Note: This is a continuation of the article The Hindu Holocaust – I.
Rape and enslavement of Hindu Women
Muslim rulers and nobles of India were sexual sadists known for their low morality and were debauchees par excellence. Kaiqubad the grandson of Balban was 17-year-old when he succeeded to the throne in 1287 A.D. He had been brought up under the strict guardianship of his grandfather Balban where casting a glance at a fair face or to taste wine was a taboo. When Kaiqubad became the Sultan, his pent-up desires and passion found expression in unrestrained indulgence in wine, women and gaiety. So much so that musicians, singers, jokers, jesters and beautiful dancing girls from different parts of the kingdom thronged his court. Due to overindulgence Kaiqubad was struck with paralysis when he was just 20 and was kicked to death by a Khilji soldier and thrown to river Jamuna and the Slave dynasty came to an end. Mubarak Shah son of Ala-ud-din Khilji who ascended the throne in 1316 A.D overthrew all decency and royal dignity to the winds and sometimes appeared in the court in a state of drunkenness, accompanied by the dancing girls and vulgar slave boys who misbehaved with the courtiers and put everyone to shame. The Sultan adorned himself with the garments and trinkets of women and appeared in assemblies. Historian Barani says that sometimes the Sultan would run naked among his courtiers. The Muslim rulers and nobles were notorious for maintaining big harems.Khan Jahan Maqbul, the Prime Minister of Sultan Firoz Tughlaq is said to have maintained 2000 women of various races and nationalities in his harem. The ruler of Bahamani Kingdom, Firoz Shah had a harem of 800 women of various nationalities like Arabians, Georgians, Turks, Europeans, Chinese, Rajputs, Bengalis and others. He was reputed to be a master of many languages and was able to converse with each of his mistress in her own language. Sultan Mahmud of Gujarat was so strict in maintaining peaceful atmosphere in the harem that if any lady laughed at or derided the other, both were killed. During his early days, Akbar if he found any married women interesting, he used to ask her husband to divorce his wife in his favour. Non-compliance meant death or banishment. At the age of 25 Akbar had no less than a thousand divorcees in his harem. They were all once wives of Muslim and Hindu noblemen of his court. Mughal historian Abul Fazl says that Emperor Akbar had a harem of 5000 women supervised by a separate staff of female officers and eunuchs were appointed to guard them. Unauthorized entry into harem by any man was punishable with severing of legs and throwing out the trunk to wolves for a feast. The whole Muslim society was characterized by low morality and sensuality and even learned scholars and theologians were addicted to wine and women. One Maulana Shams Asadi was so much over sexed that he even neglected his obligatory prayers and ran after slave women. This type of atmosphere led to the worsening of the position of Hindu women during the Muslim rule over India. It was a fashion among the Turks, Pathans, Afghans and Mughals to take a wife from a Hindu family. Young Hindu girls were forcibly taken away and married to Muslims. Before the arrival of Muslim invaders Hindu women participated freely in social activities and functions. Rajput women took part in battles and in other outdoor activities even till as late as the fourteenth century. From paintings, sculpture, coins and references of foreign writers we find no evidence of the existence of purdah among the Hindus. Alberuni who was in India in the beginning of the eleventh century does not mention child marriage among the Hindus. But with the arrival of Muslim invaders purdah and ghoonghat was adapted by the Hindu women to save their honour from the lustful eyes of the Muslims. Except those belonging to the lower classes, Hindu women did not move out of their house. To safeguard the chastity of their daughter’s new rules were made to enforce early marriage.
During the military expeditions and invasions of the Muslims when the Rajputs had no hope of victory they fought to the last man and died in the battle. Before that last fight they collected their women, young ones, the middle aged and also those sixteen years old and made them enter the burning pyre, the act which was called Jauhar. This was to prevent the victorious Muslims from dishonouring them. Jauhar became a normal feature of the Rajput society only with the coming of the Muslims in India. Such sacrifices of life for the sake of honour and chastity are probably not found in the history of the other countries.
After the defeat of Dahir and capture of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim, Parmal Devi and Suraj Devi the two daughters of the deceased raja Dahir were taken captives and sent to Baghdad for introduction into the Caliph’s harem. According to Utbi after the defeat of Jaipal, Mahmud Ghazni took five lakh people including beautiful women as slaves. Ibn Batutah refers to the forcible conversion, mass enslavement and the inferior status of the Hindus as Zimmis. He gives several references to the humiliating treatment accorded to the Hindu female captives of the highest rank. Referring to the Id ceremony at Delhi in the Sultan’s palace he observes. “Then enter the musicians, the first batch being the daughters of the infidel rajas- Hindus- capture in the war that year. They sing and dance and the Sultan gives them away to the amirs and aizza. Then come the other daughters of the infidels who sing and dance and the Sultan gives them away to his brothers, his relations, his brother-in-law and the malik’s sons. When Muhammad bin Tughlaq sent his presents to the Emperor of China, they included one hundred male slaves and one hundred female slave songstresses and dancers from among the Indian infidels. Guru Nanak refers to the invading army of Babur as a ‘marriage party of sin’ and bemoans that “not even the ladies of the nobles were spared dishonour. With heads once of luxuriant tresses and partings adorned with red, they suffered now the shears of brutality; their throats were filled with choking dust; they wandered in a pitiful condition”. In recent times to force Hindus out of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) a systematic massacre of Hindus was started by the Muslims in 1950 and according to government figures more than 50,000 Hindus were butchered, thousands of Hindu women were abducted and raped and inhuman and barbarous crimes were perpetrated against them. To prevent young Hindu girls from being sent away to West-Bengal for the safety of their honour and to make the humiliation of the Hindus complete, a ‘Girls Release Duty’ was imposed on all Hindu girls leaving East Pakistan. Their hopeless guardians had either to pay this undignified tax or leave their sisters and daughters to the mercy of Pakistan goondas.
Muslim rulers converted Hindus to Islam in large numbers. Sikandar the Butshikan of Kashmir converted thousands of Hindus to Islam and expelled those who refuse to be converted. Jala-ud-din of Bengal (1414-1430) forcibly converted hundreds of Hindus and persecuted the rest. Firoz Tughluq and Sikandar Lodi were the instances of Delhi Sultans who indulged in mass persecution and conversion of Hindus. According to Muslim historian Afif during the time of Firoz Tughlaq a Brahmin who was publicly performing the worship of idols in his house was tied hand and foot and was burnt alive before the palace gate because he refused to change his faith and embrace Islam. Sikandar Lodi also put to death a Brahmin named Bodhan who ventured to say that both Hinduism and Islam were true religions.
During Aurangzeb rule, the experiment of mass conversion was first tried in Kashmir. Sher Afghan Khan, the emperor viceroy in Kashmir set about converting Kashmir’s Brahmins by sword. In desperation some of them went to Anandpur and sought the help of Guru Tegh Bahadur. The Guru asked them to tell the emperor that they will embrace Islam if Tegh Bahadur was first converted. The Guru was summoned to Agra and on his refusal to embrace Islam and perform miracles he was killed on November 11th, 1675, at Delhi. Earlier his disciples, Mati Das’s body was cut with a saw, while that of another disciple, Bhai Dayal Das was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil under the orders of Aurangzeb for refusal to convert themselves as Muslims.
In 1789 Sambhaji died after being tortured by Aurangzeb. Not satisfied with this Aurangzeb who had taken his (Sambhaji) son Shahu as prisoner issued an order that Shahu be converted to Islam during the month of muharram in 1703. The news spread like wildfire throughout Maharashtra and a deep shadow of gloom pervaded the whole atmosphere. Shahu and his mother were prostrate with grief and in that helpless state they turned to Aurangzeb’s daughter Zinatunnisa who pleaded for Shahu with her father. Aurangzeb relented at last but at a price and the price was that two prominent Marathas should offer themselves for conversion in place of Shahu. Even in those days when unselfish patriotism was a rare virtue there were people who could die without a groan for their king and for their country. Two sons of Pratap Raogujar, Khande Rao and Jagjiwan, brother-in-law of Rajaram, who were captured at Raigarh along with Shahu and lived with him in the imperial camp offered themselves for conversion to save Shahu. They were accordingly converted on May 16, 1703 and renamed Abdur Rahim and Abdur Rahman.
Even as late in 1789 thousands of people in Kerala were circumcised and made to eat beef by Tipu who had issued a proclamation directing the inhabitants of Malbar to embrace Islam. Later in 1921 the Moplahs (converted Muslims of Kerala) forced their Hindu neighbours to embrace Islam and killed those who refused. All kinds of pressure were exerted on the Hindu population in order to compel them to embrace Islam. Criminals who embraced Islam were acquitted and government posts were conferred upon converts who were besides rewarded in many other ways. Islam did not permit the conversion of Muslims to Hinduism or the reconversion of Hindu converts to Islam. Those guilty of the offence of seducing Muslims from their religion were awarded the capital punishment. The same punishment was inflicted for reconverting Hindu converts to Islam.
Not only during the course of war or a campaign but also in peacetime Hindu temples were razed to the ground and their images broken to pieces. They were also forbidden from building new temples and repairing the old ones. Muhammad bin Qasim carried out the destruction of temples after his conquest of Sindh but made an exception to a temple at Multan as it was frequented by a large number of pilgrims and used to get good income. Nevertheless, he satisfied his desire by tying a piece of cow’s meat around the neck of the idol of the temple. Minhaj-us-Siraj tells us Mahmud of Ghazani became famous for having destroyed as many as a thousand temples and his great feat was to break the idol of Somanath into four pieces and placing one at the entrance of his palace and another at the entrance of the mosque in Ghazni to be trodden upon by Muslims. It is said that Mahmud was requested by the priests not to break the main idol in return for immense wealth. But Mahmud spurned the offer and said that he would rather like to be known as ‘Mahmud the idol breaker, (butshikan) than the idol seller (but-farosh). Qutbuddin Aibak is also said to have destroyed nearly a thousand temples. Firoz Tughlaq writes in his Fatuhat-i-Shahi how he rode to the village of Maluh where the Hindus had gathered to worship by the side of a tank and a fair was being held and he not only put down Hindu worship and destroyed the idols but also ordered the worshippers to be put to death. He also razed to the ground temples in places like Mandrail, Utgir, Narwar and Nagarkot and erected mosques and carvan sarais in their place. The pieces of the broken images of Hindu idols were brought from Nagarkot and were given away to Muslim butchers to be used as meat weights.
The literature of the Vaishnavas in Bengal has given a description of the miserable plight of the Hindus in Bengal. According the accounts given the Muslims used to break the images of the gods into pieces and throw away the articles of worship. They used to burn the Shrimad Bhagavat and other holy scriptures, forcibly take away the conch shell and bell of the Brahmanas (two necessary articles of worship) and lick sandle paints on their bodies. They urinate like dogs on the sacred Tulsi plant and deliberately pass faeces in the Hindu temples. They throw water from their mouths on the Hindus engaged in worship. According to Jayanand’s Chaitanyamangala if the King of Gaud hears the sound of a conch shell in any house, its owner is made to forfeit his wealth, caste and even life. Outrages committed on the Hindus by two Qazis, Hasan and Husain in the reign of Sultan Alauddin Husain Shah (1493-1519) of Bengal is well described by Vijay Gupta in his works. He says that the Hindus were beaten mercilessly, sacred thread of the Brahmans torn away, and saliva was spat in their mouths. Consequently, many Hindus embraced Islam to get rid of this ignominious fate. Some of the Hindus embraced Islam to escape the much-hated tax of jiziya. Barani a famous historian of the Sultanate period eagerly yearned that the Hindu slaughtering swords of Islam should not be put to their scabbard until the whole of Hind had embraced Islam. He desired that Muslim rulers should not allow the infidels to keep their temples, adorn their idols, and to make merry during their festivals with beating of drums and dhols, singing and dancing. Aurangzeb reimposed the jiziya and pilgrim’s tax on the Hindus and ordered the wholesale demolition of temples in all parts of the empire. He instructed the governors of all provinces that they should destroy the schools and temples of the infidels and put an end to their educational activities as well as the practices of the religions of the kafirs. The result was that universally respected temples, including those of Vishwanath and Gopinath at Banaras, that of Keshavrai at Mathura and many others were razed to the ground. Aurangzeb appointed a darogah to supervise the activities of the army officers who were charged with breaking images and destroying temples. Cartloads of broken images were brought to Delhi and Agra from all the provinces and buried under staircases of Jami mosques of these and other towns.
Results of the Holocaust
- According to Babasaheb Ambedkar the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasion of the Musalmans. Islam came out as the enemy of the ‘But’. The word ‘But’ is an Arabic word and means an idol and also refers to Buddha. The Muslims identified idol worship with the religion of the Buddha and to break the idols became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went. Before Islam came into being Buddhism was the religion of Bactria, Parthia, Afghanistan, Gandhara and Chinese Turkestan. It all these countries Islam destroyed Buddhism. Further Ambedkar quotes Vincent Smith who points out that the furious massacre perpetrated in many places by Musalman invaders were more efficacious than orthodox Hindu persecution and had a great deal to do with the disappearance of Buddhism in several provinces of India.
- According to A.L.Srivastava during the period 1200-1803 A.D. the Hindu society deteriorated morally and materially. The government during the Sultanate and Mughal period was tyrannical and repressed the people and did whatever it could to demoralize them. The government did not tolerate manly virtues of courage, honesty and frankness and resistance to oppression. The result was that the Hindus as a people developed a character of low cunning, deceit and flattery in order to get on in the world. In short, they suffered a great deal of moral and intellectual degeneration. The historian Jadunath Sarkar justly holds the medieval Muslim government responsible for the Hindu degeneration of that age and considers it the greatest disservice done to this country.
- During the centuries of Muslim domination, the Hindus race’s instinct for self-preservation, combined with the individual’s need for a guarantee of personal safety intensified the rigidity of the caste system. The proselytizing zeal of Islam strengthened bonds of conservatism in the orthodox circles of the Hindu society. The Hindu became more orthodox in their outlook and practice than what they were in the past. To fortify their position against the propagation and spread of Islam, the Hindus increased to a great extent the stringency of many social taboos and castes rules and regulations. New rigid rules of conduct, diet, marriage and religious rites and ceremonies were prescribed. The stiffness and rigidity of the caste system served as a strong cordon for Hinduism from being submerged entirely in Muslim culture. Had there been so such caste system in India, the whole of the Hindu race might have embraced Islam as other nations in Asia and Africa had done.
- The Indian Muslim (Hindu convert) during the rule of the Turks and later Mughals had little share in the administration of the country, not admitted into the aristocracy of the conquerors and not given a share of their social and economic privileges. His only consolation was that he professed the same religion as his rulers and could pray with them on Fridays. His constant desire was to be treated on a footing of equality with his foreign co-religionist and to share their power and wealth. To attain his life’s ambition, he had to imitate foreign ways and style of living and even to abjure his ancestors. It was an irony of fate that owing to these reasons he was cut off from those who had once been his kinsmen, dead or alive and was like an alien in his own motherland. It was this inferiority complex along with his economic and educational backwardness that made the Indian Muslims claim separate homeland and which led to the establishment of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Writings and Speeches, Vol- 3, Vol-17 part I, Published by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation
- Anil A Athale – Let the Jhelum Smile Again, Aditya Prakashan, Mumbai
- Bal Raj Madhok – Portrait of a Martyr – A Biography of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerji, Rupa & Co, New Delhi
- J.S.Grewal- The Sikhs of the Punjab, The New Cambridge History of India II, Cambridge University Press, 1995
- J.L.Mehta- Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India Vol -I, Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, Delhi
- Murray T Titus – Indian Islam, Oxford University Press, 1930
- B.N.Luniya- Life and Culture in Medieval India, Kamal Prakashan, Indore
- A.L.Srivastava- The Sultanate of Delhi, Shiva Lal Agarwala & Co, Agra
- A.L.Srivastava- Medieval Indian Culture, Shiva Lal Agarwala & Co, Agra
- A.L.Srivastava- The Mughal Empire, Shiva Lal Agarwala & Co, Agra
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