With the slow and steady invasion by Mahmud Ghazni in 1000A.D, the Indian subcontinent witnessed the impactful invasion of the Muslims that lasted for a number of centuries. The Muslim Conquests gradually took place from 12th to 16th centuries although the earlier Muslim conquests included invasions into modern Pakistan and Afghanistan as well. The contemporary records boasted a number of crimes that were glorified when committed upon Hindus in India. The massacres created by Muslims are unparalleled in history that is bigger than the Holocaust of any other invasion caused anywhere in the world. With the temples being raided, idols being smashed, women being abducted and raped, people being killed and taken as slaves, the reign by the Mughal emperors records a terrifying history.
More than the contributions made to architecture, food, art, and other fields, the bitterness of the reign is deeply rooted in the real history dominance created by the minority group. Muslims were seen arriving in the subcontinent via trade in Kerala during the reign of Prophet Muhammad. The reach gradually started spreading and invariably through further conquests. Until the late 17th century, the dynasties were seen to be politically dominant throughout most of the area on the subcontinent. The domination kept thriving strong until the rise of the Marathas. As Hinduism is not efficiently organized in a centralized manner similar to Catholicism, hence the coordination between the rulers was extremely limited with political variants prevailing throughout the continent.
The attitude of the Muslim rulers usually ranged from the intolerance of Mughal Emperor Akbar who had built and lead on to patronizing the temples to extreme intolerance of the great-grandson Aurangzeb. The attitudes towards tolerance and conversion were increasingly dominant among the Muslim leaders and less among the clerics. Hindus have majorly experienced historical and religious persecution along with systematic violence. The persecution usually took place in the form of forced conversions, demolition of temples, destruction of educational institutions, abduction of women, documented massacres, and many more atrocities.
Demolished the physical presence of Hindu temples across the country
Religious persecution is essentially defined as discrimination or violence caused by religious minorities which leads to actions that intend to deprive them of basic political rights. This rather forces them to live in the country as a second class citizen. With the Muslim conquest in India starting as early as 8th century AD, parts of the country were historically been subject to the Muslim rule from the early period of Muhammad bin Qasim until the fall of the Mughal Empire.
The Muslim rulers were seen destroying the Hindu culture, as much so as it went to wide destruction among the masses. The destruction of the educational institutions and temples, the killing of monks with the scattering of students led to a major decline in Hindu education. With the upright fall of the Hindu emperors, facets such as philosophy along with science and research faced some serious setbacks due to the lack of royal support, funding, and open environment. Islamic rule in India was destructive to the extent of demolishing the physical presence of Hindu temples in the country.
The present scenario witnesses the large and significant historical temples been found in southern India including Tirupati, Madurai, and Orissa. These significant regions were seen to be remaining outside of the Islamic rule for most of their reign. The demolition of the temples was so severe that the traditional heart of the country, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar along with Punjab and Sind do not comprise any significant temples in their vicinity.
Much of this destruction took place from 1000-1300 C.E, during the initial reign of the Muslims in India. These were destroyed with the primary motive of drawing an impact on Hindus and crushing them mentally to witness their worship places being destroyed. A lot of temples near the holy sites of Kannauj, Ayodhya, Thanesar, Allahabad, Varanasi, Vrindavan, and other places do not exist any longer. Some of the most significant destruction took place during the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni, hailing from Afghanistan raided India quite a few times. With an intention to ruining the prosperity of the country, the ruler even attached Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
The then state of affairs was deeply humiliating for the Hindus and left a strong impact in their minds. Along with Mahmud of Ghazni, there were many other Muslim rulers that demolished the temples including Allauddin Khilji, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and many others. In regards to demolishing them, the rulers went on to constructing mosques on the birthplace of several Hindu Gods. Aurangzeb leads his way to destroy numerous temples including one of the holiest temples of Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, an act that was followed by building a mosque on it. In addition to these, several Buddhist and Sikh sites were destroyed as well.
Forced mass conversion to Islam religion by the Mughal Emperors
Forced conversion refers to adoption to a distinct religion under forced circumstances. In an invasion of Kashmir Valley, Mahmud of Ghazni was seen plundering the valley while taking several prisoners and carrying out religious conversions. His later campaigns in Baran, Mathura, and Kannauj witnessed several conversions as well. Soldiers who were seen surrendering to him were soon converted to Islam. The city of Baran itself witnessed 10,000 people converting to Islam which even included the king. The atrocities were so severe that wherever Mahmud led on his journey, he forced people to convert to his religion.
The raids conducted by Muhammad Ghori and the generals brought a number of slaves and most of them were forced to be converted to Islam by blackmailing them for freedom. Aurangzeb was seen employing a number of means to encourage religious conversions to Islam. The wars witnessed several emperors being executed and was offered pardon only if they agreed to convert their religion. However, upon refusal, they were further tortured and killed. In this manner, Islam spread slowly like social fabric in Indian society.
Further, Hindu women also witnessed a lot of atrocities where several women were abducted in the wee hours of the daylight only to witness torture. The years witnessed a series of abductions and rapes perpetrated by the Muslim rulers on the Hindu women.
Conversion to Islam religion was typically depended on the following school of thoughts:
· Conversion was a combination of several things and was initially a result of violence, threat, or pressure created by another person.
· As a socio-cultural process of integration and diffusion caused over an extended time period into the dominant sphere of Muslim civilization
· The conversions further occurred due to non-religious reasons caused due to patronage and pragmatism including social mobility caused by the Muslim elite.
· The bulk of Muslims are a descendant of migrants from Arabs or Iranian plateau.
Re-imposition of Jizya- a tax system for the Non-Muslims
The re-imposition of the tax system, better known as jizyah saw its advent in the year 1679 by Aurangzeb and was regarded as the primary turning point in the history of the Mughal Empire in India. Hostility and discord between the two religions, the Hindus and the Muslims led to the growth of a spirit of particularism and was primarily the pivotal factor in the re-imposition of jizyah. Abolished by Akbar and been reintroduced by Aurangzeb, the jizya tax was ultimately levied on the Non-Muslims above all the duties. It functioned in three specific slabs that depended on the income with the rate ranging from 0.5% to 0.6%.
The reversion of the policy pertaining to religious toleration by Aurangzeb resulted in massive revolts among the Hindus in India. He must have been completely conscious of the dangerous path he was looking forward to, and well against every Hindu sentiment. However, he was still seen choosing the course and adhering to it that lead to unchallenged sovereignty. The acts paved by Aurangzeb was not what a righteous ruler would seek to do, rather was an outburst of the blind fanaticism. The religious policy had two major aspects as stated as the following:
· To promote Islam tents and to ensure that people lead their lives well
· To adopt measures related to anti-Hinduism
Jizya was one such measure that refers to a per capita yearly taxation that had been historically levied in the form of a financial charge on the non-Muslims of India. This rule was governed by Islamic law with an intention to fund the public expenditures of the state. The Muslim jurists required the dhimma community adults to pay the tax.
Banned Religious Customs and Rituals of Hindu Community
With regard to the attitudes of Muslim rulers towards the Hindus and Sikhs, they were extremely discriminatory. They had put a ban on the varied rituals and customs of the Hindu religion with a motive to subjugate them and forbid the rituals sacred to them. Hindus were exposed to a number of religious persecution and systematic violence. The architecture of the Hindu temples underwent a number of changes under the Muslim rulers while incorporating varied Islamic influences.
Being a ruthless fundamentalist, the Muslim emperors brought the lives of Hindus to a standstill by demolishing all necessary religious bandwidth including temples, practicing religious customs, and other rituals. The religious persecution can be defined as violence in regarding causing discrimination against the religious minorities that forced them to let go of their religious practices and habits. The atrocity was vehemently criticized and is a topic of criticism even today among eminent historians and critics across the world.
Voices of Muslim atrocities that happened during the expansive 700 years of Muslim invasion in the country are still prevalent in the minds of Hindus. The cries, nude marches, the pain still haunts every day. The massacre of the Hindu population started early and went on for the longest time in the history of India’s reign.
Also Read: The History Of Islam In India