Book Review: Meenakshi Jain’s definitive Ayodhya chronicle – Koenraad Elst

Dr. Koenraad Elst“Another chapter gives an exhaustive enumeration of all the testimonies … for the tradition that the Babri mosque had replaced a Hindu temple. It includes pre-colonial European testimonies as well as reports by colonial officers, but most numerous are the testimonies by local Muslims. It also cites the verdicts and internal correspondence of the magistrates, and some statements by politicians. They all prove that until the 1980s, it was a matter of consensus that the Babri mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple.” – Dr Koenraad Elst

Rama & Ayodhya by Meenakshi JainThere are very few publications giving a factual account of historical facts underlying the Ayodhya controversy. Yet this controversy has played a decisive role in recent Indian politics, giving the BJP the electoral breakthrough that ultimately brought it to power. Therefore, it ought to be a matter for surprise that the professional India-watchers and the academics concerned remain satisfied with the handful of very partial and highly partisan treatments available in print. But the prevailing poverty of information on at least the factual basis of the affair has now been remedied. This book Rama & Ayodhya by Dr. Meenakshi Jain (Aryan Books International, New Delhi 2013) will henceforth be required reading for anyone pronouncing on Ayodhya.>

Dr. Meenakshi Jain is a historian formerly with the Nehru Memorial Library, presently Associate Professor in History at Gargi College, University of Delhi. In this book she gives a very detailed enumeration of all the sources of a pre-Muslim veneration for the cult of Rama: inscriptions, sculptures and literary references. These already start in the pre-Christian age and soon cover all of India. Yet, the Marxist historians started the Ayodhya controversy in the late 1980s by claiming that there could not have been a pre-Muslim Rama temple in Ayodhya as Rama worship is of more recent vintage. This chapter concurs with the testimonies to Rama worship of the historians employed by the Vishva Hindu Parishad in the Government-sponsored scholars’ debate of 1990-91, except that it is far more complete.

Highly original is the chapter on Hindu testimonies of Muslim iconoclasm and the counter-measures which Hindu society took to prevent or remedy instances of iconoclasm. Particularly under Maratha rule, Hindu ownership of Muslim-occupied places was often restored. But this process was not easy and even in the Maratha domains far from complete. Often there was a factual Maratha but a nominal Moghul sovereignty to which lip-service had to be paid. Sometimes also, the local Brahmins were so fearful of a Muslim return to power that they preferred whatever humiliating makeshift arrangement they had negotiated to a full restoration of the erstwhile Hindu temple. Often idols were dug up from their shelters in the ground and rituals were prescribed in the event of their restoration. These testimonies supplement the Muslim testimonies of iconoclasm presented by Sita Ram Goel in his epoch-making book Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them. Significantly, the “eminent historians” do not touch the subject with a barge pole.

Babri Masjid, AyodhyaAnother chapter gives an exhaustive enumeration of all the testimonies, including statements made in court, for the tradition that the Babri mosque had replaced a Hindu temple. Here again, many instances will sound familiar to those who have closely followed the debate, but the list stands out by its completeness. It includes pre-colonial European testimonies as well as reports by colonial officers, but most numerous are the testimonies by local Muslims. It also cites the verdicts and internal correspondence of the magistrates, and some statements by politicians. They all prove that until the 1980s, it was a matter of consensus that the Babri mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple. It was shared by all parties concerned: Hindus, Muslims, European travellers as well as British administrators and scholars. Yet, in a very sudden reversal, a statement by the “eminent historians” from JNU in 1989, a statement which already was questionable at the time and has been proven false since, managed to make practically all media and all Indian and foreign observers turn against the established consensus and present it as the “Hindu fundamentalist myth”. I am proud to say I was an exception. But now, that consensus has been restored, and unwilling secularists still denying and lambasting it are fighting a fruitless rearguard action.

An even more damaging part for the secularists is Meenakshi Jain’s presentation of their own testimonies in court.  For the first time, we get to see how one after another, the secular “experts” collapse or lose their credibility when subjected to cross-examination. One after another admits under oath that he or she has no experience with or no professional competence on the history or archaeology of Ayodhya. Their bluff was enough to fool the mass of secular politicians and gullible press correspondents, but failed to stand up to critical questioning. The Indologists who have invoked those “experts” as arguments of authority, can somewhat restore their lost honour by publicly naming and shaming them and by apologizing for following in their footsteps and ridiculing the old consensus – rather than, at best, looking away and pretending there never was an Ayodhya controversy in the first place; or, worse, still keeping up the false allegations that once swept the concerned public opinion across the globe.

The book also discusses related court cases, the strange fact that a deity can act as a juridical person (though, like a minor, it has to be represented by a fully empowered citizen), and the archaeological findings as well as the unsavoury controversy around these. Ultimately, they all turn out to support the old assumption that the Babri mosque was built on a demolished Hindu temple.

Sri RamaOne point I disagree with, is her seeming acceptance of the VHP thesis that the Babri mosque replaced a “magnificent” Rama temple.  Some temples which lay out of the way of the population centres and military routes failed to attract attention and thus survived; the famous temples of Khajuraho come to mind. But Ayodhya became a provincial capital of the Delhi Sultanate, and it is simply unthinkable that a sizable Hindu temple, a place of pilgrimage moreover, could have survived the Muslim conquest and occupation. This scenario denies the large-scale and systematic Islamic iconoclasm which could not have spared a major place of Hindu pilgrimage; a deluded secularist could have thought it up, but those who believed the VHP was anti-Islamic will be surprised to learn of the whitewash of Islam implicit in the thesis that a Rama temple could subsist for centuries in a centre of Sultanate power. More likely, Babar found an existing mosque on the spot, in dilapidated condition (as a consequence of the collapse of the pre-Moghul Lodi dynasty) or, like in the recent past, under Hindu occupation. Only because he restored it as a mosque has it been called the Babri mosque. Early in the Ayodhya debate already, a theory surfaced that the “Babri” mosque had been built in the preceding Sultanate period, as testified by its building style.

On closer inspection, this position is truthfully described in some detail on p. 292-4 as coming from the pro-temple archaeologist R. Nath as well as from the pro-Babri (and otherwise also disgraced) historian Sushil Srivastava, but without evaluation. In the preface (p. xvii), she only says that Babar “allegedly” destroyed the Rama Janmabhumi temple, so the reader cannot find anything wrong in her presentation of the controversy. At any rate, the mosque called Babri Masjid was certainly built after the demolition of a Hindu temple, but it is not sure that this was done by Babar. Not everything in this case is known, but the core of the matter, viz. that Islamic iconoclasm motivated by Prophet Mohammed’s precedent destroyed a major Hindu temple, has been firmly established.

This is henceforth the standard book on the Ayodhya affair. Any so-called expert who now fails to refer to it, is not to be taken seriously.

» Dr. Koenraad Elst was born in Leuven, Belgium into a Flemish (Dutch-speaking Belgian) Catholic family. He graduated in Philosophy, Chinese Studies and Indo-Iranian Studies at the Catholic University of Leuven. During a stay at the Benares Hindu University, he discovered India’s communal problem and wrote his first book about the budding Ayodhya conflict which was published by Voice of India.

Proposed Ram Temple for Ayodhya

See also

Only 20 Hindu temples operational in Pakistan – Zahid Gishkori

Hindu Temple, Multan, Pakistan

Zahid Gishkori“Representatives of the Hindu community … wrote to all the chief ministers of the four provinces [about the occupied temples] but have not received a response yet…. [They] urged the government to hand over these religious places to the Hindu community to mitigate their resentment and fear of being forced to leave their homeland.” – Zahid Gishkori

Haroon Sayab DiyalOut of 428 minorities’ places of worship in the country, 408 have been converted into toy stores, restaurants, government offices and schools after 1990, a survey has found.

Another shocking figure disclosed in the survey conducted by the All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement (PHRM) was that only 20 Hindu temples out of the 428 places of worship are operational.

“The remaining places of worship have been leased for commercial and residential purposes by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), said PHRM Chairman Haroon Sarab Diyal. The 135,000 acres of land owned by around four million Hindus is now under ETPB’s control.

Representatives of the Hindu community also wrote to all the chief ministers of the four provinces but have not received a response yet, Diyal added. He urged the government to hand over these religious places to the Hindu community to mitigate their resentment and fear of being forced to leave their homeland.

Sharing documents with The Express Tribune, he revealed that Kali Bari Hindu Temple has been rented out to a Muslim party in Dera Ismail Khan. This historic temple is being used as Taj Mehal Hotel, he added.

The documents also allege that Frontier Constabulary officials, with the help of the ETPB, occupied the Shamshan Ghat, also in Dera Ismail Khan. The Hindu community is unable to cremate their dead because of the unavailability of Shamshan Ghat and is forced to bury them in a graveyard shared my members of other faiths.

Hindu temple turned into school in Kohat, PakistanA Hindu temple in district Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, is now a well-known sweets shop. Meanwhile, the Holy Shiv Temple in Kohat has been converted into a government primary school.

Government Girls High School, Peshawar Cantt, now stands where a historical Hindu temple used to be; other historic temples such as the Asamai temple has been closed down in the K-P capital.

Meanwhile, Guru Duwara Gali, a Sikh religious place, has been converted into a garments shop in Abbottabad.

In the federal capital, Islamabad, the Raam Kunde Complex of Temples at SaidPur Model village is now a ‘picnic site’. A second temple at Rawal Dam, Islamabad, has been shut down and the Hindu community believes that it is going to dilapidate day by day without being handed over to them.

In Punjab, a Hindu temple was demolished and reconstructed as a community centre in Rawalpindi, while in Chakwal, ten famous temples collectively known as Bhuwan are being used by the local Muslim community for commercial purposes, despite being handed over to the Hindus.

“Even if we have control of the temples, local residents dump oil drums, utensils and animals around them,” complained Diyal.

Sardar Muhammad YousafHowever, Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousaf assured that the Evacuee Trust has already been directed to gather the data pertaining to all religious places owned by minority communities. “At least, [all this] did not happen during our government’s tenure,” he said when he was informed of the survey’s findings. “I’ll take up this matter with minorities’ leaders. It’s a serious matter.”

A committee will be constituted to address these concerns, he routinely added. – The Express Tribune, 25 March 2014

» Zahid Gishkori is a reporter for the national desk of The Express Tribune in Islamabad who tweets @ZahidGishkori

Hindu Temple, Saidpur, Pakistan

ABOVE: Hindu temple without signage or symbols in Saidpur, Pakistan. BELOW: Hindu temple burned down by Muslim bigots in Larkana, Pakistan.

Hindu temple burned in Larkana, Pakistan

Pakistan Hindu Girls: Abducted, converted, then forcibly married!

Hindu temple burned by bigots in Pakistan – PTI

March 29, 2014: A Hindu temple has been desecrated and set on fire by unidentified persons in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, two weeks ahead of an annual fair at the holy site. The caretaker of the temple of Hindu deity Hanuman, in Latifabad town told police that three men came on Friday to offer prayers.

“But after offering prayers they first broke a statue of Hanuman and then sprayed kerosene oil and set it on fire,” said a police official. Darshan, the interim caretaker of the temple, said the attackers ran away when he called for help.

The miscreants had covered their faces, thus could not be identified, he added. The attack came weeks ahead of the April 14 fair organised at the temple every year. Around 500-600 scheduled caste Hindu families inhabit the locality the temple is situated in. They staged protests at several places in the city.

All minorities are terrorized in PakistanThe initial investigations suggest the attack is not related to any communal strife. The local Deputy Superintendent of Police and Station House Officer have been suspended and an FIR has been lodged against three unidentified attackers, said DIG Sanaullah Abbassi.

On March 15, a frenzied mob had set on fire a temple and a dharamshala [rest house] in Larkana over alleged desecration of a holy book, prompting authorities to impose a curfew in the area. Hindus are the largest minority in Pakistan, but make up only about two per cent of the country’s 180 million population.

Most Hindus live in Sindh province, where there have been several instances of alleged abduction and forced conversion of women from the minority community. – The Indian Express, 29 March 2014

Durga Puja: Iconoclasts break puja images in Maldha District of Mamata Pradesh – Gautam Sen

22 Chakra Club Durga Puja

On the night of October 4th some unidentified miscreants severely damaged the images of the Durga pratima and other deities in the Alipur village under Kaliachak PS of Muslim majority Maldah district. This Durga Puja is 65 tears old and is popularly known as “22 Chakra Club Durga Puja.” Hindus are agitated and aggrieved. The local village panchayat is of BJP. Elected pradhan is Smt. Sampa Karmaker. There are RSS shakhas too. On October 5th morning district level police officers visited the place. But astonishingly no FIR has been registered. The club committee has decided to perform this year’s puja with a new pratima which will be brought from Malda town. — Gautam Sen

Ganapathy with broken trunk.

Broken images of Hindu deities.

Broken images of Hindu deities.

Devi with broken arms.

Broken puja images.

Broken images of Hindu deities.

 

BJP invites blood-stained Pope to Goa for archcriminal Francis Xavier’s exposition in 2014 – Cithara Paul

Lady Journalist“‘St Francis is an icon for Goan Catholics. We would be proud to have the Pope in our land for the exposition. We are coordinating with the Church to make it happen,’ said a BJP leader belonging to the Catholic community, who has been assigned the task of dealing with the Church on the matter.” – Cithara Paul

Chief Minister of Goa Manohar ParrikarThe Church and the State are supposed to be natural opposites. However, the BJP’s opposition to Catholic evangelism has not stopped its government in Goa from joining hands with Catholics to lobby with the Vatican to get Pope Francis to make a “historic” visit to Goa in the upcoming election year.

If the Vatican says yes, the Pope will visit the BJP-ruled state in 2014 for the “exposition of Jesuit St Francis Xavier”, a priest who heralded Christianity in Goa in early 1500. Incidentally, he is said to have played a part in the brutal Inquisition of Goa [Xavier invited the Iquisition to Goa and is responsible for its horrific conduct there--Ed] in the 1560s, when Christianity was imposed using force and violence on the people. The Catholic Church arranges for its devotees to see the saint’s relics in a glass-topped silver casket once a decade, an event which is known as the “exposition”.

“We have earnestly requested his Holiness to visit the country for the exposition and have the active support of Goa’s ruling party in this endeavour. We hope that the Pope says yes,” said a priest with the Archdiocese of Goa who wishes to remain unnamed.

Pope Francis SJAccording to him, the BJP leadership has asked the Diocese to route the invitation through the Union Government as the state government, by itself, cannot invite the Pope as he happens to be a head of state. On its part, the saffron party is not keen on remembering the forced conversion issues associated with the evangelist. “St Francis is an icon for Goan Catholics. We would be proud to have the Pope in our land for the exposition. We are coordinating with the Church to make it happen,” said a BJP leader belonging to the Catholic community, who has been assigned the task of dealing with the church on the matter. “The visit may take place after the 2014 elections. However, the very fact that the Pope is visiting a BJP-ruled state will send good vibes to the minority Christian community,” he added. It will also work in favour of the BJP’s global image as the papal visit will hog international headlines.

When asked whether the Church is worried about the BJP extracting political mileage from the papal visit, the coordinating priest said that it has an open policy towards all political parties.

Francis Xavier SJIncidentally, this ‘openness’ between the Catholic Church and the BJP is not a standalone development, but part of a strategy to work in tandem. 

The BJP, it is learnt, has been consistently working on rebuilding its relationship with the Church and has even deputed a Kerala-based party sympathiser to arrange meetings with various   Christian leaders.

The party had a good rapport with the Church when it was in power at the Centre. However, the Church shifted its loyalty when the Sonia Gandhi-headed Congress party came to power. Now, the Church is again keen on reviving its equations with the BJP. “It has sensed that the Congress’ time is over and that the BJP’s chances are getting stronger,” said a Goa BJP leader.

This revived bonhomie was evident when the Church invited Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit Rev Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, the head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, when he had visited Kerala to take part in the Sivagiri Mutt’s silver jubilee event amid high voltage protests by the Left parties. The Cardinal, who was part of the conclave that Francis Xavier's headelected Pope Francis, was said to be ‘keen’ on meeting Modi. The plan was that Modi would drive from the airport to the Church headquarters.

Though the meeting had to be cancelled in the last minute due to ‘other preoccupations’ of the Gujarat CM, the BJP has been holding one-on-one meetings with Church leaders. 

The fact that Modi was the chief guest at the National Consultation of the YMCA Building in Ahmedabad last month is also seen as a pointer to the increased amiability between the Church and the BJP. – The New Indian Express, 30 June 2013

Francis Xavier SJ

Archcriminal Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier’s rotted remains are exposed for veneration at Bom Jesus Cathedral, Old Goa, every ten years. Xavier was an advocate of forced conversion and temple breaking and the first to propagate anti-brahmin communalism. He invited the Portuguese Inquisition to Goa, considered the most brutal and ruthless of all Church inquisitions, though he didn’t live to see the burning auto-da-fés, in which tens of thousands of Hindus perished, in action. The Cathedral of Bom Jesus, where Xavier’s remains are stored, is built over the ruins of the Saptakotishwara Shiva Temple destroyed by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

See also

200-Year-Old Kali Temple Torched: Hindus and Buddhists continue to be targeted in Bangladesh – Daily Star

Mother Kali
Kali Temple in  Rajoir area of Madaripur, Bangladesh, destroyed by Muslims.

Sword of Muslim MayhemUnidentified criminals set a 200-year-old Hindu temple ablaze at Rajoir upazila in Madaripur in the wee hours [of April 19th].

Police and locals said miscreants torched the Kali Mandir at Mahendradi village sometime after midnight.

Dadon Kanta, chairman of Haridashdi-Mahendradi upazila, suspects that Jamaat or BNP men are behind the attack.

Police, meanwhile, arrested Haridashdi-Mahendradi union unit BNP President Abul Kalam Azad yesterday afternoon suspecting his involvement in the incident.

Mofazzal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Rajoir Police Station, said they were yet to identify the attackers and that they were investigating the incident.

Uttam Banerjee, president of the temple managing committee, said locals rushed to the spot on seeing the flames but the temple had been badly burnt before they could bring the flames under control.

In December last year, miscreants vandalised some idols of the same temple, he added.

Temples of the Hindus in several districts came under attacks in the past few months.

Mahmuda Begum, a housewife who lives next to the temple, said they saw the temple on fire around 3:00 am and began to scream.

Harinath Bhattachariya, whose ancestors had donated the land for building the temple, said they were upset to see repeated attacks on the temple.

Mohadev Mridha, another villager, said, “My father and grandfather used to offer prayers at the 200-year-old temple that burnt down before our eyes.

Nasirul Islam, additional superintendent of police in Madaripur, visited the spot and said law enforcers were gathering information and were trying to catch the culprits. – The Daily Star, 20 April 2013

Buddhist temples and villages burned in Bangladesh.

Indian Buddhists protest attacks on temples and homes in Bangladesh.

Tipu Sultan: Villain or Hero – Sita Ram Goel

The death of Tipu Sultan

This anthology of Sita Ram Goel’s is dated as it concerns the 1989 Doordarshan historical drama The Sword of Tipu Sultan based on Bhagwan Gidwani’s historical fiction of the same name. It is reproduced here because it clarifies many events in Tipu’s life that are disputed  and covered up by motivated secular historians and intellectuals who wish to project Tipu as a freedom fighter and national hero. For articles concerning the current controversy surrounding the naming of a university in Srirangapatnam after Tipu Sultan,  see the Times of India news item and Sandeep’s excellent post It’s not to hate Tipu but to know the Truth. For more historical information on Tipu’s life and exploits see H.D. Sharma’s The Real Tipu and  Nilagriva’s review of Sharma’s book called Tipu Sultan Again. – Editor

Sita Ram Goel (1921-2003) is the patron of this website. “One can conclude quite safely that Nehruvian Secularism is a magic formula for transmitting base metals into twenty-four carat gold. How else do we explain the fact of Islam becoming a religion, and that too a religion of tolerance, social equality, and human brotherhood; or the fact of Muslim rule in medieval India becoming an indigenous dispensation; or the fact of Muhammad bin Qasim becoming a liberator of the toiling masses in Sindh; or the fact of Mahmud Ghaznavi becoming the defreezer of productive wealth hoarded in Hindu temples; or the fact of Muhammad Ghuri becoming the harbinger of an urban revolution; or the fact of Muinuddin Chishti becoming the great Indian saint; or the fact of Amir Khusru becoming the pioneer of communal amity; or the fact of Alauddin Khilji becoming the first socialist in the annals of this country; or the fact of Akbar becoming the father of Indian nationalism; or the fact of Aurangzeb becoming the benefactor of Hindu temples; or the fact of Sirajuddaula, Mir Qasim, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, and Bahadur Shah Zafar becoming the heroes of India’s freedom struggle against British imperialism or the fact of the Faraizis, the Wahabis, and the Moplahs becoming peasant revolutionaries and foremost freedom fighters?” – Sita Ram Goel

Tipu SultanSecularism per se is a doctrine which arose in the modem West as a revolt against the closed creed of Christianity. Its battle-cry was that the State should be freed from the stranglehold of the Church, and the citizen should be left to his own individual choice in matters of belief. And it met with great success in every Western democracy.

Had India borrowed this doctrine from the modem West, it would have meant a rejection of the closed creeds of Islam and Christianity, and a promotion of the Sanatana Dharma family of faiths which have been naturally secularist in the modern Western sense. But what happened actually was that Secularism in India became the greatest protector of closed creeds which had come here in the company of foreign invaders, and kept tormenting the national society for several centuries.

We should not, therefore, confuse India’s Secularism with its namesake in the modern West. The Secularism which Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru propounded and which has prospered in post-independence India, is a new concoction and should be recognized as such. We need not bother about its various definitions as put forward by its pandits. We shall do better if we have a close look at its concrete achievements.

Vijay Mallya owns Tipu's sword. It hasn't brought him very much luck though!Going by those achievements, one can conclude quite safely that Nehruvian Secularism is a magic formula for transmitting base metals into twenty-four carat gold. How else do we explain the fact of Islam becoming a religion, and that too a religion of tolerance, social equality, and human brotherhood; or the fact of Muslim rule in medieval India becoming an indigenous dispensation; or the fact of Muhammad bin Qasim becoming a liberator of the toiling masses in Sindh; or the fact of Mahmud Ghaznavi becoming the defreezer of productive wealth hoarded in Hindu temples; or the fact of Muhammad Ghuri becoming the harbinger of an urban revolution; or the fact of Muinuddin Chishti becoming the great Indian saint; or the fact of Amir Khusru becoming the pioneer of communal amity; or the fact of Alauddin Khilji becoming the first socialist in the annals of this country; or the fact of Akbar becoming the father of Indian nationalism; or the fact of Aurangzeb becoming the benefactor of Hindu temples; or the fact of Sirajuddaula, Mir Qasim, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, and Bahadur Shah Zafar becoming the heroes of India’s freedom struggle against British imperialism or the fact of the Faraizis, the Wahabis, and the Moplahs becoming peasant revolutionaries and foremost freedom fighters?

One has only to go to the original sources in order to understand the true character of Islam and its above-mentioned luminaries. And one can see immediately that their true character has nothing to do with that with which they have been invested in our school and college text-books. No deeper probe is needed for unraveling the mysteries of Nehruvian Secularism.

The Sword of Tipu SultanThis is not the occasion to go into the implications of this Secularism vis-a-vis India’s own spiritual vision, India’s own cultural wealth, India’s own national society, and India’s own native nationalism. I have dealt with this theme elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the other face of this Secularism is Hindu-baiting, which profession has been perfected by many scholars, scribes, and politicians, and has so far proved immensely profitable. I need not give the names. The stalwarts in this field are very well known.

The Bombay Malayalee Samajam has, therefore, rendered a great service in providing a test case, that of Tipu Sultan, for exposing the true character of Nehruvian Secularism. To the best of my knowledge, this Secularism has never faced a challenge such as was posed before it by the scholars and men of public spirit whom we meet in the pages of this book, Tipu Sultan: Villain or Hero? The wealth of first-hand source materials presented in the articles that comprise this book, portray not only the base metal that was Tipu Sultan but also the components of that alchemy which has transmuted him into twenty-four carat gold. VOICE OF INDIA is proud that it should have the privilege of publishing this study of an arch villain being sold as a great hero.

Tipu Sultan's mechanical toy tiger attacking an Englishman.The fight for truth which is described in this book, has proved fruitful. The Statesman dated May 24, 1993 reports: “Once again Tipu Sultan has become a controversial topic in Karnataka. First it was the serial produced by Sanjay Khan which attracted criticism and protests from people, now it is the bicentenary of his death which has created quite a stir. … the Karnataka Board of Wakfs has organized the bicentenary, Urs-e-Sharif, of Hazrat Tipu Sultan Shaheed (R.A.), from May 21 to May 23 this year…. This has led to speculation that the Government will again spend several lakhs of rupees in 1999 to observe the 200th death anniversary of Tipu. The State Government has, however, remained tightlipped over the issue and left the Board of Wakfs to answer these questions.” Had there been no challenge to the serial, the State Government would not have remained tightlipped. It would have immediately untied its purse strings, and joined hands with the Board of Wakfs for singing hymns of praise to the Hazrat and the Shaheed.

Jama Masjid in Srirangapatnam: Built on the ruins of a destroyed Shiva temple.What the Hazrat and the Shaheed stood for is described by Mir Hussain Ali Kirmani in his book, Nishan-i-Haidari, which he completed in AD 1802, three years after Tipu’s death. Kirmani writes: ‘It happened one day that a Fakir (a religious mendicant), a man of saint-like mind, passed that way, and seeing the Sultan gave him a life-bestowing benediction, saying to him, ‘Fortunate child, at a future time thou will be the king of this country, and when thy time comes, remember my words – take this temple and destroy it, and build a masjid in its place, and for ages it will remain a memorial of thee.’ The Sultan smiled, and in reply told him that ‘whenever, by his blessings, he should become a Padishah, or King, he would do as he (the Fakir) directed’. When, therefore, after a short time, his father became a prince, the possessor of wealth and territory, he remembered his promise, and after his return from Nagar and Gorial Bunder, he purchased the temple from the adorers of the image in it (which after all was nothing but the figure of a bull, made of brick and mortar) with their goodwill, and the Brahmins, therefore, taking away their image, placed it in the Deorhi Peenth, and the temple was pulled down, and the foundations of a new Masjid raised on the site….” That is the Masjid-i-Ala or Jama Masjid standing in Srirangapatanam on the site of a Shiva temple. One need not comment on Kirmani’s statement that Tipu “purchased the temple from the adorers of the image … with their goodwill”. It is not unoften that terror has produced this sort of goodwill in the minds of its helpless victims. – Preface to Tipu Sultan: Villain or Hero

1. The Sword of Tipu Sultan – V.M. Korath

Tipu Sultan who succeeded his father, considered it his primary duty to continue this unfinished jîhâd started by Hyder Ali Khan. However, the Islamic fanaticism of Tipu Sultan was much worse than that of his father. His war-cry of jîhâd was “Sword” (death) or “Cap” (forcible conversion). This makes very clear the character of Tipu Sultan’s military operations started in 1783. The intensity and nature of sufferings which the Hindu population had to bear during the nightmarish days of Padayottakkalam (military regime) were vividly described in many historical records preserved in the royal houses of Zamorin and Kottayam (Pazhassi), Palghat Fort and East India Company’s office. There is no apparent reason to disbelieve them. It is absurd and against reason to describe all this evidence as being forged for the purpose of creating enmity between Hindus and Muslims. READ MORE HERE …

2. Religious Intolerance of Tipu Sultan – P.C.N. Raja

When that Brahmin Prime Minister, Purnaiyya, presented to Tipu Sultan 90,000 soldiers, three crore rupees, and invaluable ornaments made of precious stones, he was tempted to rule as the Emperor of the South India. Tipu did not consider the Hindu rulers of Maharashtra, Coorg and Travancore or the Muslim ruler Nizam as impediments. He was afraid of only the British. He had convinced himself that he could easily become the Emperor of South India if he could somehow vanquish the British. Because of his intense and-British attitude, the so-called progressive and secular historians have made a vain attempt to paint Tipu Sultan as a great national hero. … Opposition to foreign powers need not always be due to love for one’s country. To achieve his selfish goal and to face the British forces, Tipu Sultan sought the assistance of another foreign power, the French, who were manoeuvring to establish their own domination in the country. How is it possible, therefore, for Tipu Sultan to be an enemy of foreign forces when he himself had sought help from Napoleon who was then a prisoner in St. Helena Island and also the French King, Louis XVI? READ MORE HERE …

3. Tipu’s Own Testimony – C. Nandagopalan Menon

William Kirkpatrick, who compiled many of Tipu’s letters, writes in his book, Selected Letters of Tipoo Sultan (published in 1811): “Tipoo knew his will to be a law the propriety of which … would never be questioned or doubted by any of his slaves…. He probably measured the sentiments in question by a different standard from that with which we estimate them. Thus the various murders and acts of treachery which we see him directing to be carried into execution, were not criminal, but on the contrary just, and even meritorious, in his eyes.” … “The Koran taught him that it was not necessary to keep faith with infidels, or the enemies of the true religion, in which case it was not difficult for him to persuade himself that it was right to include all who opposed or refused to cooperate in his views for the extension of that religion; or, in other words, for his own aggrandisement.” … This observation of Kirkpatrick is found to be valid when one goes through the letter of January 19, 1790, sent to Budruz Zuman Khan by Tipu himself. It says: “Don’t you know I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam? I am determined to march against that cursed ‘Raman Nair’ very soon (reference is to Rama Varma Raja of Travancore State who was popularly known as Dharma Raja). Since I am overjoyed at the prospect of converting him and his subjects to Islam, I have happily abandoned the idea of going back to Srirangapatnam now” (K.M. Panicker, Bhasha Poshini, August, 1923). READ MORE HERE …

4. Tipu Sultan: As Known in Kerala – Ravi Varma

The ruins of hundreds of Hindu temples destroyed, and heavy concentration of Mappilas, all along the invasion routes of Tipu’s army, are standing and conclusive proofs of the brutalities and atrocities committed by the fanatic Tipu Sultan in Kerala. He was, all through, waging a cruel Islamic war against the Hindu population of Kerala, with a large Muslim army under Muslim field commanders ably assisted by the French, and with powerful field-guns and European troops. The period of Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali Khan from 1766 to 1792 is the darkest period in Kerala history for all types of Islamic atrocities including forcible conversions. In spite of all these, historical documents and records are being deliberately suppressed, distorted and falsified in order to project this fanatic Tipu Sultan of Mysore as a liberal and magnanimous Muslim king. Worse still, this Muslim tyrant from Mysore is being glorified and projected as a national hero like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Rana Pratap Singh, and Pazhassi Raja of Kerala. To perpetuate the memory of this tyrant Tipu Sultan, the Central Government has released a postal stamp. Doordarshan has sanctioned a video serial to glorify the deeds and life of Tipu Sultan. And a special rehabilitation programme is being worked out for the benefit of the descendants of Tipu Sultan in Calcutta. It is an insult to our national pride and also to the Hindus of Kerala. At this rate, who knows that tomorrow our secular Government and the motivated Muslim and Marxist historians of Jawaharlal Nehru, Aligarh and Islamia universities will not project as national heroes villains like Mahmud Ghaznavi who destroyed the Somnath Temple, Babar who destroyed the Sri Rama Temple at Ayodhya, and Aurangzeb who destroyed the Vishwanath Temple at Kashi and the Sri Krishna Temple at Mathura? What a shame! What a degradation! READ MORE  HERE …

5. Scandalous Tele-Serial of Tipu Sultan – Prakash Chandra Asdhir

The secularist tribe in this country must realise that no useful purpose will be served by putting secular garbs on these barbaric rulers who were only usurpers. Such actions only revive the centuries-old wounds and embitter the relations between Hindus and Muslims. The whole exercise, it should be realised, runs against the process of National Integration envisaged by the Government and the people of this country. Ghaznavis, Ghuris, Baburs, Aurangzebs, Hyder Alis and Tipu Sultans can only carry the coffin of secularism and nothing more. Let the souls of these tyrants lie in their graves and be raised only on the day of ‘Qiamat’ (Doomsday) when Allah will put them on trial for their crimes against humanity. READ MORE HERE …

6. Tipu Sultan: A Fanatic Muslim – Ravi Varma

It was Tipu Sultan and his fanatic Muslim army who converted thousands of Hindus – Thiyyas, Nairs and tribals – to Islam all along the invasion route, and occupied areas in North Kerala, Coorg, Mangalore and other parts of Karnataka. Besides, over 8,000 Hindu temples were desecrated and/or destroyed by his Muslim army in Malabar, Cochin, Coorg, Mysore and Tamil Nadu. … Tipu Sultan was only a usurper. He fought a war of expansion against Cochin and Travancore after running over the lands of a weak Zamorin. He could not succeed in his ambition and became a cripple because of the joint resistance by Cochin and Travancore armies. Simply because Tipu Sultan died in Srirangapatnam while escaping in the night from the fort which had been surrounded by the British army, does not make him a national hero. He fought an imperialist war in South India seeking the help of the French Army. … To project Tipu Sultan as a national hero is not only a distortion of South Indian history, but also an insult to the seventy crore Hindus, especially of South India. READ MORE HERE …

7.  Tipu Sultan and Doordarshan – K. Govindan Kutty

Some years later – well before Gidwani came out with his eulogy [of Tipu Sultan] – there was a still more breathtaking re-evaluation of Tipu’s exploits in Malabar. Its author, C.K. Kareem, a former editor of the Kerala State Gazetteer, went so far as to show Tipu as a philosopher and a great sufi, who viewed the whole cosmos as a mosque! Kareem’s “finding” was that Tipu came to be painted black just because those who wrote history in Kerala were the descendants of people who had to suffer hardships after his advent. His argument was that the repression represented by Tipu was not for the sake of Islam but to govern a newly-conquered territory. … The Hindu view of Tipu’s conquest of Malabar has not changed in spite of Balakrishnan’s and Kareem’s attempt to make him out as a sufi and a reformer. The historical view taken by K.M. Panicker and K.P. Padmanabha Menon and showing Tipu as a tormentor, continues to hold sway. READ MORE HERE …

8. The Tele-Serial of Tipu Sultan – P. Parameswaran

Tipu Sultan had not only given some financial assistance to a few temples including Sringeri Mutt, but he had also destroyed hundreds of temples and carried out forcible mass conversions as well. He had also indulged in mass murders. Letters and orders directing to do such horrible things were also issued by Tipu Sultan. If such things are deliberately suppressed, that will amount to injustice to the population who were the victims of his cruel atrocities. Even if it is only for promoting communal harmony, blatant lies should not be deliberately propagated. For the promotion of communal harmony, let people produce novel, poetry or even cinema. In the case of history, acknowledging the mistakes would be the best way to correct the mistakes; and not to whitewash the mistakes. If it is not done, that will result in emotional outbursts. READ MORE HERE …

9. A Letter to Shri P. Upendra – P.C.C. Raja

As a member of the Zamorin’s family my blood gets boiled even today when I hear the very mention of Tipu’s name because the worst crimes and the worst sort of atrocities were really perpetrated by him on the Hindus of Malabar. In fact the Zamorin of Calicut and the members of his family are well known for their religious tolerance and catholicity of outlook as would be seen from recorded history. But wholesale conversion of all people into Islam was indulged in by Tipu Sultan at gun point. Those who did not obey had either to flee away from the country or to face the bayonet. No other option was available according to recorded history. It will be useful if you will kindly refer to the writings of Prof K.V. Kristina Iyer as well as Malayalam Encyclopedia (Volume 7, published by Sahithyaka Pravasthaka Sahakarna Sangham Ltd., Kottayam, p. 996, para 3, column 1). The several inhuman, barbarous, and brutal acts done at the behest of Tipu Sultan cannot be summarised even in a thousand printed pages. In the circumstances, a cryptic statement that Tipu’s controversial roles are not purported to be dealt with in the serial can hardly assuage the feelings of the victims and would hardly render justice to the injured, their families, and their successors. Kindly also refer to the report of a joint Commission of Bengal and Bombay appointed to inspect the state and conditions of the province of Malabar in the years 1792 and 1793 (Volume 1, paras 52, 64, 67) kept in the National Archives of India, Janpath, New Delhi. A bare perusal of the above report will convince anyone that Tipu Sultan, far from being a benevolent ruler, was one of the worst fanatics, and more inhuman than even the Nazis. READ MORE HERE …

10. The Agitation Against the Tipu Sultan Serial – B.N. Jog

Three years back, one news item which appeared on the pages of many dailies attracted my attention. The news item was about a big studio-fire in Bangalore, where shooting of Shri Sanjay Khan’s tele-serial, “The Sword of Tipu Sultan” was in progress. Scores of young artistes died and many others were injured in the studio-fire. While going through the press report, I was amazed to read that “in this TV serial Tipu Sultan is being depicted as a great warrior and secular benevolent ruler”. Tipu Sultan who forcibly converted thousands of Hindus and Christians to Islam, hanged to death hundreds of innocent women and children, and destroyed and looted scores of temples and churches in Malabar, Cochin, Coorg, Dindigal, Mangalore and Coimbatore, a secular, fair-minded ruler! Hypocrisy also must have some limit. READ MORE  HERE …

11. History of Legal Battle Against the TV Serial The Sword of Tipu Sultan – Madhavrao D. Pathak

The legal fight against the shameful and motivated attempt of Doordarshan and the Government of India to project the usurper king of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, as a national hero, was a long, expensive and frustrating ordeal. According to authentic and documented history of the period, Tipu Sultan had hanged to death and sold as slaves a large number of innocent men, women, and children; looted and destroyed and burnt down hundreds of Hindu temples and Christian churches; and circumcised and converted to Muhammadanism thousands of Hindus and Christians in Mangalore, Coorg, Coimbatore, Dindigal, and Kerala. He had made territorial concessions to the French whose help he sought to fight the British. He had also sent emissaries to Islamic countries – Afghanistan, Iran, and Turky – inviting them to conquer the whole of North India for the glory and spread of Islam. But the Doordarshan serial on Tipu Sultan, based on a novel entitled The Sword of Tipu Sultan by Bhagwan Gidwani, was full of deliberate distortion, fabrication, and suppression of recorded facts of history with the object of glorifying a villain as a national hero, a benevolent ruler, and a paragon of all virtues. READ MORE HERE …

Louis XVI receives the ambassadors of Tipu Sultan in 1788.

» Sita Ram Goel  (1921–2003) was a historian, author and publisher who founded the Hindu publishing house Voice of India. He along with philosopher Ram Swarup sought to correct the warped and distorted histories of India and Hinduism that had been put out by European indologists, Christian missionaries and their secular Indian Marxist camp-followers.

Islam In India: William Dalrymple’s jihad negationism – Koenraad Elst

Taj Mahal

Dr. Koenraad ElstIn several articles and speeches since at least 2004 (“Trapped in the ruins” in The Guardian, 20 March 2004), and especially in the commotion provoked by Girish Karnad’s speech in Mumbai (autumn 2012), William Dalrymple has condemned Nobel prize winner V.S. Naipaul for writing that the Vijayanagar empire was a Hindu bastion besieged by Muslim states. The famous writer has taken the ruins of vast Vijayanagar as illustration of how Hinduism is a “wounded civilization”, viz. wounded by Islam. Dalrymple’s counter-arguments against this conflictual view of Indian history consist in bits of Islamic influence in the Vijayanagar kings’ court life, such as Hindu courtiers wearing Muslim dress, Hindu armies adopting techniques borrowed from the Muslims, styles of palace architecture and the Persian nomenclature of political functions; and conversely, elements of Hinduism in Muslims courts and households, e.g. the Muslim festival of Muharram looking like the Kumbha Mela of the Hindus.

V.S. NaipaulSecularism and Vijayanagar

As is all too common in Nehruvian-secularist discourse, Dalrymple’s analysis of the role of Islam in India stands out by its superficiality. Whenever a Hindu temple or a Muslim festival is found to employ personnel belonging to the opposite religion, secular journalists go gaga and report on this victory of syncretism over religious orthodoxy. Secular historians including Dalrymple do likewise about religious cross-pollination in the past.

It is true that Hindus are eager to integrate foreign elements from their surroundings, from Hellenistic astrology (now mis-termed “Vedic astrology”) in the past to the English language and American consumerism today. So Hindu courts adopted styles and terminology from their Muslim counterparts. They even enlisted Muslim mercenaries in their armies, so “secular” were they. We could say that Hindus are multicultural at heart, or open-minded. But that quality didn’t get rewarded, except with a betrayal by their Muslim regiments during the battle of Talikota (1565): they defected to the enemy, in which they recognized fellow-Muslims. When the chips were down, Hindu open-mindedness and syncretism were powerless against their heartfelt belief in Islamic solidarity. In September 2012, Dalrymple went to Hyderabad to praise the city and its erstwhile Muslim dynasty as a centre of Hindu-Muslim syncretism; but fact is that after Partition, the ruler of Hyderabad opted for Pakistan, against multicultural India. When the chips are down, secular superficiality is no match for hard-headed orthodoxy.

William DalrympleMuslims too sometimes adopted Hindu elements. However, it would be unhistorical to assume a symmetry with what the Hindus did. Hindus really adopted foreign elements, but most Muslims largely just retained Hindu elements which had always been part of their culture and which lingered on after conversion. Thus, the Pakistanis held it against the Bengalis in their artificial Muslim state (1947-71) that their language was very Sanskritic, not using the Arabic script, and that their womenfolk “still” wore saris and no veils. The Bengali Muslims did this not because they had “adopted” elements from Hinduism, but because they had retained many elements from the Hindu culture of their forefathers. “Pakistan” means the “land of the pure”, i.e. those who have overcome the taints of Paganism, the very syncretism which Dalrymple celebrates. Maybe it is in the fitness of things that a historian should sing paeans to this religious syncretism for, as far as Islam is concerned, it is a thing of the past.

A second difference between Hindus and Muslims practicing syncretism is that in the case of Muslims, this practice was in spite of their religion, due to a hasty (and therefore incomplete) conversion under duress and a lack of sufficient policing by proper Islamic authorities. If, as claimed by Dalrymple, a Sultan of Bijapur venerated both goddess Saraswati and prophet Mohammed, it only proves that he hadn’t interiorized Mohammed’s strictures against idolatry yet. In more recent times, though, this condition has largely been remedied. Secular journalists now have to search hard for cases of Muslims caught doing Hindu things, for such Muslims become rare. Modern methods of education and social control have wiped out most traces of Hinduism. Thus, since their independence, the Bengali Muslims have made great strides in de-hinduizing themselves, as by widely adopting proper Islamic dress codes. The Tabligh (“propaganda”) movement as well as informal efforts by clerics everywhere have gone a long way to “islamize the Muslims”, i.e. to destroy all remnants of Hinduism still lingering among them.

Hindu iconoclasm?

Another unhistorical item in the secular view of Islam in India is the total absence of an Islamic prehistory outside India. Yet, all Muslims know about this history to some extent and base their laws and actions upon it. In particular, they know about Mohammed’s career in Arabia and seek to replicate it, from wearing “the beard of the Prophet” to emulating his campaigns against Paganism.

Dalrymple, like all Nehruvians, makes much of the work of the American Marxist historian Richard Eaton. This man is famous for saying that the Muslims have indeed destroyed many Hindu temples (thousands, according to his very incomplete list, though grouped as the oft-quoted “eighty”), but that they based themselves for this conduct on Hindu precedent. Indeed, he has found a handful of cases of Hindu conquerors “looting” temples belonging to the defeated kings, typically abducting the main idol to install it in their own capital. This implies a very superficial equating between stealing an idol (but leaving the worship of the god concerned intact, and even continuing it in another temple) and destroying temples as a  way of humiliating and ultimately destroying their religion itself. But we already said that secularists are superficial. However, he forgets to tell his readers that he has found no case at all of a Muslim temple-destroyer citing these alleged Hindu precedents. If they try to justify their conduct, it is by citing Mohammed’s Arab precedents. The most famous case is the Kaaba in Mecca, where the Prophet and his nephew Ali destroyed 360 idols with their own hands. What the Muslims did to Vijayanagar was only an imitation of what the Prophet had done so many times in Arabia, only on a much larger scale.

From historians like Eaton and Dalrymple, we expect a more international view of history than what they offer in their account of Islamic destructions in India. They try to confine their explanations to one country, whereas Islam is globalist par excellence. By contrast, Naipaul does reckon with international cultural processes, in particular the impact of Islam among the converted peoples, not only in South but also in West and Southeast Asia. He observes that they have been estranged from themselves, alienated from their roots, and therefore suffering from a neurosis.

So, Naipaul is right and Dalrymple wrong in their respective assessments of the role of Islam in India. Yet, in one respect, Naipaul is indeed mistaken. In his books Among the Believers and Beyond Belief, he analyses the impact of Islam among the non-Arab converts, but assumes that for Arabs, Islam is more natural. True, the Arabs did not have to adopt a foreign language for religious purposes, they did not have to sacrifice their own national traditions in name-giving; but otherwise they too had to adopt a religion that wasn’t theirs. The Arabs were Pagans who worshipped many gods and tolerated many religions (Jews, Zoroastrians, various Christian Churches) in their midst. Mohammed made it his life’s work to destroy their multicultural society and replace it with a homogeneous Islamic one. Not exactly the syncretism which Dalrymple waxes so eloquent about.

Colonial “Orientalism”?

Did Muslims “contribute” to Indian culture, as Dalrymple claims? Here too, we should distinguish between what Islam enjoins and what people who happen to be Muslims do. Thus, he says that Muslims contributed to Indian music. I am quite illiterate on art history, but I’ll take his word for it. However, if they did, they did it is spite of Islam, and not because of it. Mohammed closed his ears not to hear the music, and orthodox rulers like Aurangzeb and Ayatollah Khomeini issued measures against it. Likewise, the Moghul school of painting shows that human beings are inexorably fond of visual art, but does not disprove that Islam frowns on it.

Also, while some tourists fall for the Taj Mahal, which Naipaul so dislikes, the Indo-Saracenic architecture extant does not nullify the destruction of many more beautiful buildings which could have attracted far more tourists. In what sense is it a “contribution” anyway? Rather than filling a void, it is at best a replacement of existing Hindu architecture with new Muslim architecture. Similarly, if no Muslim music (or rather, music by Muslims) had entered India, then native Hindu music would have flourished more, and who is Dalrymple to say that Hindu music is inferior?

Another discursive strategy of the secularists, applied here by Dalrymple, is to blame the colonial view of history. Naipaul is said to be inspired by colonial Orientalists and to merely repeat their findings. This plays on the strong anti-Westernism among Indians. But it is factually incorrect: Naipaul cites earlier sources (e.g. Dalrymple omits Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan traveler who only described witnessed Sultanate cruelty to the Hindus with his own eyes) as well as the findings of contemporaneous archaeologists. Moreover, even the colonial historians only repeat what older native sources tell them. The destruction of Vijayanagar is a historical fact and an event that took place with no colonizers around. Unless you mean the Muslim rulers.

Negationism

In the West, we are familiar with the phenomenon of Holocaust negationism. While most people firmly disbelieve the negationists, some will at least appreciate their character: they are making a lot of financial, social and professional sacrifices for their beliefs. The ostracism they suffer is fierce. Even those who are skeptical of their position agree that negationists at least have the courage of their conviction.

In India, and increasingly also in the West and in international institutions, we are faced with a similar phenomenon, viz. Jihad negationism. This is the denial of aggression and atrocities motivated by Islam. Among the differences, we note those in social position of the deniers and those in the contents of the denial. Jihad deniers are not marginals who have sacrificed a career to their convictions, on the contrary; they serve their careers greatly by uttering the politically palatable “truth”. In India, any zero can become a celebrity overnight by publishing a condemnation of the “communalists” and taking a stand for Jihad denial and history distortion. The universities are full of them, while people who stand by genuine history are kept out. Like Jawaharlal Nehru, most of these negationists hold forth on the higher humbug (as historian Paul Johnson observed) and declare themselves “secular”.

Whereas the Holocaust lasted only four years and took place in war circumstances and largely in secret (historians are still troubled over the absence of an order by Adolf Hitler for the Holocaust, a fact which gives a handle to the deniers), Jihad started during the life of Mohammed and continues till today, entirely openly, proudly testified by the perpetrators themselves. From the biography and the biographical collections of the Prophet (SiraAhadith) through medieval chronicles and travel diaries down to the farewell letters or videos left by hundreds of suicide terrorists today, there are literally thousands of sources by Muslims attesting that Islam made them do it. But whereas I take Muslims seriously and believe them at their word when they explain their motivation, some people overrule this manifold testimony and decide that the Muslims concerned meant something else.

The most favoured explanation is that British colonialism and now American imperialism inflicted poverty on them and this made them do it, though they clothed it in Islamic discourse. You see, the billionaire Osama bin Laden, whose family has a long-standing friendship with the Bush family, was so poor that he saw no option but to hijack some airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center. What else was he to do? And Mohammed, way back in the 7th century, already the ruler of Medina and much of the Arabian peninsula, just had to have his critics murdered or, as soon as he could afford it, formally executed. He had to take hostages and permit his men to rape them; nay, he just had to force the Jewish woman Rayhana into concubinage after murdering her relatives. If you don’t like what he did, blame Britain and America. Their colonialism and imperialism made him do it! Under the colonial dispensation which didn’t exist yet, the Muslim troops who were paid by the Vijayanagar emperor had no other option but to betray their employer and side with his opponents who, just by coincidence, happened to be Muslim as well. And if you don’t believe this, the secularists will come up with another story.

Conclusion

India is experiencing a regime of history denial. In this sense, the West is more and more becoming like India. There are some old professors of Islam or religion (and I know a few) who hold the historical view, viz. that Mohammed (if he existed at all) was mentally afflicted, that Islam consists of a manifold folie à deux (“madness with two”, where a wife supports and increasingly shares her husband’s self-delusion), and that it always was a political religion which spread by destroying other religions. But among the younger professors, it is hard to find any who are so forthright. There is a demand for reassurance about Islam, and universities only recruit personnel who provide that. Indeed, many teach false history in good faith, thinking that untruth about the past in this case is defensible because it fosters better interreligious relations in the present. Some even believe their own stories, just like the layman who is meant to lap them up. Such is also my impression of William Dalrymple. – Koenraad Elst, 30 December 2012

The King's Balance at Vijayanagar

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