Sunday, December 11, 2011

Persecution of Hindus - 3

Muslim Persecution of Hindus past:

Muhammed Kasim, invasion of Sindh

a subsequent communication, Hajjaj reiterated that all able-bodied men were to be killed, and that their underage sons and daughters were to be imprisoned and retained as hostages. Qasim obeyed, and on his arrival at the town of Brahminabad massacred between 6,000 and 16,000 of the defending forces.[8] The historian, Upendra Thakur records the persecution of Hindus and Buddhists:

“ When Muhammad Kasim invaded Sind in 711 AD, Buddhism had no resistance to offer to their fire and steel. The rosary could not be a match for the sword and the terms Love and Peace had no meaning to them. They carried fire and sword wherever they went and obliterated all that came their way. Muhammad triumphantly marched into the country, conquering Debal, Sehwan, Nerun, Brahmanadabad, Alor and Multan one after the other in quick succession, and in less than a year and a half, the far-flung Hindu kingdom was crushed, the great civilization fell back and Sind entered the darkest period of its history. There was a fearful outbreak of religious bigotry in several places and temples were wantonly desecrated. At Debal, the Nairun and Aror temples were demolished and converted into mosques.[Resistors] were put to death and women made captives. The Jizya was exacted with special care.[Hindus] were required to feed Muslim travellers for three days and three nights.[9]

Mahmud of Ghazni

Mahmud of Ghazni was an Afghan Sultan who invaded the Indian subcontinent during the early 11th century. His campaigns across the gangetic plains are often cited for their iconoclastic plundering and destruction of temples such as those at Mathura and he looked upon their destruction as an act of "jihad".[11]

Pradyumna Prasad Karan further describes Mahmud's invasion as one in which he put "thousands of Hindus to the sword" and made a pastime of "raising pyramids of the skulls of the Hindus".[12][13]

Mahmud of Ghazni sacked the second Somnath Temple in 1026, and looted it of gems and precious stones and the famous Shiva lingam of the temple was destroyed .[15] Later the temple was demolished by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1706.[16]

Muhammad Ghori

Muhammad Ghori committed genocide against Hindus at Kol (modern Aligarh), Kalinjar and Varanasi, according to Hasan Nizami's Taj-ul-Maasir, 20,000 Hindu prisoners were slaughtered and their heads offered to crows.[17]

Iltutmish

Another ruler of the sultanate, Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, conquered and subjugated the Hindu pilgrimage site Varanasi in the 11th century and he continued the destruction of Hindu temples and idols that had begun during the first attack in 1194.[26]

Firuz Shah Tughlaq

Firuz Shah Tughluq was the third ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The "Tarikh-i-Firuz Shah" is a historical record written during his reign that attests to the systematic persecution of Hindus under his rule.[27] In particular, it records atrocities committed against Hindu Brahmin priests who refused to convert to Islam:

“ An order was accordingly given to the Brahman and was brought before Sultan. The true faith was declared to the Brahman and the right course pointed out. but he refused to accept it. A pile was risen on which the Kaffir with his hands and legs tied was thrown into and the wooden tablet on the top. The pile was lit at two places his head and his feet. The fire first reached him in the feet and drew from him a cry and then fire completely enveloped him. Behold Sultan for his strict adherence to law and rectitude.[27] ”

Under his rule, Hindus who were forced to pay the mandatory Jizya tax were recorded as infidels, their communities monitored and, if they violated Imperial ordinances and built temples, they were destroyed. In particular, an incident in the village of Gohana in Haryana was recorded in the "Insha-i-Mahry" (another historical record written by Amud Din Abdullah bin Mahru) where Hindus had erected a deity and were arrested, brought to the palace and executed en-masse.[27]

In the Mughal empire

The Mughal Empire was marked by periods of tolerance of non-Muslims, such as Hindus and Sikhs, as well as periods of violent oppression and persecution of those people.[28] The reign of Aurangzeb was particularly brutal. No aspect of Aurangzeb's reign is more cited - or more controversial - than the numerous desecrations and even the destruction of Hindu temples.[28] Aurangzeb banned Diwali, placed a jizya (tax) on non-Muslims and martyred the ninth Sikh guru Tegh Bahadur.[28]

During his reign, tens of thousands of temples were desecrated: their facades and interiors were defaced and their murtis (divine images) looted.[28] In many cases, temples were destroyed entirely; in numerous instances mosques were built on their foundations, sometimes using the same stones. Among the temples Aurangzeb destroyed were two that are most sacred to Hindus, in Varanasi and Mathura.[29] In both cases, he had large mosques built on the sites.[28]

The Kesava Deo temple in Mathura, marked the place that Hindus believe was the birth place of Shri Krishna.[29] In 1661 Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple, and constructed the Katra Masjid mosque. Traces of the ancient Hindu temple can be seen from the back of the mosque. Aurangzeb also destroyed what was the most famous temple in Varanasi- the Vishwanath Temple.[29] The temple had changed its location over the years, but in 1585 Akbar had authorized its location at Gyan Vapi. Aurangzeb ordered its demolition in 1669 and constructed a mosque on the site, whose minarets stand 71 metres above the Ganges. Traces of the old temple can be seen behind the mosque. Centuries later, emotional debate about these wanton acts of cultural desecration continues. Aurangzeb also destroyed the Somnath temple in 1706.[29]

Writer Fernand Braudel wrote in A History of Civilizations (Penguin 1988/1963, p. 232-236), Islamic rule in India as a "colonial experiment" was "extremely violent", and "the Muslims could not rule the country except by systematic terror. Cruelty was the norm – burnings, summary executions, crucifixions or impalements, inventive tortures. Hindu temples were destroyed to make way for mosques. On occasion there were forced conversions. If ever there were an uprising, it was instantly and savagely repressed: houses were burned, the countryside was laid waste, men were slaughtered and women were taken as slaves."

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