Dharmaphobia and Indophobia
- See also Indophobia and dharmaphobia in Pakistan and Indophobia and dharmaphobia outside South Asia
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- 1 Stereotypes used against Hindus
- 2 Historical instances of anti-Hindu views
- 3 In South Asia
- 4 Anti-Hindu crimes
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Notes
- 7 External links
- 8 Further reading
Stereotypes used against Hindus
Individuals in the Indian diaspora have begun to protest that Western scholars "distort their religion and perpetuate negative stereotypes". Historically, such stereotypes were promulgated during the British Raj by several Indophobes in South Asia as a means to aggrandize sectarian divisions in Indian society, part of the divide and rule strategy employed by the British. Such allegations have seen a rise with the Hindu right using them for politics.
The Indian Caste System, a social stratification system in South Asia which has been criticized for its discriminatory problems, is often seen as a uniquely 'Hindu' issue rather than a cultural one. This is a common stereotype, as adherents of other religions such as Islam and Christianity have kept the practice of caste segregation in India (for details, see Caste system among South Asian Muslims).
Anti-Hindu attacks often accuse Hindus of being "blasphemous", "devil worshippers", "heathens" to name a few for the practice of idolatry and polytheism (except among those Hindus belonging to monistic or henotheistic traditions). Certain missionaries and evangelical organisations have been known to denigrate Hindu deities and theology as "evil" or "demonic".
Historical instances of anti-Hindu views
During Islamic Rule in the Indian Subcontinent
Parts of India have historically been subject to Islamic rulers from the period of Muhammad bin Qasim to the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire, as well as smaller kingdoms like the Bahmani Sultanate and Tipu Sultans kingdom of Mysore. Islamic law demands that when under Muslim rule, polytheists or "infidels" are to be regarded as dhimmis (from the Arab term) ahl-al-dhimma.
Under the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Muslim cleric Ziauddin Barrani wrote several works, such as the Fatwa-i-Jahandari, which gave him a reputation as a "fanatical protagonist of Islam" and wrote that there should be "an all-out struggle against Hinduism", advocating a militant and dogmatic religiosity. He developed a system of religious elitism to that effect.
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After being defeated in the first Anglo-Mysore war he started dealing cordially with the Hindus in his kingdom so as to avoid insurrection and get support in the face of the British power. Malayalam writer V.V.K. Valath has claimed In 1780 CE he declared himself to be the Padishah or Emperor of Mysore and H. D. Sharma writes that in his correspondence with other Islamic rulers such as Shah Zaman of Afghanistan, Tippu Sultan used this title and declared that he intended to establish an Islamic Empire in the entire country, along the lines of the Mughal Empire which was at its nadir during the period in question. C. K. Kareem notes that Tippu Sultan issued an edict for the destruction of Hindu temples in Kerala. The archaeological survey of India has listed three temples which were destroyed during the reign of Tipu Sultan. These were the Harihareshwar Temple at Harihar which was converted into a mosque, the Varahswami Temple in Srirangapatnam and the Odakaraya Temple in Hospet.
Tipu got Runmust Khan, the Nawab of Kurool, to launch a surprise attack upon the Kodava Hindus (also called Coorgs or Coorgis) who were besieged by the invading Muslim army. 500 were killed and over 40,000 Kodavas fled to the woods and concealed themselves in the mountains. Thousands of Kodava Hindus were seized along with the Raja and held captive at Seringapatam (Srirangapatna). They were also subjected to forcible conversions to Islam, death, and torture.
In Seringapatam, the young men who were forcibly circumcised were incorporated into the Ahmedy Corps, and they formed eight Risalas or regiments. The actual number of Kodavas that were captured in the operation is unclear. The British administrator Mark Wilks gives it as 70,000, Historian Lewis Rice arrives at the figure of 85,000, while Mir Kirmani's score for the Coorg campaign is 80,000 men, women and child prisoners. In a letter to Runmust Khan, Tipu himself stated:
"We proceeded with the utmost speed, and, at once, made prisoners of 40,000 occasion-seeking and sedition-exciting Coorgis, who alarmed at the approach of our victorious army, had slunk into woods, and concealed themselves in lofty mountains, inaccessible even to birds. Then carrying them away from their native country (the native place of sedition) we raised them to the honour of Islam, and incorporated them into our Ahmedy corps."The following is a translation of an inscription on the stone found at Seringapatam, which was situated in a conspicuous place in the fort:
"Oh Almighty God! dispose the whole body of infidels! Scatter their tribe, cause their feet to stagger! Overthrow their councils, change their state, destroy their very root! Cause death to be near them, cut off from them the means of sustenance! Shorten their days! Be their bodies the constant object of their cares (i.e., infest them with diseases), deprive their eyes of sight, make black their faces (i.e., bring shame)."
In 1788, Tipu ordered his governor in Calicut Sher Khan to begin the process of converting Hindus to Islam, and in July of that year, 200 Brahmins were forcibly converted and made to eat beef. Mohibbul Hasan, Prof. Sheikh Ali, and other historians cast great doubt on the scale of the deportations and forced conversions in Coorg in particular, and Hasan says that the British versions of what happened were intended to malign Tipu Sultan, and to be used as propaganda against him. He argues that little reliance can be placed in Muslim accounts such as Kirmani's Nishan-e Haidari; in their anxiety to represent the Sultan as a champion of Islam, they had a tendency to exaggerate and distort the facts: Kirmani claims that 70,000 Coorgis were converted, when forty years later the entire population of Coorg was still less than that number. According to Ramchandra Rao Punganuri the true number of converts was about 500. The portrayal of Tipu Sultan as a religious bigot is disputed, and some sources suggest that he in fact often embraced religious pluralism.
Tipu sent a letter on 19 January 1790 to the Governor of Bekal, Budruz Zuman Khan. 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 Rama Varma (Rajah of Travancore) very soon. 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 Srirangapatanam now."
After such atrocities, Tipu's view towards Hinduism changed and its recorded his seeking reverential advice from the then Sringeri pontiff Sri Sacchidananda Bharati III (1770–1814). The Sringeri Sharada Peetham has in its safe possession some 24 letters written by the Sultan who also sent a silver palanquin and a pair of silver chauris to the Sarada Temple as well. Tipu had donated many silver vessels and gold ornaments to Sri Ranganatha swamy at Seringaptnam which is at stone's throw from his palace.
While no scholar has denied that, in common with most rulers of his period, Tippu's campaigns were often characterized by great brutality, some historians claim that this was not exclusively religiously motivated, and did not amount to a consistent anti-Hindu policy. Brittlebank, Hasan, Chetty, Habib and Saletare amongst others argue that stories of Tippu's religious persecution of Hindus and Christians are largely derived from the work of early British authors such as Kirkpatrick and Wilks, whom they do not consider to be entirely reliable. A. S. Chetty argues that Wilks’ account in particular cannot be trusted.
Although the attitudes of Muslim ruler Tippu Sultan have been criticized as being anti-Hindu by Indian historians, left-wing historians note that he had an egalitarian attitude towards Hindus and was harsh towards them only when politically expedient. Former IAS Officer, Praxy Fernandes has mentioned in his book that Tipu Sultan displayed reverence to the head of the Hindu Shringeri Mutt, by
Irfan Habib and Mohibbul Hasan argue that these early British authors had a strong vested interest in presenting Tippu Sultan as a tyrant from whom the British had "liberated" Mysore. This assessment is echoed by Brittlebank in her recent workS. Chandrasekar, Travel writer & Photographer, 2010, records from his family genealogy (Visanasola, Kuthsa gothra, Telugu Konaseema Dravidlu):
"One of my anscestors, Someswara Iyer was mistakenly imprisoned by Tipu in 1789. He was a pure saivite and an innocent Brahmin. He refused to eat or drink in prison due to shame and humiliation. Soon he dropped and fell unconscious. That night Lord appeared in the dream of Tipu and ordered him to release the poor Brahmin. Tipu apologized and repented for the sin committed. Someswaran was too fragile and couldn't move. Tipu asked his court physician to smear battered curd-rice paste throughout the body twice a day. His skin pores absorbed them. On the third day it was said that he regained energy to speak. Tipu granted few villages and an emerald Shivalinga to Someswaran Iyer as a token of respect. The lands and lingam have vanished over the centuries. Henceforth Someswara Iyer was called Nawab Somayajulu (wife Subbulakshmi). They belonged to the Konaseema Telugu speaking kuthsa-gothra Brahmin family of south India Konaseema dravidlu, kuthsa gothram, Visanasola telugu brahmins. Someswaran was the 8th descendent from Madhyarjunam Subbarao who was a minister at the court of King Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire c.1500AD (approx.)"
Historian C. Hayavadana Rao wrote about Tippu in his encyclopaedic work on the History of Mysore. He asserted that Tippu's "religious fanaticism and the excesses committed in the name of religion, both in Mysore and in the provinces, stand condemned for all time. His bigotry, indeed, was so great that it precluded all ideas of toleration". He further asserts that the acts of Tippu that were constructive towards Hindus were largely political and ostentatious rather than an indication of genuine tolerance.
During Portuguese rule in Goa
During the Portuguese rule in Goa, thousands of Hindus were coerced into accepting Christianity by passing laws that made it difficult to practice their faith, harassing them under false pretences or petty complaints and giving favourable status to converts and mestiços in terms of laws and jobs. The Goa Inquisition was directed against backsliding converts (that is, former Hindus and Muslims who had converted to Christianity), and 57 Goans were executed over a period of three hundred years, starting in the year 1560. The inquisition was proposed by St. Francis Xavier
During the British Raj
During the British rule of the Indian subcontinent, several evangelical Christian missionaries spread anti-Hindu propaganda as a means to convert Hindus to Christianity. Examples include missionaries like Abbe J.A. Dubois, who wrote "Once the devadasis' temple duties are over, they open their cells of infamy, and frequently convert the temple itself into a stew. A religion more shameful or indecent has never existed amongst a civilized people."
In Charles Grant's highly influential "Observations on the ...Asiatic subjects of Great Britain" (1796), Grant criticized the Orientalists for being too respectful to Indian culture and religion. His work tried to determine the Hindu's "true place in the moral scale", and he alleged that the Hindus are "a people exceedingly depraved".
In South Asia
Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits
In the Kashmir region, approximately 300 Kashmiri Pandits were killed between September 1989 to 1990 in various incidents. In early 1990, local Urdu newspapers Aftab and Al Safa called upon Kashmiris to wage jihad against India and ordered the expulsion of all Hindus choosing to remain in Kashmir. In the following days masked men ran in the streets with AK-47 shooting to kill Hindus who would not leave. Notices were placed on the houses of all Hindus, telling them to leave within 24 hours or die. The proportion of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir valley has declined from about 15% in 1947 to, by some estimates, less than 0.1% since the insurgency in Kashmir took on a religious and sectarian flavor.
Many Kashmiri Pandits have been killed by Islamist militants in incidents such as the Wandhama massacre and the 2000 Amarnath pilgrimage massacre. The incidents of massacring and forced eviction have been termed ethnic cleansing by some observers.Cite error: Closing
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The anti-Hindu decree was seen as reminiscent of the Nazi Germany law requiring Jews to wear an identifying yellow badge. The order prompted international outrage, and was denounced by the Indian and U.S. governments, as well as by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. Following international pressure, the Taliban regime dropped the badge plans in June 2001.
In July 2010, around 60 members of the minority Hindu community in Karachi were attacked and evicted from their homes following an incident of a Hindu youth drinking water from a tap near an Islamic mosque. A leader of the Karachi Hindu community, Amarnath Motumal, states that at least 20 to 25 girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will every single month. In January 2014, a policeman standing guard outside a Hindu temple at Peshawar was gunned down. Pakistan's Supreme Court has sought a report from the government on its efforts to ensure access for the minority Hindu community to temples - the Karachi bench of the apex court was hearing applications against the alleged denial of access to the members of the minority community.
In Pakistan, anti-Hindu sentiments and beliefs are widely held among many sections of the population. There is a general stereotype against Hindus in Pakistan. Hindus are regarded as "miserly". Also, Hindus are often regarded as "Kaffirs" (lit. "unbelievers") and blamed for "causing all the problems in Pakistan". Islamic fundamentalist groups operating within Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan have broadcast or disseminated anti-Hindu propaganda among the masses, referring to Hindus as "Hanood" ('Hindu' is singular and Hanood is plural form in Urdu) blaming them for "collaborating with the foreigners" against the people of the region.
The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), a coalition of Islamist political parties in Pakistan, calls for the increased Islamization of the government and society, specifically taking an anti-Hindu stance. The MMA leads the opposition in the national assembly, held a majority in the NWFP Provincial Assembly, and was part of the ruling coalition in Balochistan. However, some members of the MMA made efforts to eliminate their rhetoric against Hindus.
The public school curriculum in Pakistan was Islamized during the 1980s. The government of Pakistan claims to undertake a major revision to eliminate such teachings and to remove Islamic teaching from secular subjects. The bias in Pakistani textbooks was also documented by Y. Rosser (2003). She wrote that
in the past few decades, social studies textbooks in Pakistan have been used as locations to articulate the hatred that Pakistani policy makers have attempted to inculcate towards their Hindu neighbours", and that as a result "in the minds of generations of Pakistanis, indoctrinated by the 'Ideology of Pakistan' are lodged fragments of hatred and suspicion.
A study by Nayyar & Salim (2003) that was conducted with 30 experts of Pakistan's education system, found that the textbooks contain statements that seek to create hate against Hindus. There was also an emphasis on Jihad, Shahadat, wars and military heroes. The study reported that the textbooks also had a lot of gender-biased stereotypes. Some of the problems in Pakistani textbooks cited in the report were:
Insensitivity to the existing religious diversity of the nation"; "Incitement to militancy and violence, including encouragement of Jihad and Shahadat"; a "glorification of war and the use of force"; "Inaccuracies of fact and omissions that serve to substantially distort the nature and significance of actual events in our history"; "Perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially women and religious minorities, and other towards nations" and "Omission of concepts ... that could encourage critical self awareness among students". (Nayyar & Salim 2003). The Pakistani Curriculum document for classes K-V stated in 1995 that "at the completion of Class-V, the child should be able to "Understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan. [p. 154]
A more recent textbook published in Pakistan titled "A Short History of Pakistan" edited by Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi has been heavily criticized by academic peer-reviewers for anti-Hindu biases and prejudices that are consistent with Pakistani nationalism, where Hindus are portrayed as "villains" and Muslims as "victims" living under the "disastrous Hindu rule" and "betraying the Muslims to the British", characterizations that academic reviewers fond "disquieting" and having a "warped subjectivity".
Ameer Hamza, a leader of the banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, wrote a highly derogatory book about Hinduism in 1999 called "Hindu Ki Haqeeqat" ("Reality of (a) Hindu"); he was not prosecuted by the Government.
The Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) resulted in one of the largest genocides of the 20th century. While estimates of the number of casualties was 3,000,000, it is reasonably certain that Hindus bore a disproportionate brunt of the Pakistan Army's onslaught against the Bengali population of what was East Pakistan. An article in Time magazine dated 2 August 1971, stated "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim military hatred." Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in a report that was part of United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations testimony dated 1 November 1971, "Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad". In the same report, Senator Kennedy reported that 80% of the refugees in India were Hindus and according to numerous international relief agencies such as UNESCO and World Health Organization the number of East Pakistani refugees at their peak in India was close to 10 million. Given that the Hindu population in East Pakistan was around 11 million in 1971, this suggests that up to 8 million, or more than 70% of the Hindu population had fled the country.The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sydney Schanberg covered the start of the war and wrote extensively on the suffering of the East Bengalis, including the Hindus both during and after the conflict. In a syndicated column "The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored", he wrote about his return to liberated Bangladesh in 1972. "Other reminders were the yellow "H"s the Pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army" (by "Muslim army", meaning the Pakistan Army, which had targeted Bengali Muslims as well), (Newsday, 29 April 1994).
Pakistan Studies curriculum issues
According to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute report 'Associated with the insistence on the Ideology of Pakistan has been an essential component of hate against India and the Hindus. For the upholders of the Ideology of Pakistan, the existence of Pakistan is defined only in relation to Hindus, and hence the Hindus have to be painted as negatively as possible' A 2005 report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace a non profit organization in Pakistan, found that Pakistan Studies textbooks in Pakistan have been used to articulate the hatred that Pakistani policy-makers have attempted to inculcate towards the Hindus. 'Vituperative animosities legitimise military and autocratic rule, nurturing a siege mentality. Pakistan Studies textbooks are an active site to represent India as a hostile neighbour' the report stated. 'The story of Pakistan's past is intentionally written to be distinct from, and often in direct contrast with, interpretations of history found in India. From the government-issued textbooks, students are taught that Hindus are backward and superstitious.' Further the report stated 'Textbooks reflect intentional obfuscation. Today's students, citizens of Pakistan and its future leaders are the victims of these partial truths'.
An editorial in Pakistan's oldest newspaper Dawn commenting on a report in The Guardian on Pakistani Textbooks noted 'By propagating concepts such as jihad, the inferiority of non-Muslims, India's ingrained enmity with Pakistan, etc., the textbook board publications used by all government schools promote a mindset that is bigoted and obscurantist. Since there are more children studying in these schools than in madrassahs the damage done is greater. ' According to the historian Professor Mubarak Ali, textbook reform in Pakistan began with the introduction of Pakistan Studies and Islamic studies by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1971 into the national curriculum as compulsory subject. Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq under a general drive towards Islamization, started the process of historical revisionism in earnest and exploited this initiative. 'The Pakistani establishment taught their children right from the beginning that this state was built on the basis of religion – that's why they don't have tolerance for other religions and want to wipe-out all of them.'
According to Pervez Hoodbhoy, a physics professor at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, the "Islamizing" of Pakistan's schools began in 1976 when an act of parliament required all government and private schools (except those teaching the British O-levels from Grade 9) to follow a curriculum that includes learning outcomes for the federally approved Grade 5 social studies class such as: 'Acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan,' 'Make speeches on Jihad,' 'Collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and national guards,' and 'India's evil designs against Pakistan.'
===Bangladesh==political leaders frequently fall back on "Hindu bashing" in an attempt to appeal to extremist sentiment and to stir up communal passions. In one of the most notorious utterances of a mainstream Bangladeshi figure, the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, while leader of the opposition in 1996, declared that the country was at risk of hearing "uludhhwani" (a Bengali Hindu custom involving women's ululation) from mosques, replacing the azaan (Muslim call to prayer) (e.g., see Agence-France Press report of 18 November 1996, "Bangladesh opposition leader accused of hurting religious sentiment").
Even the supposedly secular Bangladesh Awami League is not immune from this kind of scare-mongering. The current prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, was alleged to have accused Bangladeshi Hindu leaders in New York of having divided loyalties with "one foot in India and one in Bangladesh". Successive events such as this have contributed to a feeling of tremendous insecurity among the Hindu minority.
The fundamentalists and right-wing parties such as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiya Party often portray Hindus as being sympathetic to India, making accusations of dual loyalty and allegations of transferring economic resources to India, contributing to a widespread perception that Bangladeshi Hindus are disloyal to the state. Also, the right wing parties claim the Hindus to be backing the Awami League.
As widely documented in international media, Bangladesh authorities have had to increase security to enable Bangladeshi Hindus to worship freely following widespread attacks on places of worship and devotees.
On 28 February 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the Vice President of the Jamaat-e-Islami to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, Hindu houses were burnt into ashes and Hindu temples were desecrated and set on fire. While the government has held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities, the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has denied any involvement. The minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement to start suo motu investigation into the attacks. US Ambassador to Bangladesh express concern about attack of Jamaat on Bengali Hindu community. The violence included the looting of Hindu properties and businesses, the burning of Hindu homes, rape of Hindu women and desecration and destruction of Hindu temples. According to community leaders, more than 50 Hindu temples and 1,500 Hindu homes were destroyed in 20 districts. On May 5, 2014, A mob of almost 3,000 attacked Hindu households and a temple in eastern Bangladesh after two youths from the community allegedly insulted the Islamic prophet, Muhammad on Facebook.
Recent anti-Hindu violence
There have been a number of more recent attacks on Hindu temples and Hindus by Muslim militants. Prominent among them are the 1998 Chamba massacre, the 2002 fidayeen attacks on Raghunath temple, the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack allegedly perpetrated by Islamic terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the 2006 Varanasi bombings (supposedly perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Toiba), resulting in many deaths and injuries.
- If a scholar were to refute the very existence of Allah..... it would be called Islamophobia. .... An analogous situation exists in the way an attiutde gets classified as anti-Semitic. Hindus should be alarmed by the existence of a double standard in Western academics, because the same sensitivity and adhikara to speak for our tradition is not granted to Hindus. ..... We need to define a level playing field for characterizing a work as Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Hinduphobia, etc.
- The Battle for Sanskrit by Rajiv Malhotra
- Radhakrishnan describes the state of dejection he experienced as a student at Madras Christian College: 'I was strongly persuaded of the inferiority of the Hindu religion to which I attributed the political downfall of India.... I remember the cold sense of reality, the depressing feeling that crept over me, as a causal relation between the anaemic hindu religon and our political failure forced itself on my mind.'
- Radhakrishnan, 'The Spirit of Man', cited in Rajiv Malhotra, Indra's Net, p. 316.
There were some other developments, major and minor, such as that of the mosque at Kanpur. We need not go into all of them here. What matters is that, taken together, they provide a key to an understanding of the anti-climax staged by the residues of Islamic imperialism not long after they had circulated the Lal Ishtahãr (Red Pamphlet) all over Bengal in the wake of the first Muslim League meeting at Dacca in December 1906. The Ishtahãr was a handiwork of Samiullah, the Nawab of Dacca, and his henchmen who had hosted the delegates to the meeting of delegates from all over India. It was obvious that the anti-Congress crusade launched by Sir Syed Ahmed in the closing years of the 19th century was being converted quite fast into an all-out anti-Hindu jihãd. The Ishtahãr had proclaimed in wringing tones: “Ye Musalmans, arise, awake! Do not read in the same schools with the Hindus. Do not touch any article manufactured by the Hindus. Do not give any employment to the Hindus. Do not accept any degrading office under a Hindu. You are ignorant, but if you acquire knowledge you can send all Hindus to Jahannum (Hell). You form the majority of the population in this province. The Hindu has no wealth of his own and has made himself rich only by despoiling you of your wealth. If you become sufficiently enlightened, the Hindus will starve and soon become Mohammedans.”6
Early in 1907, Muslim hooligans had let loose a reign of terror against defenceless Hindus in the countryside of East Bengal. H.W. Nevison who visited India as a representative of The Manchester Guardian had reported: “Priestly Mullahs went through the country preaching the revival of Islam and proclaiming to the villagers that the British Government was on the Mohammedan side, that the Law Courts had been specially suspended for three months and no penalty would be exacted for violence done to the Hindus, or for the loot of Hindu shops or the abduction of Hindu widows. A Red Pamphlet was everywhere circulated maintaining the same wild doctrine… In Comilla, Jamalpur and a few other places, rather serious riots occurred. A few lives were lost, temples desecrated, images broken, shops plundered, and many widows carried off. Some of the towns were deserted, the Hindu population took refuge in any pukka houses, women spent nights hidden in tanks, the crime known as ‘group-rape’ increased and throughout the country districts, there reigned a general terror, which still prevailed at the time of my visit.”7 6 Cited in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume XI, Bombay, 1978, p.54.
7 H.W. Nevison, The New Spirit in India, London, 1908, p. 192 and 193.
DHIMMI But so far as the Hindus are concerned, this period was a prolonged spell of darkness which ended only when the Marathas and the Jats and the Sikhs broke the back of Islamic imperialism in the middle of the 18th century. The situation of the Hindus under Muslim rule is summed up by the author of Tãrîkh-i-Wassãf in the following words: “The vein of the zeal of religion beat high for the subjection of infidelity and destruction of idols… The Mohammadan forces began to kill and slaughter, on the right and the left unmercifully, throughout the impure land, for the sake of Islãm, and blood flowed in torrents. They plundered gold and silver to an extent greater than can be conceived, and an immense number of precious stones as well as a great variety of cloths… They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens and children of both sexes, more than pen can enumerate… In short, the Mohammadan army brought the country to utter ruin and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants and plundered the cities, and captured their off-springs, so that many temples were deserted and the idols were broken and trodden under foot, the largest of which was Somnãt. The fragments were conveyed to Dehlî and the entrance of the Jãmi‘ Masjid was paved with them so that people might remember and talk of this brilliant victory… Praise be to Allah the lord of the worlds.”
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