Friday, March 26, 2021

Hindu Muslim Conflicts in India

" India an exception where neither Islam has been overpowered by India, nor has India been absorbed into Islamic world".

Hindustan, "the Golden Bird of the East" was an attraction point for looting by the invaders from the 

West. Invaders were eying on Gold and ornaments stored in the treasures of Kings and Temples. And capturing beautiful women and slaves/workers too. 

Islam first came in Hindustan through Arab traders at Malabar Coast in 629-630 AD. Mappilas were first community to convert to Islam through trade connections and missionary activities by Arabs. 

Islam arrived in North Hindustan through Turkish invasions from 6th century. Sindh was conquered by Muhammad bin Quadim in early years of 7th Century and Mahmud of Ghazni conquered Punjab and carried 17 raids over Hindustan during (997-1030) facilitated expansion of Islam over Hindustan.

Muhammad Ghori was the first Muslim invader, made settlement in Hindustan after defeating Prithviraj Chauhan in battle of Tarain in 1192. He posted his slave Qutbuddin Aaibak, the founder of Slave Dynasty in Hindustan, as Sultan. It was a reward given by his master Muhmmad Ghori, in leu of his services to him.

There were many but two Big Names; Allauddin Khalji and Aurangzeb have been marked in  history for mass conversion of Hindu to Islam by force or through taxing.

Started from 7th century, with few converts, the population of Muslims goes on increasing and reached to 482 million in 2013 in the Sub Continent. If the population of Indonesia and other south eastern countries be added, the figure will go further up. Ajlafs (convert) are now in majority compare to the few Ashrafs (original).

Many reasons may be noted for the journey of Islam in the subcontinent. But the major are:

Many did convert due to attraction to the principles of Islam: One God, no idol worship, all are equal, brotherhood, peaceful and simple group prayers, Jumna (Friday) namaz of praying for others, community bonding, discipline, regularity, charity, no liquor - no gambling - no prostitution - no interest, etc. But many by following means too:

1. Religion of King/Sultan was the religion of the people. People used to follow King's  religion for living in harmony, carry activities and  businesses smoothly, get placement in army, etc. (Buddhist Monks used to target the King to convert first, i.e., Jain Ashoka was converted to Buddhism)

2. Sword (fear) was used to convert common people from Hindu to Muslim. The permission to kill kafirs (non believer) created fear of death, compelled many to accept Islam. Muhammad Ghazani was the first to use sword for conversion in Hindustan.

3. Jajia tax imposed by Sultans, converted many poor people indirectly to avoid taxing.

4. Caste system of Hindus forced the lower caste to accept Islam to gain equality.

5. Conservative approach of Hinduism not to allow return into the system once the person converted. Jinnah's grand father Punjabhai Thakkar prayed the villagers of Paneli (Upleta) to allow him to get back in Hinduism. But he was not allowed. A social boycott forced him to go back to Karachi and we faced the consequences through Muhammad Ali Jinnah. 

6. Some were converted simply by spitting over face as the other Hindus stopped them to recognised as Hindu after the event. Social boycott forced them to sit to the other side.

7. Prohibition of widow marriage, compelled some of the higher castes young widows to change religion to get marry.

8. Few might have changed to enjoy Biryani and Firani! I was watching a TV programmes in Srinagar Government Guest House, last year. In one of the programmes of mass meeting, I saw a young Hindu boy saying "I like the khir of Eid that my mother is not able to make, therefore changing religion". The Maulavi asked for his faith in the principles of Islam, which he had accepted without much understanding, looking at his facial expressions, I presumed.

When I asked a question about converts to one of my friends, he said, "if Mughal history would have added one more Aurangzeb after him, I may be Muslim today".

After Delhi was sworn in by Muslim rulers, slowly the power of Muslim Rulers spread all over the country. Hindu population started living in harmony with the new compulsions. The language of Governments/Courts was Persian (and Dari of Afghanistan), started adopting Hindi words. 

The language of people Hindi started accepting Persian words. And at the end with the deep contemplation,  a new, beautiful and sweet language Urdu was born. The script followed was Arabic.

It was a "Shikh Wall" that blocked the speed of Islaminisation of India. Two of the Gurus, Guru Arjundev and Guru Teg Bahadur sacrificed their lives and Guru Gobind Singh fought brave fights against Islami attacks. Shikh Religion gave a room to the people to follow good parts of both the religions. It became confluence of Hindu and Musalman. Similarly, it was a "Hindu Wall of India" that further reduced the speed and spread of Islam over Buddhist Nations. 

Marathi Movement did have some impact during Maratha rule in Delhi, but it was British rule in Hindustan that opened up the suppression of majority people and with the British faith in democracy, it became an instrument of major Hindu - Muslim mass conflict.

The first step was initiated by British Raj in India by replacing Persian to Hindustani and was made co-official along with English. Hindi replaced Hindustani as official language of British in 1881. 'Devanagari' script replaced Persian script. For calming down the unrest of people during mutiny of 1857, British introduced constitution of  Councils. The election of councillor on basis of number initiated the rule of majority, opened a way for Hindus to become power after a long suppression. Muslims, understood the fate, started educational reforms and as the freedom struggle moving a head with majority Hindus, founded Muslim League to safeguard their minority community against majority Hindus. That rested with the partition of India.

Once a person converted, his family and race will add on the numbers as birth is the path of religion thereafter. However, it is to note that people did change the religion but they carry the culture, customs and caste system in some form, even after centuries. While greeting, Sindhi Muslims in Sindh of Pakistan prefer Namaskar to shack hand (which Punjabi Muslims don't like). Coconut fruit and a Sagun Coin are part of many customs in Muslim. 

Ashrafs (original) are superior to Ajlafs (convert from Hinduism). Sayyed, Shaikh, Khan, Pathan, Mansuri, Qurashi, Memon, Ansari (Julaha), etc., many surnames (castes - kafa'a) carry their social status of inequality amongst Muslim. All are equal before Allah but when it comes to marriages, social inequality acts. Caste system was born from the profession get transferred to the children became now a mark by birth in the subcontinent. 

Now, Pakistan is passing through a cultural identity crisis. Bangladeshi continued with Bangala language, maintain their culture and continued with their migration to India. But in Pakistan, people tried to follow Urdu language in place of Punjabi and Sindhi, and now not been able to merge with the Ashrafs (Arabs-Original). They are right match with Indian culture, whom they are fighting and trying to join mismatch Arab culture who do not accept them as equal. A cultural fight will one day make them return to Hindustan!!! Some do believe that Pakistan with Provincial Autonomy under Union of India was a better option than a Partition, but can't say under the threat of Army.

Was partition of Hindustan a full stop of a conflict or a coma?

Democratic rule has stopped change of religion by force. Education has made people more aware about the teachings of their religion. Now, no King can compel, no money can buy, no service can change the religion of an individual except the "Love Affairs".

The modern world is moving towards 'No Religion', more interested in present that the future after death. Religious places are places for 'old' and tourist spots for 'young'. "No Religion" is an answer to bring peace in the world, some believe. 

Do you agree?

Punamchand 
29 November 2013

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