Today the whole world recognizes the word holocaust with the killing of Jews by the Nazis. Historian J.L.Mehta in his work Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India Vol-I used the word holocaust for the death and destruction of Hindus under the hands of Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad of Ghori. But considering the devastating rape and ravages done to Hindus and Hindu society on a scale unprecedented in the history of mankind it would be appropriate to call the period from the invasion of Sindh by Muhammad Bin Qasim till the establishment of Bangladesh as an independent country as the period of Hindu holocaust.
Difference between the Jewish Holocaust and Hindu Holocaust
- While the holocaust of the Jews took place for some seven to eight years; that of the Hindus took place for several centuries, which could be divided into two phases. The first phase from 713 A.D. (conquest of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim) to 1761 (third battle of Panipat) wherein atrocities were committed on Hindus by foreign Muslims and the second phase from 1761 to 1971 (when Bangladesh became an independent country) wherein atrocities were committed on Hindus by the descendants of the victims of Muslim mayhems taken place during the first phase.
- While the holocaust of the Jews meant the death of Jewish men, women and children, that of the Hindus saw not only killings of Hindu men, women and children, but also rape and enslaving of Hindu women, slavery of Hindu children, forcible conversion and destruction of Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (including the famous Nalanda University) and destruction of Hindu/Buddhist literary works.
- While the death toll due to the Jewish holocaust comes around six million (60 lakhs) the death toll of the Hindus even by rough estimate could not be less than sixty million (six crores).
- While the Jewish holocaust was caused due to the injunction of Hitler as he believed that the Jews were of an inferior race, the holocaust of the Hindus was caused due to the sanction of the religious scriptures of the Muslims which considers all non-Muslims as inferior and therefore no right to live.
- After the holocaust the Jews learnt a bitter lesson; with the holocaust museums around the world reminding of the Nazi atrocities and the need to prevent such happenings in the future. But none such museums exist in India for the present generation of Hindus to become aware of the horrors experienced by their forefathers. Even history textbooks under the influence of Marxist historians have whitewashed the atrocities committed by the Muslims on Hindus. With power-hungry politicians with their appeasement policies ruling the roost in India, the day would not be far away when the Hindus would have to face another holocaust; this time the whole Hindu race could be wiped out completely.
The Quranic Injunction on Non-Muslims
The Quranic law divides all non-Muslims into two classes, namely those who are according to it, the possessors of some kind of revealed scripture (ahle-Kitab) and those who are not and are idolators (Kafirs and Mushriks). The first group consisting only of Jews and Christians is permitted by the authority of the Quran to enjoy partial toleration in a Muslim state on payment of an invidious tax called the jiziya; but the other consisting of polytheists is not eligible for any kind of toleration whatever. Subsequently, a third group of non-Muslims that is of those who resembled the possessors of revealed books (musahab ahl-i-kitab) was recognized and the Zoroastrians were placed under this category. The latter too were allowed to live in a Muslim country on payment of the jiziya like the Jews and Christians. Of the four early and authoritative commentators on the sharia or the Islamic law who became founders of the four well-known schools of Muslim law, three namely, Malik Ibn Anas (715-795 A.D.), Ash-Shafi (767-820 A.D.) and Ahmad bin Hanbal (780-855 A.D.) lay down in unmistakable terms that idolators have no right to live in a Muslim country (i.e., one either ruled by Muslims or peopled by Muslims) and that they must either embrace Islam or suffer death. But the fourth commentator named Abu Hanifah (699-766A.D.) is of the opinion that idolators might be given besides the choice between Islam and death one more alternative, namely permission to live as Zimmis (living under a contract) or as inferior citizens with an obligation to pay the jiziya (poll tax) and to submit to certain political, legal and social disabilities.
As the Quran and the Hadis did not really permit Muslim rulers to allow Hindus to live under a Muslim government but to give them the choice between Islam and death the ulama pressed the sultans from time to time that the Quranic law should be enforced and that either the Hindus should be compelled to embrace Islam or they should be butchered in cold blood. For instance, during the reign of Iltutmish (1211-1236) the ulama made a united demand that the Hindus should be confronted with the Quranic injunction of Islam or death. The Sultan referred the question to his wazir Nizammul- Mulk Junnaidi, who though concurring with the ulama’s interpretation of the law, said that at the movement India has newly been conquered and the Muslims are so few in number. If the above orders are applied to the Hindus it is possible that they might combine and rebel. However, after a few years when in the capital and in the regions and the small towns, the Muslims are well established, and the troops are larger it will be possible to give Hindus the choice of death or Islam. A similar demand was made by Qazi Mughis-ud-din of Bayana during the reign of Ala-ud-din Khalji (1296-1316). He said that God has himself commanded their (Hindus) complete degradation inasmuch as the Hindus are the deadliest foes of the Prophet. The Prophet has said that they should either embrace Islam or they should be slain or enslaved, and their property should be confiscated to the state. Because of the vast numerical superiority of the Hindus and their military and economic strength, the Quranic law could not be enforced completely. Hence the sultans allowed the Hindus to live as Zimmis, i.e., the people living under contract as second-class citizens by paying a special tax called jiziya.
Types of Atrocities Faced by the Hindus
Muhammad bin Qasim’s first act of religious zeal after the capture of Sindh was to forcibly circumcise the Brahmanas of the captured city of Debul, but on discovering that they objected to this sort of conversion he then proceeded to put all above the age of seventeen to death and to order all others with women and children to be led to slavery. Utbi in his Tarikhi Yamini writes about the massacre, plunder and destruction that followed the victories of Mahmud of Ghazani. He remarks that the victors slew the vanquished wherever they were found, in jungles, passes, plains and hills. He further adds that the blood of the infidels flowed so copiously that the stream was discoloured notwithstanding its purity and people were unable to drink it. A contemporary Muslim writer observes about the consequences of Muslim victory in Gujarat in 1197- “Most of the Hindu leaders were taken prisoners and nearly fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword. More than twenty thousand slaves fell into the hands of the victor. Victorious campaigns of the Muslims were generally followed by the massacre and enslavement of the Hindus on a massive scale. Tarikh-i-Wassaf, written at the beginning of the medieval period gives an example of such massacre and enslavement after Alauddin’s campaign in Gujarat. The author’s narratives- the Muhammadan forces began to kill and slaughter on the right and on the left unmercifully throughout the impure land for the sake of Islam and blood flowed in torrents. They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens amounting to 20,000 and children of both sexes more than the pen can enumerate. According to Amir Khusrav who was an eyewitness during the siege of Chittor in 1303, after its capture, Alauddin gave orders for the slaughter of his enemies and about 30,000 Rajputs were killed in one day. The invasion of Timur in 1398-99 had a disastrous effect on the political, social, cultural and economic conditions of north India. Dozens of big towns were sacked and devastated, hundreds of villages razed to the ground and totally wiped out and millions of innocent men, women and children put to the sword. For instance, he ordered the killing of nearly one lakh Hindu prisoners before marching to Delhi as he feared that they might trouble him during his conflict with the army of Delhi. The male prisoners were used as beasts of burden to carry the spoils on their heads for their victors to their homelands; many of them died of hunger and fatigue on the way. Thousands of Hindu women were enslaved, dishonoured and humiliated. Even the so-called tolerant ruler like Akbar was guilty of massacring Hindus in thousands. For instance, he invaded Chittor in 1567 and just because the Rajputs offered stiff resistance to his invasion, after securing Chittor he ordered a general massacre and about 30,000 Hindus were slaughtered. After the third battle of Panipat about 9000 Marathas were slaughtered in cold blood. According to an eye witness, every Afghan soldier killed hundred to two hundred Maratha for the sake of gaining religious merit to their mother, father, sister and wife through the killing of Kafirs. Barbarous cruelties were perpetrated on the Hindus not only in the north but in the south also. Ibn Batutah gives a graphic account of such cruelties perpetrated by the Sultan of Madura in the south. He cites an example of a Hindu whose head was cut down with those of his wife and young son of seven years of age by the Sultan of Madura. He observes that on another day the same Sultan got the hands and feet of a Hindu cut off. Another historian Farishta has narrated in his works the blood-curdling tales of wholesale rapine and cold-blooded massacre of the Hindus by the Muslims. The Sultanate period was one of the long crusades against Hindu religion and culture. K.M.Munshi a distinguished writer and renowned scholar writes about this period- “ It was one of ceaseless resistance offered with one relentless heroism of men, from boys in teens to men with one foot in the grave, flinging away their lives for freedom; of warriors defying the invaders from the fortress for months; of women in thousands courting fire to save their honour; of children whose bodies were flung into the wells by their parents so that they might escape slavery; of fresh heroes springing up to take the place of the dead and to break the volume and momentum of the onrushing tide of invasion”.
The mass killings continued even in the twentieth century when demanding the formation of Pakistan. The Muslim League gave a call for Direct Action Day during which there were abductions, forced marriages, rapes, compulsory conversion to Islam of scores of Hindus. An estimated twenty lakh people perished most of them Hindus after India was partitioned. In 1971 nearly nine million refugees were driven from East Pakistan of which the majority were Hindus. The ethnic cleansing done in Serbia in recent times pales into insignificance when compared to that done in East Pakistan. Whereas the culprits of the Serbian ethnic cleansing were booked for their crimes and punished those who did it in East Pakistan went unpunished. Even in independent India where there is a Hindu majority they (the Hindus) are always at the receiving end when communal riots break out. As Babasaheb Ambedkar writes, the Muslim’s spirit of aggression is his native endowment and is ancient and in this exhibition of the spirit of aggression the Muslim leaves the Hindu far behind.
Social, Economic and Cultural Discrimination
Islam invariably aspires for the conquest and extermination of the indigenous religion and culture of the country it invades. Under Muslim domination, the Hindus fretted and chaffed at the loss of their political power. Their political subjection was followed by social degradation. They were treated with severity and reduced to a state of abject poverty and had to live like helots within the empire. Sheikh Hamadani in his book Zakhirat-ul-Muluk explains the policy of the Muslim State and the duties of the ruler towards the non-Muslims, the Zimmis. He lays down twenty conditions to be imposed by the Muslim rulers on the Zimmis and make their lives and property dependent on their fulfillment of the terms. Among these twenty conditions, the following deserve a mention.
- In a country under the authority of a Muslim ruler, they (Zimmis) are to build no new homes for images or idol temples
- They are not to rebuild any old buildings which have been destroyed
- Muslim travelers are not to be prevented from staying in idol temples
- Infidels may not act as spies
- If the Zimmis are gathered together in a meeting and Muslims appear, they are to be allowed at the meeting
- Zimmis are not to ride on horses with saddle and bridal
- Zimmis are not to possess swords and arrows
- They are not to wear signet rings and seals on their fingers
- They are not to build their homes in the neighbourhood of the Muslim
- They are not to mourn their dead with loud voices
- They are not to buy Muslim slaves
- Zimmis should not propagate the customs and usages of polytheists among Muslim, etc.
If the Zimmis infringe any of these conditions, it shall be lawful for Muslims to take their lives and possessions. In the reign of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, Qazi Mughisuddin of Bayana advised the Sultan to follow a rigid anti-Hindu policy. He said, “Hindus are the deadliest foes of the Prophet. The Prophet has said that they should either embrace Islam or they should be slain or enslaved, and their property should be confiscated to the state. When the Sultan consulted the Qazi about the policy to be followed for the Hindus, he answered- “They (Hindus) are called Khirajguzars (tax and tribute payers) and when the revenue officer demand silver from them, they should without question and with all humility and respect give gold. If the revenue and tax collector chooses to spit into the mouth of a Hindu, the latter must open his mouth without hesitation. Other restrictions were also imposed on Hindus like they were not allowed to wear fine clothes, ride on horseback, or, possess arms. Sometimes they were not permitted to chew betel or wear the same kind of dress as Muslims. Vidyapati, who was the famous poet of Mithila in the 15th century A.D. has given a graphic and gruesome account of the religious and social oppression of the Hindus by the Muslims. He observed that the Turks forced the Hindus to work without pay, placed the leg of the dead cow on the heads of the Brahmans, licked the sandalwood mark on their foreheads, tore off their sacred thread, broke temples and build mosques in their place, abused and assaulted the Hindus.
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