Sunday, February 11, 2007

Protection of Hinduism

Protection of Hinduism

A point to note here is that lot of Muslims, Western and some Hindu historians think that Islam/Muslims did not do conversion of Hindus by sword. The argument they give is that there are so many Hindus still today in India. This is completely wrong because most Muslim rulers in India tried to convert as many as they could. Some of the methods used were threat of execution by sword, Jizya (an exorbitant tax on non-Muslims) and religious persecution. In this excerpt from page 58-59 of "A Rediscovery of India: A new subcontinent" by Ansar Hussain Khan, a Pakistani Historian, is described how the Tughlaq sultanate and its followers converted Hindus to Islam.

He used the exemption of paying the jeziya by non-believers as a deliberate method to obtain large scale conversions to Islam. Thousands upon upon thousands of Muslim converts were made in this fashion. He was the first in India to use Jizya methodically for the conversion, and in this he was emulated by many successors on the throne of Delhi. He also cancelled the exemption of Brahmans from paying this tax and re-imposed it upon them.

But it was the strength of Rajput sword and later Maratha and Sikh swords that kept Hinduism alive in India. If there were no Rajputs, Marathas or Sikhs in India, then India would be just like Iraq, Iran, Turkey, or Pakistan in terms of religion of the population. Every month, in the 1000 year presence of Muslims in India there were bloody wars between Hindus and Muslims. This is quite unlike other countries like Iran, where non-Muslims, after loosing a couple of wars gave the Muslims a free hand in converting there population to Islam.

Presence of Rajput generals in Mughal army was a blessing in disguise for the Hindu population as the Mughal army when headed by a rajput general could not engage in wanton destruction of Hindu temples as well as mass conversion of Hindus to Islam. The preservance of Hinduism in India by the Rajput sword against the entire might of Islamic rulers is the most glorious achievement by a race in the annals of world history and every one should know this fact, more so Indians and most definitely each and every Rajput.

In his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan James Tod wrote:

What nation on earth could have maintained the semblance of civilization, the spirit or the customs of their forefathers, during so many centuries of overwhelming depression, but one of such singular character as the Rajpoot? . . . Rajasthan exhibits the sole example in the history of mankind, of a people withstanding every outrage barbarity could inflict, or human nature sustain, from a foe whose religion (Islam) commands annihilation; and bent to the earth, yet rising buoyant from the pressure, and making calamity a whetstone to courage. . . . Not an iota of their religion or customs have they lost. . . .
Contrast this to how Muslims converted entire Iranian kingdom, where a very ancient religion of Zoroaster flourished, on the edge of the sword in a very short amount of time and Spain which was conquered and ruled by Islam for 700 years was majority Muslim state till Spanish Christian Kings began driving out the moors and reconverted Muslims back to Christianity. In India, Hindu religion has no concept of conversion. One has to be a born Hindu. (Though of late as a reaction to conversion of tribals by missionaries some Hindu groups have concocted a recipe to make a person Hindu!)

This section is from Page 3 of: The Parsees, Their History, Manners, Customs & Religion. Dosabhoy Framjee. Pub: London: Smith, Elder and Co., 65, Cornhill: 1858.

Suffice it to say, that with Yezdezird, the forty-fifth king in the descent of the race of Kaimurs, ended the ancient Persian monarchy. The neighbouring and wealthy empire of Persia presented too tempting a prize to the fanatic and ambitious spirit, evoked by Mahomed, to remain long unmolested, and in the middle of the seventh century of the Christian era, the Arab sword invaded Persia, under Caliph Omar. In a fierce and well-contested battle with the Persians at the village of Nahavand, about fifty miles from the ancient city of Ecbatana, the fate of the empire was decided.....Yezdezird, abandoning his kingdom as lost, fled the country; and after wandering in solitude and disguise for a period of ten years, was at last treacherously slain by a miller to whom the secret of his identity had been confided (651 AD). ....

Thus on the conquest of Persia, the Mahomedan soldiers of the Caliphat of Baghdad traversed the length and breadth of the country, presenting the alternative of death or the Koran, and compelling the conquered nation to accept the one or the other. By these oppressive and cruel means, a hundred thousand persons are said to have daily abjured the faith of there forefathers; and the fire-temples and other sacred places were destroyed or converted into mosques.
To escape the sword of Islam some Zoroastrians landed on the coast of Gujarat in 716 A.D. Rajput king of Gujarat gave them land to settle and put no religious restriction on the Zoroastrians. The magnanimity of the Hindu King allowed the Zoroastrian religion to flourish. In modern era some of the top industrialists of India e.g. J.R.D. Tata, Ardeshir Godrej, symphony conductor Zubin Mehta, etc. belong to the the Parsi (Zoroastrian) community.

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