Author Archives: S.Srinivas

Historian and Writer

Hanuman- The Hero of Vanaras

Ancient India was inhabited by Devas (Manavas), Daityas, Danavas, Vanaras, Rakshasas, Yakshas, Nagas, Panis (Dasas), etc. All of them were human beings and claim descent from mythical Rishis. The Devas, Daityas, Danavas and Nagas were descendants from Rishi Marichi, while the Vanaras, Rakshasas and Yakshas were descendants from Rishi Pulastya. Hanuman famous for his strength and stamina was born in a Vanara community and was a contemporary of Sri Rama, the ruler of Ayodhya. Hanuman was born at Anjanadri mountain situated near Hampi in Bellary district of Karnataka. His father Kesari was a chieftain and his mother was Anjana. The Puranic literature contains many stories about the birth of Hanuman which are not only fanciful but also disgusting and can be overlooked. 

Hanuman was a Human 

The word Vanar originally meant ‘the dweller of the Vana (forest)’. The Jaina Ramayana calls the Vanaras as Vanaradhwajas or people having a monkey flag as they had monkey as their totem or emblem. Valmiki refers to three type of people during the Ramayana period, namely Manavas, Vanaras and Rakshasas; who were all highly civilised. The political, religious and social organisations of the Vanaras were of the same pattern as those of the Manavas. The Vanaras led a simple life and were strict vegetarians. A purely vegetarian diet is an indication of their spiritual progress and advanced culture. The Vanaras believed in the principle ‘Live and to Let Live’ and did not involve in conquest of territories belonging to other people. They fought only in self-defence. 

Hanuman was a grammarian and knew the art of healing. The Ramayana says that no one equals him in the knowledge of sastras. Ramayana (Sundara Kanda) speaks of two varieties of Sanskrit which were in vogue at that time; one manushi Samskrita, the popular dialect and the Samskrita dvijatiriva, the language spoken by the cultured Brahmins, the shishtas and Hanuman was a cultured linguist and could speak in both varieties. In Ramayana Hanuman is referred as mahakapi, that is ‘great monkey’. Probably this epithet was given by the poet due to the over activeness character of Hanuman. Unfortunately, Hanuman is depicted as a monkey and there is an urgent need to portray and carve Hanuman as a human being, which he was. 

Helped Rama fight against Ravana 

Hanuman was a close associate of Sugriva whose Vanara kingdom is identified with Rshyamuka mountains near Hampi. Hanuman along with Sugriva and other Vanaras helped Sri Rama in his fight against Ravana. Hanuman accompanied Sri Rama on his return journey to Ayodhya and spent rest of his days with him. 

In Madhva tradition Hanuman is highly revered and Madhvacharya, the propounder of Dwaita system of philosophy is believed to be the incarnation of Hanuman. Vyasaraya, the spiritual guru of Sri Krishnadevarya, the famous ruler of Vijayanagara is said to have installed about 700 statues of Hanuman in various parts of the Vijayanagara Empire to inspire people develop manly qualities; who at that time had become desperate due to the repeated aggressive attacks by the Muslim rulers of the Deccan. 

Removal of fear 

Addressed variously as Anjaneya, Maruthi, Pavamana, Vayuputra, Ramabhakt, etc., Hanuman is considered to dispel fear, cure disease and give strength and stamina. To relieve children who easily get alarmed for trivial reasons or suffer from nightmares, yantras (talisman) of Hanuman are tied to their arm or around their neck. Hanuman is a bramachari and famous for maintaining strict continence. In all traditional gymnasiums called Vyayamashala, the portrait of Hanuman is hung and worshipped by all those who come there to exercise. Tulasidas wrote a devotional stotra (hymn) called Hanuman chalisa which is recited by devotees to obtain his (Hanuman’s) grace.  

Once upon a time the worship of Hanuman was limited to south India, but now he is worshipped all over India. In all temples dedicated to him, Hanuman is depicted as praying at the feet of Sri Rama or meditating under his favourite Parijata tree. In paintings he is depicted as flying by carrying a mountain in one hand or carrying Sri Rama and his brother Lakshmana on his shoulders. 


  1. Adya Ramachar- Anjaneya Vilasa, Sahitya Sanjeevini (Kannada work), Vardaraja Prakashan, 1997 
  2. F. E. Pargiter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Oxford University Press, London, 1922 
  3. Vettam Mani- Puranic Encyclopedia, Motilal Banarsidass, 1975,  
  4. B. V. Kamesvara Aiyar- Valmiki’s Ramayana and the Western Critics, QJMS, Vol XVI, April 1926 
  5. P. C. Dharma- Social Life in the Ramayana, QJMS, Vol XXVIII, July 1937  
  6. John Dowson- A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature, London, 1879

Republican States in Ancient India 

Republican States in ancient India was called Ganarajya. The word Gana also means numbers and Ganarajya will therefore mean the rule of numbers or the rule of many. Another term to denote a republic was Samgha and republican bodies are called by Kautilya as Samgha. The Dharma Sutras and Dharma Shastras contain frequent references to Gana which seems to denote town or village corporations. That this term also denoted independent political corporations is abundantly testified to by epigraphic and numismatic evidences. Inscriptions refers to Malava and Yaudheya Ganas and in Samudragupta’s Allahabad Pillar Inscription they are clearly distinguished from monarchies. The Bijaygadh Pillar Inscription expressly refer to the fact that the Yaudheya Gana used to elect its chief who also served as general. The concept of republics in ancient India is much older than that of Greece or Rome and flourished mainly in north-western and north-eastern regions of India from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D.

Our chief source of information about the republics of ancient India are the Greek writers for north-western zone and the Buddhist works for the north-eastern zone. This apart the Mahabharata, Arthashastra and works of Panini, Katyayana, Patanjali, etc. also provides us information about these republics. The coins issued by these republican states are another valuable and concrete evidence to prove their existence.

Antiquity of Republics in Ancient India

Zimmer finds clear traces of the oligarchical form of government in verses in Rig Veda and Atharvana Veda. K.P. Jayaswal has furnished evidence for the existence of non-monarchical form of government in the Vedic period by referring a passage in the Aitareya Brahmana (VII, 3,14) which mentions that community was consecrated to rulership and their institutions were called Vairajya or kingless states. In the age of Mahabharata there were Ganas or states having republican form of government. Sometimes many Ganas combined to form a Samgha or confederation. The Mahabharata provides valuable information regarding non-monarchical states. Two chapters in Shantiparva of Mahabharata have been devoted to the nature and problems of republican polity. The Bhishmaparva mention republican states of Kuru, Panchala, Bhoja, etc.; the Sabhaparva refers to republican states of Sibis, Dasarnas, Trigarthas, Ambasthas, Malavas, Abhiras, Andhaka Vrishni, etc. The Andhaka Vrishni were a confederation, the constituent units of which were autonomous parts under their own leaders. Sri Krishna was the chief of this confederation.

Republics during Buddha’s time

The Buddhist texts (Jatakas) also refers to the existence of many autonomous clan with a non-monarchical form of government in sixth century B.C. Notable among them were Shakyas of Kapilavastu, the Mallas of Pava and Kusinara, Lichchhavis of Vaishali, the Videhas of Mithila, the Koliyas of Ramagama, Moriyas of Pipplalvan, etc. Some of the republican states joined together and formed confederations and federations for better prosperity and greater military power. For example, when Buddha was alive Videhas of Mithila and Lichchhavis of Vaisali formed a confederation and the Jnatrikas and Vajjis also joined them.

Panini in his Astadhyayi also mentions both types of states; republics (Samgha or Gana) and monarchies (Janapada). The republican states mentioned by him are Kshudrakas, Mallas, Ambashtas, Hastinayan, Madras, Madhumantas, Apritas, Vasati, Sibis, Bhaggas, etc. Many of these states continued up to 3rd century B.C. and resisted Alexander invasion of India.

There is one vital difference between the republics of the Buddhist age and those of the Mahabharata period. In the Buddhist age, full general assemblies of the republics met frequently in concord and transacted business in democratic spirit. In the Mahabharata period in the republic states, on account of the ignorance and passions of the masses, authority was concentrated in the hands of the community and more specially in those of magistrates. During the Mahabharata period we find a new tendency of the people to place themselves under the protection of individual leaders for better defence against external aggression.

Republics during the Mauryan period

Greek writers refer to Yaudheyas and Kshudrakas as powerful, free and independent republics with well organised army. Kautilya mentions Corporations like Lichchhivikas, Vrijikas, Mallakas, Madrakas, Kukuras who made use of the epithet of king Raja. In the beginning of the Mauryan period the whole of northern India was studded with these democratic states. That they possessed considerable powers is admitted by Kautilya himself when he says that to a king the acquisition of the help of corporations is better than the acquisition of an army, a friend or profit. Republics existed not only in north India but also in south India. Asoka Rock Edicts refers to non-monarchical kingdoms like Satiyaputras and Keralaputras.

Republics during the Guptas period

During the time of Guptas we find republican states of Arjunayanas (Agra-Jaipur area), Yaudheyas (south-eastern Punjab), Malavas (south-eastern Rajasthan), Madras (central Punjab), Audumbaras (eastern part of Kangra, Gurudaspur and Hoshiarpur district of Punjab), Kunindas, etc. Some of these republican states possessed great powers and resources and extended their sway over a vast tract of country.

The Yaudheyas established their reputation as a great political power and ruled over a considerable portion of the Punjab. Their coins bear the significant legend ‘Jaya Yaudheya. The Yaudheyas had an unsurpassed reputation for bravery and no wonder for they were the devotees of Lord Karttikeya, the generalissimo of Gods. It was this reputation of their bravery and the report about the rich resources of their state that made Alexander’s soldiers lose their heart and refuse to advance further. The Yaudheyas flourished down the end of 1st century A.D. whey they were temporarily overpowered by Kanishka I. Soon they rebelled against the Kushana hegemony and dealt a powerful blow to the Kushana empire from which it could not recover.

The Malavas and Kshudrakas were among those republics which offered stoutest resistance to Alexander. The Kshudrakas were their southern neighbour who later seem to have completely merged with the Malavas. The Malavas migrated to Ajmer-Chitor-Tonk area in 100 B.C. and to modern province of Malva about 400 years later. They were for a time subjugated by the Scythians in C 150 A.D. but reasserted their independence in 225 A.D. They claimed descent from the Ikshavaku king Sri Rama and were important enough to have given their name to a vast province. Their coins bear the legend ‘Victory of the Malavas.

Next in importance were the Arjunayanas who flourished from 200 B.C. to 400 A.D. and allied themselves with the Yaudheyas in ousting the Kushanas. Their coins have been found which do not bear the name of any king or general but simply ‘Arjunayanamjayah(victory to the Arjunayanas). They loved independence more than their own life and were even ready to give up their paternal homes and lands to preserve their political self and soul.

Types of Republics

There were several types of republics like Dvairajya, Bhaujya, Rashtrika, Pettanika, Svarajya, Vairajya and Arajaka.

Dvairajya was a state that came into existence when two brothers or cousins being claimants of the same kingdom preferred to rule it jointly instead of dividing it into two parts. The two rulers would hold joint consultations on all important matters. When the two kings rule in harmony the state was called a two-king state, Dvirajaka in Sanskrit. Kautilya characterises Dvairajya as a constitution of rivalry and mutual conflict leading to final destruction. This rule of two was neither a monarchy nor an aristocracy. It is a constitution peculiar to the history of India. Historical instances of this constitution are known to our literature and inscriptions. Avanti in some period of Hindu history was under this constitution for the Mahabharata relates that Avanti was under Vinda and Anuvinda two kings ruling jointly. In sixth and seventh century A.D. Nepal was under such a constitution.

Bhaujya refers to states having non-hereditary leadership. Bhoja or Bhojakas and Rathikas or Rashtrikas as mentioned in Asokan edicts had this type of constitution. The Mahabharata in its lists of different classes of rulers mentions Bhoja as a class. The Aitareya Brahmana calls their constitution as Bhaujya as the sovereignty rested in the Bhoja leaders. Later inscriptions have Bhojas and Mahabhojas which signify ordinary and higher classes of leaders. Owing to their special constitution a people in western India acquired the name Bhojas. This probably is a case where a community is formed on account of its political constitution.

Rashtrika of the western India were a non-monarchical community. Pali texts knows and names the Rashtrika or Ratthika class of rulers. Accordingly, Rashtrika Sapatya or Board of leaders were not hereditary. They were therefore elected. The mention in the Pali authority goes to indicate that the Rashtrika constitution was also very probably known to eastern India. Like Bhaujya this too gave a national name to the Rashtrikas of the west. They were in Gujarat next to Saurashtra. Arthashastra refers to Su-rashtras a republic where no king consul was allowed.

Pettanika– The commentary on the Anguttara Nikaya denotes Pettanika as “hereditary leadership”. Theirs appears to have been really a perverted form of the Bhoja form of government, where rulers or leaders had managed to become hereditary. The Pettanika oligarchy or probably aristocracy was prevalent in western India as evidenced by Ashokan inscriptions. That it also existed in eastern India is evidenced from the Pali canon mentioned above.

Svarajya according to Aitareya Brahmana was a type of constitution which prevailed in western India where the ruler or president was called Svarat. It literally means self-ruler. The Taittiriya Brahmana says that a wise man performs Vajapeya sacrifice and obtains Svarajya; which is explained as ‘becoming the leader of equals’. This information shows that the Svarat ruler was taken from amongst equals and was made president. And that the selection was based upon merit for Indra who is said to have first obtained Svarajya consecration is described as having proved his merit. Evidently this refers to an election or selection to the presidentship amongst the members of a gana or council. It should be noted that the members of the gana according to the Mahabharata were considered to be equals. According to the Aitareya Brahmana this form of government prevailed amongst the Nichyas and the Apachyas of western India near Indus river.

Vairajya according to Jayaswal has termed it as a kingless constitution. According to the Aitareya Brahmana the whole country or nation took the consecration of rulership. There is no doubt that this was a real democratic constitution. The Aitareya Brahmana gives the example of Uttara Madras and Uttara Kurus. Kautilya rejects it as a bad form of government and held democracy in contempt. According to him ‘nobody feels in a Vairajya government the feeling of mine (with regard to the state).

Arajaka or non-ruler state was an idealistic constitution which came to be the object of derision of the political writers of Hindu India. The ideal of this constitution was that law was to be taken as the ruler and there should be no man ruler. The basis of the state was considered to be mutual agreement or social contract between the citizens. This was an extreme democracy. The Mahabharata from which the above description is taken ridicules the constitution and says that the framers of this legal state found out their mistake when the arrangement would work no more with the result that nobody obeyed the law without sanction. When the law would not rule, the citizens of this form of government took to monarchy.

Administration of Republican States

The Buddhist literature throws considerable light on the administration of the Shakya and Lichchhavi republics. Other minor non-monarchical states usually followed the same pattern.

The Executive Assembly

The executive organ consisted of certain members which varied from republic to republic. While in some republics like the Mallas it consisted of four members, in republican states like the Lichchhavis the executive council consisted of nine members. The head of the executive, that is the chief executive officer was designated as Raja or Rajan and was elected for a term of some years. He occupied the presidential chair when the general assembly of the republic was in session.

The Legislative (Central) Assembly

The legislative assembly also known as the general or supreme assembly consisted of a large number of members. Its membership is stated to have been as high as 5000 among the Yaudheyas and 7707 among the Lichchhavis. The Kshudrakas had sent 150 of their leading men to negotiate peace with Alexander; the number of the members of their Central Assembly may have been about five times larger. The Central Assembly was the supreme law-making body. It formulated laws regarding all aspect of republic life. It controlled foreign affairs, entertained ambassadors and foreign princes, considered their proposal and decided the momentous issues of peace and war. Members of the Assembly discussed not only matters of political and military interest but also problems concerning agriculture and commerce.

Assembly Proceedings

The house where the members of the General Assembly met and conducted deliberations and transacted business was known as Santhagara. For deliberating and taking decisions on all official issues a minimum number of members were to be present. An officer called Gana-puraka secured the quorum. Usually a proposal was moved and repeated thrice and if no objection were raised it was considered passed. In case of difference of opinion or objection the matter was decided by the majority of votes. Voting by ballots (called Salakas) was in use. If the subject matter of deliberations was complicated and the house could not reach any conclusion, it was referred to specialised committee of experts called Udvahika.

The state was divided into many small administrative units for efficient administration. The head of each unit in the Buddhist period was probably a member of the Supreme Assembly of the state. Each head of the administrative unit was assisted by Uparaja (deputy chief), Senapati (general) and Bhandagarika (treasurer). Law courts were the main bulwark of justice in a republican state, the guardians of the constitutional rights of the citizens and protectors of law and liberty. The republics had their own army and it safeguarded their territorial integrity.

Decline of Republican States

The attack of foreigners weakened the republican states considerably. For instance, the Malavas and the Kshudrakas had formed a league to raise a powerful army of nearly one lakh soldiers to resist the Greek invasion. The Malavas later fought against the forces of Nahapana and the Yaudheyas against Rudradaman. With the rise of the Guptas under Samudragupta the republican states like the Malavas, the Arjunayanas, the Yaudheyas and the Madras accepted the suzerainty of the Guptas and offered him tributes. The Allahabad Pillar Inscription informs us that the mighty corporations like those of Yaudheyas, the Malavas and the Arjunayanas had to pay taxes and make obeisance to the great emperor Samudragupta. These two factors; invasion of foreigners and rise of Guptas led to the decline and downfall of the republican states in India. From around 3rd century A.D the leadership of the republics passed into the hands of hereditary presidents who were military leaders and claimed royal titles and they could not be distinguished from monarchies. The growing tendency to regard monarch as divine may have induced the republics to accept the leadership of hereditary presidents styled as Maharajas. Probably it was felt that monarchy was a better protection against aggressions than republics. This factor also led to the decline of republics in ancient India and from 5th century onwards they ceased to be important factors in Indian politics. No trace of them is to be found in the Puranas or Dharmashastras to which monarchy seems to be the only conceivable form of government. Even a professionally political writer like the author of Shukraniti had not a word to say about them. Gradually things have come to such a pass that it requires great effort to believe even when sufficient evidence is forth coming that institutions which we are accustomed to look upon as of western growth had also flourished in India long ago.

Impact/Contribution of Republican States

  • The existence of the republican states for more than a thousand years from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. testifies to the inherent strength of democracy and republican traditions in ancient India. Their existence for such a long period shows that ancient India nurtured democratic institutions and practices.

  • The freedom loving patriotic republican states acted as bulwark against foreign invaders like the Greeks, Scythians and Kushans.

  • Trade and industries prospered under their regime and republics in Punjab and Sindh were studded with numerous and prosperous cities.

  • They encouraged freedom of thought which in its turn resulted in philosophical progress. This is particularly noteworthy about the eastern republics whose citizens have made rich contributions to philosophy as developed in the Upanishads, Buddhism and Jainism. In the western region also, there were many philosophers who impressed the Greeks by their theories and views.

  • The Buddhist Sangha, trade and craftsmen’s guilds borrowed many elements and traditions of republican government like voting system, committee system and popular tribunals.


  1. A.S. Altekar- State and Government in Ancient India (From earliest times to c 1200 A.D), Motilal Banaridass, Banaras

  1. K.P. Jayaswal- Hindu Polity– A Constitutional History of India in Hindu Times, The Bangalore Printing and Publishing Co Ltd, Bangalore, 1943

  1. B.N. Luniya- Life and Culture in Ancient India, Lakshmi Narain Agarwal, Agra, 1989

  1. R.C. Majumdar- Corporate Life in Ancient India, Calcutta, 1918

  1. H.V. Srinivasa Murthy- History and Culture of India to 1000 A.D., S. Chand & Company, New Delhi, 1980

Honesty, Idealism, Magnanimity and Non-violence – Watch- words of Hindus

Sanatana Dharma encompasses ideals such as justice, honesty, altruism, chivalry and non-violence and since the dawn of civilization Sanatanis (Hindus) living in Bharath, upheld and practiced these ideals in their daily lives. Foreign travellers speak of the high integrity, magnanimity and compassion which the Hindus possessed.

Megesthenes the Greek ambassador lived in the court of Chandragupta Maurya, who ruled the kingdom of Magadha during 322-298 B.C. He observes that the average Hindu was law abiding, frugal in their habits and simple in manners. They never drink wine except at sacrifices. The simplicity of their laws and their contracts is proved by the fact that they seldom go to the court of law. They have no suits about pledges or deposits, nor do they require seals or witnesses but make their deposits and confide in each other. Their houses and property are generally unguarded. They hold truth and virtue in high esteem. Continuing, he says that Hindus neither ravaged an enemy’s land nor cut down its trees. Therefore, the cultivation was never interfered. It is said that famine never visited India nor scarcity for food felt as there was double rainfall each year. The Hindus treated diseases more by diet than by medicine through ointment and plasters were used. People practiced fortitude by undergoing toil and suffering pain.

Fa-Hien the Chinese traveller who visited India during 5th century A.D. says “Throughout the whole country the people do not kill any living creatures nor drink intoxicating drinks; they do eat onions or garlic and do not keep pigs and fowls or sell live cattle in the market”. He mentions houses of charity and dispensaries run by the people belonging to Vaisya caste, where maimed, diseased, crippled, orphans, widowers and childless were fed and treated. Fa-Hien also speaks about the existence of rest houses for travellers and free hospitals. “No passport system existed, those who want to go may go and those who want to stop may stop”, he adds.

Hindus known for their courage, honesty and learning

Another Chinese traveller Huien Tsang who visited India during 630 A.D. says that Hindus were remarkable for their courage, honesty and love for learning. They are not deceitful or treacherous in their conduct. They are faithful in their oaths and promises. He also speaks of their personal hygiene– “floors of the houses were purified with cow dung and strewn with season flowers. They bathed daily, smeared their bodies with sandal and washed hands before meals. I-Tsing who visited India around 671 A.D. also speaks of the high personal hygiene of the Hindus.

Regarding justice and honesty of the Hindus, Al Idrisi in his work, Nazhatu I Mushtak– writes “The Indians are naturally inclined to justice and never depart from it in their action. Their good faith, honesty and fidelity to their engagements are well known and they are so famous for these qualities that people flock to their country from every side; hence the country is flourishing and their condition prosperous. If a man met another to whom he had earlier lend something and if he wished to get it back, he used to draw a circular line upon the ground where his debtor was standing and the latter could not leave this circle without returning back his creditor what he owed or obtain remission from him.

Altruistism of high order

Not only the Hindus were known for their sense of justice but also altruism of high order. For instance, during 12th century there lived in Kalyan (Bidar district in Karnataka) an idealistic Veerashaiva couple, Aaidakki Marayya and his wife Lakkamma. Aaidakki Marayya’s profession was to gather rice grains scattered on the ground. (many rich people used to donate rice to the poor who used to collect it in their torn clothes, as a result there was seepage of rice which used to fall on the ground) Once Aaidakki Marayya engrossed in his thoughts brought more rice than the usual measure. His wife Lakkamma reminded him that greed for grains excess to their needs was against their dharma and insists upon his taking back the excess rice and scattering it where he had picked it from. This shows the high idealism of Lakkamma. Speaking of extravagance Gandhiji said- ‘nature has given enough for all of our wants but not for our greed. If everybody took enough for his wants then there would be no pauperism in this world.’

Display of Magnanimity against arch rivals

In 1519 A.D., Mahmud Khilji, the ruler of Malwa invaded the territory of Medini Rai, an ally of Rana Sangram Singh, the ruler of Mewar. For this audacity on the part of Mahmud, Rana decided to teach him a lesson and in the ensuing battle defeated Mahmud and took him as prisoner. As Mahmud was wounded and bleeding, Rana had him removed with care to his own camp, where his wounds were carefully dressed and properly treated. He was then removed to Chittoor, where he remained a prisoner for three months. The Maharana used to treat Mahmud with great courtesy and friendship, so far at times as to make him sit on a portion of own seat in the Durbar. One day while the Mahmud was so seated, an attendant brought some flowers and the Maharana taking up, a bunch was about to give it to Mahmud, when the latter said “there were two ways of giving a thing, you hold your hand up and bestow it on an inferior or keep your hand low and tender it to a superior”. “The latter course was out of question as I am your prisoner”, said Mahmud and added that he is not ready to extent his palm like a suppliant merely for a bunch of flowers. The Maharana was pleased to hear this from Mahmud and generously said that half the kingdom of Malwa went with the bunch of flowers. Mahmud was filled with joy and gladly extended his palm and took the flowers. The third day the Maharana bade farewell to Mahmud and sent him with an escort to Mandu and seated him on the throne.

Respect for women

Abdur Rahim Khan-i- Khan, the adopted son of Akbar was once sent to fight Rana Pratap, for his refusal to submit before the Mughals. Abdur Rahim with 20,000 soldiers went on a rampage in Mewar and thousands of Rajput men and women died fighting for their honour and liberty. Though Mewar bled it did not surrendered. One evening prince Amar Singh, son of Pratap, in a surprise raid carried away a part of the Khan’s harem. But Pratap reprimanded him and said- “The honour of women is dear to us and to lay hand on women is to denounce god and is against the Rajput code of conduct”. “Never again my son, should you be guilty of such a lapse”, Pratap advised his son. Pratap himself apologised to the ladies for the mistake made by his son. He extended to them honours customary to be shown to honoured guests in Rajput house and sent them back under heavy military escort to the Mughal camp. Abdur Rahim was overwhelmed by the Rana’s gesture.

Keeping one’s word

The Portuguese who came to India for trade were also involved in other criminal activities like taking Indians as captives for ransom or to use them labourers. Once Correa, as a leader of a trading party took among their captives an old Brahmin who did not had any capacity for work. The said old Brahmin offered Correa three pounds for his liberty and asked that as he had no friend he might be allowed to fetch the money himself. As Correa had no use of that old Brahmin he agreed after making the Brahmin swear by his sacred thread that he would not cheat Correa of the money he had promised. A few days later the old Brahmin to the amazement of Correa returned with half the money and eight fowls in lieu of the rest. It is said that Correa overwhelmed by the Brahmin’s honesty refused to take anything from him.

Compassion Unlimited

Non-violence is a character ingrained in Hindus. When the British East India Company was calling the shots, its servants who were ill paid used to shoot doves and pigeons for food. The Hindus would implore them not to do this and would as a last resort offer them money to spare the poor birds. This method of persuasion was so successful that it became a regular practice for insolvent young company servants who were in indebtedness and in order to supplement their meagre salary used to take out a gun near some rich Hindu’s house and talk loudly and ferociously about the number of pigeons they would massacre that afternoon till the Hindu ran out in tears in his eyes and money in his hands.

Probably the very idealism which Hindus possessed became a liability and the country had to face successive invasions, deaths, destruction, loot and rape of its citizen by waves of barbarians, jihadists and colonialists.

Perpetrators of India’s Partition

Today we find Muslim communalists in India posing as the protectors of Dalits and accusing the BJP as a communal party. Many Muslim leaders talk as though they (Muslims) did a great sacrifice by remaining in India and not going to Pakistan after partition. Many people in India especially the power-hungry politicians and majority of those in the media believe in this fabricated myth as in the history text books written by Marxist historians the blame for India’s partition is squarely put on the Hindu nationalists and the British and the Muslims are portrayed as the aggrieved and innocent. But a thorough examination of facts reveals that the very existence of anti-patriotism among the Indian Muslims was responsible for the partition of India. What the Britishers did was to exploit and aggravate the problem. But the problem was there even before the arrival of the Britishers.

The Genesis of Muslim Separatism

The separatist and intolerant tendencies of the Muslims in India were dormant even before the establishment of British rule in India. During the Medieval period, though the Hindu rulers and the people accorded a generous treatment to Muslims, they did not reciprocate the same. For example, the Zamorin of Calicut gave orders that in every family of fishermen in his dominion; one or more of the male members should be brought up as Mohammedans. The Hindu reformers and teachers emphasized that Hinduism and Islam were two different paths leading to the same goal. They preached that Ram and Rahim, Krishna and Karim, Ishwar and Allah, were different names of the same god. An earnest attempt was made to bring about unity between the two communities by deprecating priestly ritualism and formalities and emphasizing inner religious devotion. Not only were the foreign Muslims honoured and respected, but even Indian converts to Islam were shown regard and a treatment which was better than that meted out to lower castes among the Hindu themselves. The Muslims on the other hand, believed in their superiority and branded the Hindus as an inferior people, feeble and unprogressive. If a Hindu, who was converted to Islam, showed any inclination to revert to the religion of his forefathers, he was, according to the law of the Sultanate, put to death, and if any Hindu preached that Hinduism and Islam alike were true religions, he was liable to capital punishment. Moreover, according to the Quranic injunction it is not permissible for a Muslim male to marry a non-Muslim woman without first converting her to Islam; nor it was permissible for a Muslim woman to be given in marriage to a Hindu, unless he himself became a Muslim. Further, by the orders of the Quran, Muslims were prohibited from showing any respect or consideration for their non-Muslim ancestors. This Quranic injunction made it impossible for Indian Muslim, most of them who were converts from Hinduism, to have anything to do with their Hindu ancestors, or to have legitimate pride in the ancient history of this country.

Religious Fanaticism and Aggression

The Muslims of India though living in this country for centuries unmolested by the Hindus and having full religious freedom could not develop any friendly feeling with their Hindu counterpart or consider India as their motherland. The main reason for this was the religious fanaticism of the Muslims. The Muslims always insisted on their separate identity and never regarded themselves as Indians first. To them a Muslim foreigner was a nearer kith and kin than a Hindu neighbour. They were more sensitive to the misfortune of their Turkish co-religionists than to the murder of their Hindu brethren at Jallianwallabagh. The Indian Muslims searched for their national roots elsewhere and to some extent found them in the Afghan and Mughal periods of India. This search for their culture roots led the Indian Muslims to Islamic history and to the periods when Islam was a conquering and creative force in Baghdad, Spain, Constantinople, Central Asia and elsewhere. After the collapse of the Muslim power in India with the arrival of the British, the Indian Muslims began to derive their temporal and spiritual inspiration from the Turkish Empire and its Khalifa.

In contrast the Buddhist of China and South East Asia knew that their Lord (Buddha) was born in India, but never sought to glorify or emancipate India; they were exclusively concerned with national matters of the country in which they lived. Speaking on the Hindu-Muslim question, Nobel Laureate Rabindranth Tagore opined that it was almost impossible for Hindu-Muslim unity to become an accomplished fact as the Muslims could not confine their patriotism to any one country. The poet said that he had very frankly asked many Muslims whether in the event of any Mohammadan power invading India, they would stand side by side with their Hindu neighbours to defend their common land; he could not be satisfied with the reply he got from them. (The Times of India, April 18, 1924)

Spewed Venom on Hindus

All prominent Muslim intellectuals were rabid communalists who had nothing but contempt towards India and Hindus. In a speech on 16th March 1888, Syed Ahmed Khan said that the Hindus and Muslims were not only two nations but as two warring nations who could never lead a common political life should ever the British quit India. Mohammad Iqbal said to be the originator of a separate Muslim State was inspired by the spirit of Pan Islamism. He proposed the formation of a Muslim State in the North-West part of India. Mohammad Ali Jinnah considered as the father of Pakistan at the Lahore session of the Muslim League in March 1940 said that the Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literatures and it is a dream that Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality.

During the Khilafat movement the Moplahs (Muslims of Kerala) committed terrible atrocities against their Hindu neighbours which included ripping open the stomach of pregnant Hindu women; this in spite of the Hindus giving support to their movement. None of the leaders of the Muslim community condemned this action of the Moplahs and instead denied the atrocities and even tried to shift the blame on Hindus. The Muslims animosity and hatred against Hindus was such that they even did not spare Gandhiji. One of the leading men of the Khilafat Movement, Mohammed Ali made a statement in 1924 at Aligarh where he said that however pure Gandhi’s character may be, from his (Mohammed Ali) point of view he (Gandhiji) is inferior to any Mussalman even though that Mussalman may be of bad character. Many dismissed this statement as press fabrication. Later when he was asked to clarify Mohammed Ali reaffirmed that statement he had made. Mohammed Ali’s contempt for India was such that he preferred to be buried in Jerusalem rather in India.

The Muslim leaders were so intolerant that they found fault even with progressive leaders like Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Gandhiji just for being pious Hindus in their personal life, for taking pride in their historical and mythical heroes and for praising their motherland. Contrast this attitude of the Muslims with that of Hindu nationalists; who all believed in the concept of Akhand Bharat and proclaimed that all those who live in India were Hindus. It should be remembered that the formation of Hindu Mahasabha and R.S.S. took place only to counter the aggressive attitude of the fanatical Muslims who at the drop of a hat used to organise communal riots.

Appeasement Policy of the Congressmen

The Congress leaders from Gokhale to Gandhi presumed that by a policy of generosity they could win over the Muslims; but the Muslims demands was insatiable. The Muslim demanded certain rights which they were not prepared to concede to others. They wanted the right to convert Hindus to Islam but objected to the Shuddi movement of Arya Samaj (a movement to bring back converted Muslims to their ancestor’s faith). The Muslims demanded the right to self-determination but tried to deny the same right to minorities in Muslim majority provinces. The Muslims were against parliamentary system because they wanted to dominate the political life of the country and reimpose their rule in India. Deep inside their hearts the Congressmen knew the real character of the Muslims but acted as liberals in public as they wanted their support to fight against the Britishers. According to Gandhiji it was Hindu’s cowardice that had made the Mussalman a ‘bully’ leading to Hindu Muslim riots and the parents of middle class Hindus, themselves timid, continue to transmit their timidity to their children. (Harijan, January 6th, 1940) The Congressmen knew that it was impossible to live with Muslims peacefully in united India and hence agreed to partition. Sardar Patel’s argument was that if two brothers cannot stay together, they better divide. If they are forced to stay together, they tend to fight every day. It is better to have one clean fight and then separate than have bickering’s every day. C Rajagopalachari also supported partition and so also Ambedkar. But Ambedkar was of the view that there should be mutual transfer of population, Muslims living in India to migrate to Pakistan and Hindus living in Pakistan migrating to India so that Hindus could live in peace and free from Muslim aggression. But the Congress party under the leadership of Gandhiji and Nehru allowed the Muslims to stay behind in India to showcase their secular credentials thought they did not have such credentials. For instance, when Moti Lal Nehru’s daughter wished to marry Syed Hussain, the editor of a newspaper Independent, Moti Lal Nehru threatened that he would commit suicide. Gandhiji later persuaded Syed Hussain to forget about his marriage and to leave the country. Similarly, when Gandhiji’s son embraced Islam Gandhiji ostracized him and was reconciled to him only when he was brought back to the Hindu fold under Birla’s influence.

Reasons behind Muslims remaining in India

In the elections of 1945-46 the Muslim League captured an over whelming majority of Muslim seats in all the provinces which shows that Muslim living all over India supported Pakistan. For most of the gullible Muslims who supported partition of India, Pakistan meant the very place they lived. Only later they realised that they have to leave their home, job and start a new life if they had to go to their dream land Pakistan. Hence except the rich and powerful most of the Muslims stayed back. Moreover, the Muslims living in India were never threatened by the Hindus to convert nor their women’s honour outraged. Moreover, the mullahs had other sinister designs. The Jamait-ul-ulema was opposed to Pakistan, as it would affect its propagation of Islam. Maulana Madani delivering a speech on 19th September 1945 in Delhi on the occasion of the formation of the Azad Muslim Parliamentary Board to fight the last constitutional battle against the demand of Pakistan said that at the termination of the Muslim rule, there were about 25 million Muslims in India. Within a period of less than a century their number increased up to 100 million. The missionary work of the Jamait has a great share in this increase. The great object of an overall spread of Islam in the whole of India cannot be realized by appealing to passion of hatred and antagonism. It is the non-Muslims who are the field of action for the tabligh (spread of Islam) and form the raw material for this splendid activity.

Muslims are not friends of Dalits

With regards to the Muslim pretension of being friends of Dalits, way back in 1947 Ambedkar had cautioned Dalits to be vary of Muslims intentions. On November 27th 1947 in a press release Ambedkar said that it would be a fatal for the Scheduled Castes, whether in Pakistan or in Hyderabad to put their faith in the Muslims or the Muslim League. It has become a habit with the Scheduled Castes to look upon the Muslims as their friends simply because they dislike the Hindus. This is a mistaken view. The Muslim wanted the support of the Scheduled Castes but they never gave their support to the Scheduled Castes. Jinnah was all the time playing a double game. He was very insistent that the Scheduled Castes were a separate entity when it suited him but when it did not suit him he insisted with equal emphasis that they (Scheduled Castes) were Hindus. After the formation of Pakistan Ambedkar invited the Scheduled Castes to come to India as they were subjected to forcible religious conversion.

It is high time that Hindus become aware of the real facts that had taken place in our history, especially our younger generations and very importantly those working in the media and public life.


  1. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, Vol 8 and Vol 17- part I, Publishers- Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, Ministry of Social, Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, New Delhi

  1. P.D.Kaushik- The Congress Ideology and Programmes- 1920-1947, Allied Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1964

  1. Ram Gopal- Indian Muslims: A Political History (1858-1947), Asia Publishing House, 1964

  1. Ziya ul Hasan Faruqi, The Deoband School and the demand of Pakistan, Asia Publishing House, 1963.

  1. Gauba K.L., The Consequences of Pakistan, Lion Press, Lahore. 1946

  1. Srivastava A.L,Medieval Indian Culture, Shiva Lal Agarwala & Company, Agra

  1. B.L.Grover, S.Grover- A New Look at Modern Indian History, S.Chand & Company Ltd, New Delhi, 1993



The Hindu Holocaust

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 use 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 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 phase. 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 millions (60 lakhs) the death toll of the Hindus even by rough estimate could not be less than sixty millions (six crores).
  • While the Jewish holocaust was caused due to the injunction of Hitler as he believed that the Jews were of inferior race, the holocaust of the Hindus were 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.
  • Aftermath 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 exists in India for the present generation of Hindus to become aware of the horrors experienced by their forefathers. Even history text books 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 shara 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. 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 Hindu

Mass killings

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 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 condition 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 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 on of long crusade 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 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 was abductions, forced marriages, rapes, compulsory conversion to Islam of scores of Hindus. An estimate 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 pale 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 are always at the receiving end when communal riots break out. As Babasaheb Ambedkar writes the Muslims 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 the 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 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 be rebuild any old buildings which have been destroyed
  • Muslim travellers 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 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.

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 grand-son 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 over indulgence 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.

Forcible conversions

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.

Religious discrimination

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. Cart-loads 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 tolerated 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 Muslims (Hindu converts) 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
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