complaints/issues of the people, without any guard. He was the first king to record Islamic orders in manuscripts for use as a source of law.
When his death was imminent, he ordered that the price of his coffin should not be more than 5 Rupees. The Sultan was ninety years old and even in those years he commanded the army himself and studied the Qur'an.
On February 20, 1797, Aurangzeb died, after ruling for 52 years. After his death, the magnificent Islamic empire of India also came to an end. Next came the weak rulers, followed by the British.
Read more stories on legendary Islamic Personalities and Heroes

Riaz Haq said...

How Britain stole $45 trillion from India
And lied about it.
Jason Hickel
Academic at the University of London and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of India – as horrible as it may have been – was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long – the story goes – was a gesture of Britain’s benevolence.

New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik – just published by Columbia University Press – deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.

It’s a staggering sum. For perspective, $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom today.

How did this come about?

It happened through the trade system. Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way – mostly with silver – as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade.

Here’s how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.

It was a scam – theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. Had it been the same person, they surely would have smelled a rat.

Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain’s industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.

On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they “bought” them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100 percent of the original value of the goods but also the markup.

After the British Raj took over in 1858, colonisers added a special new twist to the tax-and-buy system. As the East India Company’s monopoly broke down, Indian producers were allowed to export their goods directly to other countries. But Britain made sure that the payments for those goods nonetheless ended up in London.

How did this work? Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills – a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were “paid” in rupees out of tax revenues – money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded.

Meanwhile, London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports.

Riaz Haq said...

Why does India’s Hindu right-wing hate the Urdu language so much?

so complete was the communal association of Hindi and Urdu by that time, Rai recounts that “a Hindi friend” asked Nehru whose language Urdu was. “Yeh meri aur mere bap-dada’on ki bhasha hai,” Nehru replied. This is my language, the language of my ancestors. Thereupon the “Hindi friend” retorted: Brahman hote hue Urdu ko apni bhasha kehte ho, sharam nahin ati? (Aren’t you ashamed, being a Brahmin, to claim Urdu as your language?)

Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the Hindi-Urdu fight, went even further, banning Urdu-medium schooling altogether. As Urdu writer and critic Shamsur Rahman Faruqi put it, there was an effort to “wipe out Urdu” in Uttar Pradesh after independence.

Sanskritised Hindi—which Alok Rai pointedly calls “Hindi” in scare quotes to differentiate it from its spoken forms—has a fairly restricted life outside government and is practically absent from Bollywood, by some distance the largest producer of Hindi-Urdu content in the world.

Of course, Hindutva is ascendantly militant right now and is unafraid to use intimidation to try and resurrect colonial-era Hindi-Urdu debates. However, even as these political controversies break, one must keep in mind that changing language habits— especially the natural spoken tongue—of millions is a tough feat to pull off.

In fact, ironically, the Bharatiya Janata Party uses what could be called “Urdu” too in slogans such as “Modi hai to mumkin hai” (mumkin is from Arabic via Persian) or “azadi kā amrit mahotsav” (azadi is a Persian loan). Even words as basic as “Hindu” and “Hindi” are loans from Persian, being taken up by Indian languages in the medieval period. Hence, in the reductive lens of (Sanskritised) Hindi versus (Persianised) Urdu, they fit into the latter silo.

This, of course, does not mean language change cannot occur. In fact, like medieval Khari Boli absorbed Persian words as part of its everyday lexicon, much the same is happening with English today, which given its linguistic prestige and power exerts a significant influence even on non-Anglophones. Open any Hindi newspaper, for example, and it is suffused with English loan words. Informal, spoken speech will probably have even more.

Riaz Haq said...

The problem with cherry-picking facts from history
Narayani Gupta writes: Selective reading of historical events produces half-truths, tailored narratives

The simplest — but not wholly ethical — way to substantiate an argument is by cherry-picking. From 8th-century Sindh the author moves to 11th-century north India. He writes of Mahmud of Ghazni who “took a vow to wage jihad every year against Indian idolators”. (I tried to locate a source for this, and came up only with one — an earlier article by Punj, on July 12, 2019). Ghaznavi’s exact contemporary, Rajendra Chola, was in the same period raiding Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. In Indian school textbooks Ghaznavi has always been an “invader”, the Cholas were “conquerors”.

The next eight centuries are omitted, and the trail moves down to Malabar (the Moplah Rebellion of 1921), then north and east India (the Partition tragedies of 1946-8), the “decimation” of Hindus in neighbouring countries (no dates) and people in Spain and Sweden.

He proceeds to ask a rhetorical question “Can laws or police fight hate?”

And this article was published a day after the BJP-run civic body let the bulldozers raze homes in Jahangirpuri “in the face of the Supreme Court order” as the Indian Express headline stated on the same day as Punj’s article!

Punj’s narrative could be described in his own words — “charged reactions, punctuated with half-truths, deliberate omissions and tailored narratives, offer no real solution” [to what?]. This is followed by a line which I find extremely difficult to decipher — “pusillanimity to face facts will only exacerbate the situation and give egregious results.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Churchill Cult, by Jingo
Tariq Ali
Lionized in the age of Brexit and Boris Johnson as the epitome of bulldog spirit, Britain’s wartime leader was often reviled in his own time as a blundering reactionary—and rightly so.

Over the last forty years, the English cult of Winston Churchill has reached near-absurdist levels of adulation in England, provoking a backlash from anticolonial critics of British imperialism. It received a further boost in March this year when President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UK Parliament over Zoom and paraphrased one of Churchill’s more famous World War II utterances (from his “fight them on the beaches” broadcast), linking it to the Russian assault on the Ukrainian leader’s country.

Russian president Vladimir Putin was assigned the role of Hitler. Zelensky took the part of Churchill. Members of Parliament from all four parties drooled with pleasure. NATO-land may have conferred a temporary sainthood on Zelensky, but we should not overlook how misplaced his analogy is. The spinal cord of the Third Reich was, after all, crushed at Stalingrad and Kursk by the determination and courage of the Red Army (in which many Ukrainians fought, in far greater numbers than those who deserted to Hitler). The strength of the US war industry did the rest.

As a result, there was no fighting on English beaches or anywhere else in the UK. The Luftwaffe bombed Britain, but Hitler’s feared invasion never materialized, as his ambitions foundered on the Eastern Front. Not to be too mean-spirited, let the House of Commons and the British media networks swoon over Zelensky and his impersonation of Churchill, though I would hardly be surprised to learn that the gambit was recommended by the British Foreign Office in the first place. But I wonder if Zelensky is aware that a tsarist general much favored by Churchill and armed by him, Anton Denikin, who fought viciously against the Bolsheviks in the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution, is hero-worshipped by Putin today.

And what of the hero-worship of Churchill? In the immediate postwar period, Britons decisively voted him out of power. The Churchill cult, an essentially English phenomenon, would not take off for nearly forty years. It was first propagated in 1982, almost two decades after his death in 1965, by Margaret Thatcher, who, with moral support from President Reagan and General Pinochet, won the ten-day Falklands war against Argentina. Churchill had been much invoked by all sides in Parliament before the war. The Argentinian dictator, General Leopoldo Galtieri, was compared to Hitler and those who opposed the war were referred to as Chamberlainesque “appeasers.”

Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Audrey Truschke
The below tweet is steaming pile of Hindutva nonsense. I haven't done this in a while, but let's unpack, shall we?


Dr. Audrey Truschke
First of all sources -- Those making this ahistorical statement are not historians. Both men are Hindu Right ideologues, and the individual to whom the statement is attributed is a plagiarist and Savarkar sycophant.

What are they claiming and how does it hold up to scrutiny?


Dr. Audrey Truschke
There seems to be a claim of a single Islamic conquest of India. That's wrong.

Real story -- There were many Indo-Muslim dynasties who ruled parts of South Asia over the centuries. Some came from outside the subcontinent, and others did not. Nobody ever conquered all of India.


Dr. Audrey Truschke
I think we're talking here about early political conquests, because of the mention of Nalanda.

Here "Khalji" is said to have sacked Nalanda. Khalji is a dynastic name, so this would be a bit like saying "Tudor" or "Mughal" did something. Which Tudor? Which Mughal?


Dr. Audrey Truschke
I'm guessing (because some of us know both real South Asian history and Hindutva mythology pretty darn well) that he means Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, a general who conducted raids and other military activities in Bihar in the late 12th–early 13th centuries.


Dr. Audrey Truschke
Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar hit various Buddhists sites, although there isn't especially strong or clear evidence that he sacked Nalanda specifically (a Buddhist monastery and site of elite learning).

I go into the evidence on this point here:

"I agree with Hodgson’s assessment of the lack of evidence for the proposition that Islam killed off Indian Buddhists or Indian Buddhism and also with
his contention that this narrative relies mainly on prejudices rather than facts.
Here I take up Hodgson’s call for “active revision” of the presumed destructive relationship between Islam and Buddhism by interrogating premodern
and modern limiting preconceptions.
I am far from the first scholar to take issue with the “Islam killed Indian
Buddhism” narrative, but my interests and interventions stand apart from earlier work in a few key ways. Several scholars have tried to undercut the assumption of a single-mindedly destructive relationship between Islam and
Buddhism by drawing attention to little known interactions between medieval Buddhists and Muslims. Johan Elverskog’s Buddhism and Islam is especially enlightening in this regard, but it ultimately takes us away from the
question of what happened to Indian Buddhism circa 1200, a query in which
I am invested. Scholars such as Jinah Kim and Arthur McKeown have presented new evidence about Indian Buddhist patronage and monks, respectively, in the early to mid-second millennium.11 I cite the insightful work
of both scholars here, but my lens is larger and more attuned to historiographic
and narrative issues. The idea that Islam violently undercut Indian Buddhism
cannot be overturned by new research alone because the theory does not rest"

Riaz Haq said...

Ravi Nair
This BJP spokesperson says that Savarkar wrote a series of mercy petitions to the British Crown because Chhatrapati Shivaji wrote five mercy petitions to Aurangazeb!!!

Riaz Haq said...

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".
The book says, "Central to (Hindutva) perception is the belief that Muslim rulers indiscriminately demolished Hindu temples and broke Hindu idols. They relentlessly propagate the canard that 60,000 Hindu temples were demolished during Muslim rule, though there is hardly any credible evidence for the destruction of more than 80 of them."

Presenting what he calls "a limited survey of the desecration, destruction and appropriation of Buddhist stupas, monasteries and other structures by Brahminical forces", Jha says, "Evidence for such destruction dates as far back as the end of the reign of Ashoka, who is credited with making Buddhism a world religion."
He adds, "A tradition recorded in a twelfth-century Kashmiri text, the Rajatarangini of Kalhana, mentions one of Ashoka’s sons, Jalauka. Unlike his father, he was a Shaivite, and destroyed Buddhist monasteries. If this is given credence, the attacks on Shramanic religions seem to have begun either in the lifetime of Ashoka or soon after his death."

According to Jha, "Other early evidence of the persecution of Shramanas comes from the post-Mauryan period, recorded in the Divyavadana, a Buddhist Sanskrit, which describes the Brahmin ruler Pushyamitra Shunga as a great persecutor of Buddhists. He is said to have marched out with a large army, destroying stupas, burning monasteries and killing monks as far as Sakala, now known as Sialkot, where he announced a prize of one hundred dinars for every head of a Shramana."
Bringing up "evidence" from famous grammarian Patanjali, Jha says, he "famously stated in his Mahabhashya that Brahmins and Shramanas are eternal enemies, like the snake and the mongoose. All this taken together means that the stage was set for a Brahminical onslaught on Buddhism during the post-Mauryan period, especially under Pushyamitra Shunga, who may have destroyed the Ashokan Pillared Hall and the Kukutarama monastery at Pataliputra—modern-day Patna."

Riaz Haq said...

Indian culture and civilization have been enriched by Muslims. The biggest draw of tourists to India is the Taj Mahal built by a Muslim king. The Red Fort where Modi stands every year to deliver Independence Day speech was built by Muslims. Indian musical instruments like sitar and tabla were developed by Muslims. Choli and lehenga worn by Indian women were brought to India by Muslims. Biryani, samosa and nan came to India with Muslims. Indian language has been enriched by Arabic and Farsi words added by Muslims. Even the words Hindi and Hindu are of Arabic/Persian origin.

Now Hindutva rulers are trying to erase Muslim history in India. They can not succeed.

Muslims have given the world algebra, calculus, scientific method, physics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, social sciences and a whole lot more.

Watch Prof Roy Casagranda explain it in detail in the following video:

Riaz Haq said...

Ghanznavi's Destruction of Somnath Was Not a Hindu-Muslim Issue When it Happened

It was deliberately distorted by the British colonial rulers to divide and conquer India, according to Indian historian Romila Thapar.
British distortions of history have since been exploited by Hindu Nationalists to pursue divisive policies.

In 1026, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raided the Hindu temple of Somanatha (Somnath in textbooks of the colonial period). The story of the raid has reverberated in Indian history, but largely during the  (British) raj. It was first depicted as a trauma for the Hindu population not in India, but in the House of Commons. The triumphalist accounts of the event in Turko-Persian chronicles became the main source for most eighteenth-century historians. It suited everyone and helped the British to divide and rule a multi-millioned subcontinent.
In her new book, Romila Thapar, the doyenne of Indian historians, reconstructs what took place by studying other sources, including local Sanskrit inscriptions, biographies of kings and merchants of the period, court epics and popular narratives that have survived. The result is astounding and undermines the traditional version of what took place. These findings also contest the current Hindu religious nationalism that constantly utilises the conventional version of this history.

Riaz Haq said...

Did you know that the composition of Mahmood Ghaznavi's army when he raided the Somnath temple in 1025 was, solely not a Muslim Army. Out of 12 Generals, 5 were Hindus. Their names are:1. Tilak2. Rai3. Sondhi4. Hazran5. Not knownAfter the battle, Mahmood issued coins in his name with inscriptions in Sanskrit. He appointed a Hindu Raja as his representative in Somnath. Arab traders who had settled in Gujarat during the 8th and 9th century died to protect the Somnath temple against Ghaznavi's Army.

Just three years before Ghaznavi's raid on Somnath in 1022, a general acting on the authority of Rajendra I, Maharaja of the Chola empire (848–1279) had marched 1,600 kilometres north from the Cholas’ royal capital of Tanjavur. After subduing kings in Orissa, Chola warriors defeated Mahipala, maharaja of the Pala empire (c.750–1161), who was the dominant power in India’s easternmost region of Bengal. The Chola's crowned their victory by carrying off a bronze image of the deity Śiva, which they seized from a royal temple that Mahipala had patronized. In the course of this long campaign, the invaders also took from the Kalinga Raja of Orissa images of Bhairava, Bhairavi and Kali. These, together with precious gems looted from the Pala king, were taken down to the Chola capital as war booty.
The question arises why is Mahmud Ghaznavi demonized but not Rajendra Chola's plunder of Hindu temples?In fact, the demonization of Mahmud and the portrayal of his raid on Somnath as an assault on Hinduism by Muslim invaders dates only from the early 1840s.

In 1842, the British East India Company suffered the annihilation of an entire army of some 16,000 in the First Afghan War (1839–42). Seeking to regain face among their Hindu subjects after this humiliating defeat, the British contrived a bit of self-serving fiction, namely...that Mahmud, after sacking the temple of Somnath, carried off a pair of the temple’s gates on his way back to Afghanistan.
By ‘discovering’ these fictitious gates in Mahmud’s former capital of Ghazni, and by ‘restoring’ them to their rightful owners in India, British officials hoped to be admired for heroically rectifying what they construed heinous wrongs that had caused centuries of distress among Hindus. Though intended to win the letters' gratitude while distracting the locals from Britain’s catastrophic defeat just beyond the Khyber, this bit of colonial mischief has stoked Hindus’ ill-feeling towards Muslims ever since.By contrast, Rajendra Chola’s raid on Bengal remained largely forgotten outside the Chola country.12 years after the attack, a king from the Goa region recorded performing a pilgrimage to the temple, but he failed to mention Mahmud’s raid. Another inscription dated 1169 mentioned repairs made to the temple owing to normal deterioration, but again without mentioning Mahmud’s raid. In 1216 Somnath’s overlords fortified the temple to protect it not from attacks by invaders from beyond the Khyber Pass, but from those by Hindu rulers in neighbouring Malwa; apparently, such attacks were so frequent as to require precautionary measures; apparently, such attacks were so frequent as to require precautionary measures.
The silence of contemporary Hindu sources regarding Mahmud’s raid suggests that in Somnath itself it was either forgotten altogether or viewed as just another unfortunate attack by an outsider, and hence unremarkable.

1. “India in the Persianate Age: 1000-1765” by Richard M. Eaton2. “Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History” by Romila Thapar

Riaz Haq said...

Prominent Indian Historian on Hindutva History

From the historical perspective, we may well ask whether the division had evidence to support it. Supposedly irrefutable evidence of division is said to lie in the Muslims over the last 1,000 years having victimised the Hindus, treating them as enslaved. Why do historians question this theory? It is claimed that when the Muslims invaded India and came to power, they victimised and enslaved the Hindus for 1,000 years. The image projected is that of violence and aggression of one against the other. Now that the Hindus are in power they should have the right to avenge themselves. However, the historical sources researched by professional historians read differently and do not rejuvenate this view of colonial historians.

The dictionary tells us that to victimise is to make a victim of a person or a specific group of people, to cheat, swindle and defraud them, or to deny them any freedom, or to slaughter them in the manner of a sacrificial victim. Politicians of a certain view and others who should know better, are known to endorse the theory. The professional activity of Hindus was reduced to a minimum, they were socially ostracised and above all forcibly converted. They also had to pay a tax as non-Muslims.

Victimisation is not unknown to most pre-modern societies. Those having access to power and wealth, resort to humiliating and harming those without either. Upper-caste Hindus have been familiar with this practice for more than two millennia. The Dalits, lower castes, untouchables were segregated, and it was claimed that their touch was polluting. They were placed in a separate category of those without or outside caste, the avarnas. This was practised among all religions in India, although records link it more to upper-caste Hindus.

It seems that even on conversion to other religions, and specially those that in theory observed the equality of all, this segregation was maintained. As a category, it may well have been larger in numbers. This is why we have Muslim pasmandas, Sikh mazhabis, Dalit Christians, and such like. Yet these are religions that formally believe in all of mankind being created equal. One difference however is that this practice was not directed primarily to a religion but was linked to caste and the absence of caste status. Many questions arise that are fundamentally important to our society. Are practices of this kind directed less to particular religious communities and more to the large numbers outside varna society? Are these actions defined more by caste than by other identities or do they change with purpose and intent? Significantly, in Sanskrit sources, Muslims are generally not referred to as Muslim but by ethnic labels such as Yavana, Tajik, Turushka, etc.

Since so much of crucial importance has happened as a result of what was projected as religious antagonism, and even victimisation, let’s just look at what were the actual relations between the two religious communities, the Hindu and the Muslim, and in the period of the last thousand years.

Starting at the level of the elites we know that quite a few Hindu royal families remained at the highest social status. They remained at the head of the administration in their erstwhile kingdoms and were given the continuing status and title of raja. The politics of administration required some continuation. Their income – agrarian and commercial – was sufficient for maintaining their aristocratic style of living.

Riaz Haq said...

Prominent Indian Historian on Hindutva History

Traders from Arabia and East Africa trading with the west coast of India go back many centuries, even before the birth of Islam. The extensive trade touched points along the Indian Ocean Arc – the coastline that went continuously from East Africa up the coast of Arabia, on to the coast of Gujarat and then south along coastal India to Kerala. There was considerable familiarity among traders on each side. Arab traders after the spread of Islam, settled in the flourishing towns trading along this coast. Their invading activities were limited to a part of Sind.

Some Arab settlers married locally, which is what settlers often do when they arrive in new places. Cultures intermingled. All along the west coast of India, new societies evolved. Social identities and religious sects were a mix of Islam with existing religions of the area. This resulted in new religious movements, many of which are still prominent – the Khojas, Bohras, Navayaths, Mappilas and such like.

It also led to the employment of Arabs in local administration. The Rashtrakutas in the 9th century AD appointed a Tajik /Arab governor of the region of Sanjan in coastal Deccan. A Rashtrakuta inscription records the grant of land made to a brahmana by a Tajik/Arab officer on behalf of the Rashtrakuta king. The revenue from this went towards donations to local temples as well as to the Parsi Anjuman, since many Parsi merchants were settled in the area. The majority of officers at this level of administration were members of the local elite and therefore largely Hindu, and these officers continued in the administration of the Sultans.

Appointing local persons to high office was a practice that went back centuries, providing closer control over local matters. This may well be a reason for Muslim rulers appointing Rajputs to high office. The Mughal economy was in the trusted hands of the Vazir, Raja Todar Mal, and Raja Man Singh of Amber, a Rajput, commanded the Mughal army at the battle of Haldighati. He defeated another Rajput who was an opponent of the Mughals – Maharana Pratap. Pratap’s army with its large contingent of Afghan mercenaries had as commander Hakim Khan Suri, a descendant of Sher Shah Suri. One could ask whether the battle was strictly speaking essentially a Hindu-Muslim confrontation. Both religious identities had participants on each side in a complex political conflict. Rajput clans had differing loyalties among themselves and the imperial power and therefore fought on opposite sides, and regaining ancestral kingdoms was on both agendas.

The intervention of Hindu chiefs in the politics of the Mughal court was substantial. One instance that went on for a long period was that of Mughal relations with Bundelkhand. The Bundella raja, Bir Singh Deo, who was close to Jahangir and held one of the highest Mughal mansabs /rank of revenue assignment, was so embroiled in Mughal court politics that he was linked to the assassination of the chief chronicler and close friend of Akbar, Abul Fazl.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's Interview with Karan Thapar on The Wire

Topic: BBC's Modi Documentary

“I have long been very familiar with the history of India and independence in 1947 and communal violence that ensued. I was there when there were demonstrations against Ayodhya mosque”

“There are thousands of Gujaratis in my constituency (in England), mainly Muslims”

After Godhra incident or accident (in Gujarat in 2002) there was a need for effective policing that did not happen”

“There’s a colonial history of the East India Company and the British government playing one community against the other (Hindu vs Muslim) during the Raj”

“The United Kingdom was a colonial master of India until 1947. So we felt a moral responsibility and a long term bond. …the constituency of Lancashire I represented is 40% non white… I had a concern for our Gujarati Muslim constituents”

Riaz Haq said...

History As Politics

Links between knowledge and ideology do not justify the passing off of political agendas as knowledge as is being done in the rewriting of history by the present central government; and that too of a kind not based on the understanding of history...

The colonial interpretation was carefully developed through the nineteenth century. By 1823, the History of British India written by James Mill was available and widely read. This was the hegemonic text in which Mill periodised Indian history into three periods - Hindu civilization, Muslim civilization and the British period. These were accepted largely without question and we have lived with this periodisation for almost two hundred years. Although it was challenged in the last fifty years by various historians writing on India, it is now being reinforced again. Mill argued that the Hindu civilization was stagnant and backward, the Muslim only marginally better and the British colonial power was an agency of progress because it could legislate change for improvement in India. In the Hindutva version this periodisation remains, only the colours have changed : the Hindu period is the golden age, the Muslim period the black, dark age of tyranny and oppression, and the colonial period is a grey age almost of marginal importance compared to the earlier two. This also echoes the views of Sir William Jones and Max Mueller. It allows a focus on the Hindu and Muslim periods which as we shall see was part of the political stand of the religious nationalisms of the early twentieth century.

Anti-colonial nationalist historians, often referred to as secular nationalist historians, had initiated a critique of the colonial period, but tended to accept the notion of a Hindu ‘golden age’. They did not distance themselves to assess the validity of such descriptions. Many were upper caste Hindus, familiar with Sanskrit and sympathetic to the idea of a glorious Hindu past. This was in some ways an attempt to assuage the hurt of having been reduced to being a colony. Similarly, the argument that the Muslim period was based on Persian and Arabic sources tended to attract upper-caste Muslims to this study and they too were sympathetic to what was stated in the sources without questioning them too closely. Even those who critiqued Mill’s periodisation merely changed the nomenclature from Hindu-Muslim-British to Ancient-Medieval-Modern in imitation of the periodisation of European history. There was a debate over colonial interpretations, but with less effort to change the methods of analysis or the theories of explanation.

Mill’s projection was that the Hindus and Muslims formed two uniform, monolithic communities permanently hostile to each other because of religious differences, with the Hindus battling against Muslim tyranny and oppression. This was the view of many colonial writers on India and in terms of presenting historical sources is exemplified in Elliot and Dowson’s, History of India as Told by her Own Historians,published in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Chroniclers of the medieval courts writing in Persian and others writing in Arabic are included, the assumption being that there was no writing of Indian history prior to the coming of Islam. Nor was there concession to segmentation within the communities in terms of varying histories of castes and sects.

Riaz Haq said...

New Indian textbooks purged of nation’s Muslim history

By Anumita Kaur

The Taj Mahal is one of India’s most iconic sites. But this year, millions of students across India won’t delve into the Mughal Empire that constructed it.

Instead, Indian students have new textbooks that have been purged of details on the nation’s Muslim history, its caste discrimination and more, in what critics say warps the country’s rich history in an attempt to further Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda.

The cuts, first reported by the Indian Express, are wide-ranging. Chapters on the country’s historic Islamic rulers are either slimmed down or gone; an entire chapter in the 12th-grade history textbook, “Kings and Chronicles: The Mughal Courts" was deleted. The textbooks omit references to the 2002 riots in the Indian state of Gujarat, where hundreds of Indian-Muslims were killed while Modi was the state’s leader. Details on India’s caste system, caste discrimination and minority communities are missing.

Passages that connected Hindu extremism to independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi’s assassination were pruned as well, such as the 12th grade political science textbook line: Gandhi’s “steadfast pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists so much that they made several attempts to assassinate [him].”

The new curriculum, developed by India’s National Council of Educational Research and Training, has been in the works since last year and will serve thousands of classrooms in at least 20 states across the country. It follows long-standing efforts by Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to craft a Hindu nationalist narrative for the country — a platform that Modi ran on in 2014 and secured reelection with in 2019.

“The minds of children are now under direct onslaught in this kind of intense way, where textbooks must not ever reflect South Asia’s dynamic, complex history,” said Utathya Chattopadhyaya, a history professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “So you basically create a body of students who come out knowing very little about the history of social justice, the history of democracy, the history of diversity, and so on.”

India has been home to Hindu, Muslim and many other religious communities for centuries. British rule stoked tensions among communities, leading to violence in 1947 after the country was partitioned into Pakistan and modern India.

Hindu nationalism has intensified under Modi. It has led to violent clashes, bulldozing of Indian-Muslim communities and deepening polarization throughout India and its global diaspora.

The curriculum change is another step in the trend, Chattopadhyaya argued. BJP-led state governments have launched textbook revisions for years. But now it’s stretched to the national level.

“This is actually an intensification of something that’s been happening. It is a way of ‘Hindu-izing’ South Asian history and ignoring all other kinds of diverse plural histories that have existed,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

India archive reveals extent of ‘colonial loot’ in royal jewellery collection

File from India Office archive details how priceless items were extracted from colony as trophies of conquest

by David Pegg and Manisha Ganguly

Five years ago, Buckingham Palace marked its summer opening with an exhibition celebrating the then Prince Charles’s 70th birthday with a display of his favourite pieces from the royal collection, Britain’s official trove of items connected to the monarchy. “The prince had a very, very strong hand in the selection,” the senior curator said.

Among the sculptures, paintings and other exhibits was a long gold girdle inlaid with 19 large emeralds once used by an Indian maharajah to decorate his horses. It was a curious choice to put into the exhibition in light of the violent means by which it had come into the hands of the royal family.

As part of its Cost of the crown series, the Guardian has uncovered a remarkable 46-page file in the archives of the India Office, the government department that was responsible for Britain’s rule over the Indian subcontinent. It details an investigation, apparently commissioned by Queen Mary, the grandmother of Elizabeth II, into the imperial origins of her jewels.

The report, from 1912, explains how priceless pieces, including Charles’s emerald belt, were extracted from India as trophies of conquest and later given to Queen Victoria. The items described are now owned by the monarch as property of the British crown.

A journal records a tour in 1837 of the Punjab area in north India by the society diarist Fanny Eden and her brother George, the governor general of the British Raj at the time. They visited Ranjit Singh, the maharajah in Lahore, who had signed a “treaty of friendship” with the British six years earlier.

The half-blind Singh wore few if any precious stones, Eden wrote in her journal, but his entourage was positively drowning in them. So plentiful were the maharajah’s gems that “he puts his very finest jewels on his horses, and the splendour of their harness and housings surpasses anything you can imagine,” she wrote. Eden later confided in her journal: “If ever we are allowed to plunder this kingdom, I shall go straight to their stables.”

Twelve years later, Singh’s youngest son and heir, Duleep, was forced to sign over the Punjab to the conquering forces of the British East India Company. As part of the conquest, the company did indeed plunder the horses’ emeralds, as well as Singh’s most precious stone, the legendary Koh-i-noor diamond.

Today, the Koh-i-noor sits in the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, on display at the Tower of London, and it has become an emblem of Britain’s tortured relationship with its imperial history.

Anita Anand, a journalist and historian who co-wrote a book titled Koh-i-noor on the diamond, said it was “a beautiful and cold reminder of British supremacy during the Raj”, the period between 1858 and 1947 when India was ruled by the crown.

“Its facets reflect the fate of a boy king who was separated from his mother,” Anand said. The stone too was “taken far away from his home, recut and diminished”. Anand said: “That is not how India sees itself today.”

Buckingham Palace is plainly aware of the sensitivities surrounding looted artefacts. After the Indian government let it be known that for Camilla, the Queen Consort, to wear the Koh-i-noor at Charles’s coronation would elicit “painful memories of the colonial past”, the palace announced she would swap it for a less contentious diamond.

But, as was discovered by Queen Mary, the Koh-i-noor was not the only gem taken from Singh’s treasury to have found its way to the British monarchy.

Royal with a pearl necklace
Among the jewels identified in the document found by the Guardian is a “short necklace of four very large spinel rubies”, the largest of which is a 325.5-carat spinel that later came to be identified as the Timur ruby.

Riaz Haq said...

Last chance to read Mughal-era Sanskrit literature, before it is all deleted | Deccan Herald

by Anusha Rao

The recent removal of chapters on Mughals from the NCERT syllabus presents us with an opportunity to look at the colorful history of Sanskrit during that period. The most vibrant personality of this era was perhaps the celebrity poet Jagannatha Panditaraja, who managed to sell the same praise-poem to three kings (Shah Jahan, Jagatsimha and Prananarayana), after swapping out their names. Panditaraja, i.e., the ‘king of scholars’, was a title that the Mughal king Shah Jahan bestowed on Jagannatha. Our poet clearly liked being wined and dined well. He writes: “Only two people can give me all that I want—God, or the emperor of Delhi. As for what the other kings give, well, I use that for my weekly groceries!"

Legend goes that Jagannatha fell head-over-heels in love with a Muslim woman called Lavangi and married her. This would explain the Muslim woman (“yavani”) who is the subject of so many of his verses, where he meditates on her skin smooth as butter and wants neither horses nor elephants nor money as long as he can be with her.

Aurangzeb’s uncle Shaista Khan had even learnt Sanskrit himself, and six poems written by him are preserved in the Rasakalpadruma. Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan had learnt Sanskrit, too, and his project was to understand Islam and through each other. Another celebrity poet of this age was Kavindracharya, the head of the Banaras scholar community during Shah Jahan’s rule. He pleaded the case for abolishing the Hindu pilgrim tax so eloquently in front of the king that the indeed came to be abolished. Poems in praise of Kavindracharya poured in from all across the country, and they are preserved today in the form of a book, the Kavindra Chandrodaya.

South India had its fair share of Sanskrit poets who enjoyed the patronage of multiple kings of different faiths. Bhanukara, a 16th century Sanskrit poet, wrote verses that we find in many well-known verse anthologies. These anthologies attribute to Bhanukara verses in praise of various kings—hinting that among his patrons were Krishnadevaraya, Nizam Shah and Sher Shah, all ruling in the Deccan! And Bhanukara clearly enjoyed a good relationship with the Nizam, given his hyperbolic verses in praise of the king’s generosity, skill in military conquest, and even his physical appearance. Another well-known Sanskrit poet of the 16th century was Govinda Bhatta, who composed the Ramachandra-yashah-prashasti in praise of King Vaghela Ramachandra of Rewa. But Ramachandra was not Govinda Bhatta’s only patron. In fact, Govinda Bhatta called himself Akbariya Kalidasa, as a tribute to the most illustrious of his patrons, Akbar. In one his laudatory verses, he praises Akbar as being the crest jewel of Humayun’s lineage.

Not all Sanskrit poetry about the Mughals is about kings though— the 17th century poet Nilakantha Shukla, a disciple of the famous grammarian Bhattoji Dikshita, wrote an epic poem on the romance between a Brahmin tutor and a Muslim noblewoman in Mughal Banaras.

As Sanskrit poets wrote in and of Islamic rule, a large number of Sanskrit classics were translated into Persian as well—including the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and even tales such as the Shuka Saptati. The Razmnamah, a Persian translation of the Mahabharata, commissioned by Akbar in the late 16th century, manages to strike a balance between the monotheistic god of Islam and the plethora of gods in the Sanskrit epic, retaining numerous divinities while weaving in Koranic phrases, and modifying prayers to address them to Allah. But how do we know all of this? Well, nobody struck these out from the manuscripts and inscriptions...

Riaz Haq said...

The Mughals | Empire-builders of medieval India - The Hindu

Within hours of the National Council of Educational Research and Training’s (NCERT) decision to remove a chapter on the Mughals from the history textbooks for Class XII students, noted historians of the country issued a statement, denouncing the deletions. “The selective dropping of chapters which do not fit into the ideological orientation of the present dispensation exposes the partisan agenda of the regime,” a statement signed by Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Aditya Mukherjee, Barbara Metcalf, Dilip Simeon and Mridula Mukherjee, among others, read. “Driven by such an agenda, the chapter titled ‘Kings and Chronicles: The Mughal Courts’ has been deleted... In medieval times, the Mughal empire and the Vijayanagara Empire were two of the most important empires... In the revised version, while the chapter on the Mughals has been deleted, the chapter on the Vijayanagara Empire has been retained.”

It’s hard to understand the history of modern India without the contribution of the Mughals, who, including Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, were all born in undivided India; and were buried here. None of them ever left the country, not even to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.“Is there anything in India today which does not owe to the Mughals?” asks Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, secretary, Indian History Congress. “From legal system to legal jargon, we owe to the Mughal and Turkish Sultanate before them. Words like vakalatnama, kacheri, durbar, we owe them all to the Mughals. Today, when a large number of Indians consider Lord Ram as a major deity, we have to thank Tulsidas who wrote his version of Ramayana during the Mughal period. Also, Vrindavan, associated with Lord Krishna, developed thanks to Chaitanya saints who were given grants by Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan, and helped Vrindavan and Mathura emerge as a key centre of Krishna Bhakti.”

The richness was owed substantially to the Rajputs, who were sharers of power from the time of Akbar, who defeated Rana Pratap in the Battle of Haldighati, and co-opted them in his empire through matrimonial alliances. Most Mughal rulers after Jahangir were born to Rajput women. As a result, within the family, Hindavi was often the language of communication. Aurangzeb, incidentally, conversed in Hindi and composed in Braj bhasha.

Riaz Haq said...

A new #Modi government-approved #Indian schoolbook no longer says why Nathuram #Godse killed #Gandhi and omits references to #Hindu hard-liners affiliated with #RSS who opposed his vision of religious pluralism. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #BJP via @WSJ

NEW DELHI—For years, government-prescribed high-school textbooks in India included a few telling details about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin: The man worked for an extremist Hindu newspaper and had denounced Gandhi, the iconic freedom fighter, as “an appeaser of Muslims.”

A revised version of the Class 12 history book, whose printed copies became available this year, no longer says that. It identifies Nathuram Godse as Gandhi’s killer, but provides no information about him or his motive. Also deleted are broader references to Hindu hard-liners who opposed Gandhi’s vision of religious pluralism for newly independent India 75 years ago.

The edits are among recent changes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to what students learn about their country’s past. Members of his political party—which is linked to a decades-old movement to shape India into a Hindu-dominant nation—have long criticized school curriculum as unbalanced and biased against Hindus.

It does little, they say, to instill pride in young Indians, and particularly the country’s Hindu majority, in their history and heritage.

Underlying their grievances is a broader ideological debate. Modi supporters accuse the left-leaning, liberal forces that shaped India after independence in 1947 of representing Westernized values and of pandering to Muslims, India’s largest minority. To them, Modi’s rise symbolizes Hindu revival.

Critics accuse Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party of promoting a divisive Hindu nationalist ideology that threatens India’s secular foundations.

The changes to textbooks “go against the idea that education should encourage an open mind and a liberal outlook,” said Krishna Kumar, an academic under whose leadership they were originally written. The books, he said, have been “mutilated so crudely.”

Modi’s supporters say revisions were long overdue. Teaching of India’s precolonial history overemphasized Islamic empires established on its territory and sidelined Hindu kingdoms, they say. Too much importance was given, they say, to the Mughal dynasty, a vastly wealthy empire during the 16th and 17th centuries whose Muslim rulers built the Taj Mahal and left a lasting cultural imprint on the region’s architecture, food and literature.

Hindu nationalists see the Mughal era as a period of temple destruction, religious conversion and the subjugation of Hindu customs.

A chapter on Mughal courts is gone from the Class 12 history book, though another on agrarian life during the empire remains. A two-page table on the battlefield triumphs of Mughal emperors, from Akbar to Aurangzeb, has been removed from a Class 7 book. A chapter on the 13th century Muslim conquest of northern India has also been pruned.

In a public letter, more than 250 historians and academics criticized the move.

“The selective deletion in this round of textbook revision reflects the sway of divisive politics,” they said. Indian history cannot be seen as consisting of Hindu and Muslim periods, they said, adding: “These categories are uncritically imposed on what has historically been a very diverse social fabric.”

The changes were made by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, an autonomous body whose members are mostly appointed by the government. It said it rationalized textbooks to help students catch up after the Covid-19 pandemic and to make space for critical thinking.

The books are used by schools aligned with the central government’s education board and some state-level boards.

College freshman Shivam Kumar, a Modi supporter, welcomes the changes.

Riaz Haq said...

(Indian historian Romila) Thapar raises the point that in Buddhist texts, Ashoka is celebrated as an emblem of peace, non-violence and tolerance. The figure was then later picked up by Nehru and turned into an emblem of ‘New India’. However, in Brahmanical texts, he is listed merely as a Mauryan ruler.

She then point out how, contrary to popular belief, some historians in the recent past have been arguing for the presence of Buddhist ideas in epics. Thapar then highlights Yudhisthira’s struggle in Shanti Parva, the twelfth of eighteen books of the Indian Epic Mahabharata.

Sharing a struggle common with Ashoka’s, ‘Yudhisthira’ has to pick between kingship and renunciation. This, Thapar points out, can be traced to the Buddhist idea of power vs renunciation.

Popular historian and mythology expert Devdutt Pattanaik tweeted to clarify the time periods of the two texts that Thapar highlights. A supporter of parallel narratives, Pattanaik’s work on Mahabharata, Jaya, is widely read and celebrated.

Pattanaik clarified that Thapar refers to Yudhisthira, the character in an epic composed 2000 years ago and Ashoka who ‘wrote edicts’ 2300 years ago.

Past Controversies
In the beginning of September, JNU administration had received flak from academic circles and media as the University had asked Thapar to submit her CV for ‘assessment’.

Thapar holds the position of Professor emeritus in the history department of the University. Several professors were taken aback by this action as the emiratus post is usually designated for life. Thapar, who taught at JNU between 1970 and 1991, was appointed to the post in 1993.

Others called out the University’s demand a step to “dishonour the acclaimed historian”, who has been critical of changes in the JNU and for not ascribing to the right-wing narration of ancient history.

In the past, her works have been criticised by the Right for perpetuating a plural history of the nation.

In reply to the demand, Thapar had submitted a letter to the administration explaining the status of her position, and had refused to submit her CV.