K. S. Lal

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K. S. Lal
Native name किशोरी शरण लाल
Born Kishori Saran Lal
1920
Died 2002
Nationality Indian
Alma mater University of Allahabad
Occupation Historian, Academic
Known for Authoring books about Indian history

Kishori Saran Lal (1920–2002), किशोरी शरण लाल, was an Indian historian. He wrote many historical books, mainly on medieval India. Many of his books, such as History of the Khaljis and Twilight of the Sultanate, are regarded as standard works.[1][2][3]

Career[edit]

He obtained his master's degree in 1941 at the University of Allahabad. In 1945 he obtained his D.Phil. with a dissertation on the history of the Khaljis. This dissertation formed the basis for his book History of the Khaljis. He started his career as a Lecturer of History in the Allahabad University, though he served in this position only for a brief period.

From 1945 to 1963 he was with Madhya Pradesh Educational Service and taught at the Government Colleges at Nagpur, Jabalpur, and Bhopal. In 1963, he joined University of Delhi as a reader and taught Medieval Indian history in its History Department.

For the next ten years, starting 1973, he was the Professor and Head of the Department of History, first at the University of Jodhpur (1973–79), and then at the Central University of Hyderabad (1979–83).

Besides his mother tongue Hindi, he was fluent in Persian, Old Persian, Urdu, and other languages.

In 2001 he was appointed chairman of the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) and also placed on the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) Committee to draft the model school syllabus on Indian History.[4]

Works[edit]

Legacy[edit]

His work has been referred and used by historians, authors, such as Andrew Bernstein,[8] John Esposito,[9] Saiyid Nurul Hasan,[10] Koenraad Elst, Ibn Warraq,[11][12] Robert Spencer,[13] and others.

Lal's early books were not controversial, but some of his later works were criticised by Irfan Habib. The criticism mainly included allegation of being a spokesman for the RSS.[4] Lal noted: "As usual [my books] have been reviewed in journals in India and abroad, bestowing both praise and blame as per the custom of the reviewers. However, during the last fifteen years or so, some of my books have received special attention of a certain brand of scholars for adverse criticism."[14] The controversy surrounding these events is reflected in the theme of the discourses of his books which allegedly describe Muslims as foreigners, destructive barbarians and immoral degenerates,[15][15] Lal himself disputes these allegations, citing, in turn, that the ICHR has always been dominated by historians with a strong leftist bias and that the current controversy is "merely the outcome of an exaggerated sense of pique on the part of the excluded Left wing".[16]

Recently, historian Jeremy Black in his book Contesting History: Narratives of Public History (2014), remarked his writings to be "recent good works".[17]

Quotes[edit]

  • It is in the domain of music in particular that the contribution of Muslims is the greatest. It is, however, difficult to claim that it is really Muslim. What they have practised since medieval times is Hindu classical music with its Guru-Shishya parampara. The gharana (school) system is the extension of this parampara or tradition. Most of the great Muslim musicians were and are originally Hindu and they have continued with the tradition of singing an invocation to goddess Saraswati or other deities before starting their performance.
  • In the preliminary pages, the list of books "by the same author" shows that during the past fifty years I have written a dozen books on medieval Indian history beginning from 1950 onwards. As usual these have been reviewed in journals in India and abroad, bestowing both praise and blame as per the custom of the reviewers. However, during the last fifteen years or so, some of my books have received special attention of a certain brand of scholars for adverse criticism. Although this gives me publicity and raises demand for my books because such reviews arouse curiosity of readers, it also provides me with an opportunity to defend myself from my detractors determined to denigrate my work. It is not customary to answer the reviewers - they have their right of judgement - but when a systematic smear campaign is launched criticising everything that I say, without a single word of appreciation for anything, a rebuttal is called for, more so when a connection and not mere coincidence is discernible between the uncharitable review of one of my books in a British journal and some other harsh reviews by a group of Aligarh historians in Indian historical journals.
  • Like proselytization, desecrating and demolishing the temples of non-Muslims is also central to Islam.... India too suffered terribly as thousands of Hindu temples and sacred edifices disappeared in northern India by the time of Sikandar Lodi and Babur. Will Durant rightly laments in the Story of Civilization that "We can never know from looking at India today, what grandeur and beauty it once possessed". In Delhi, after the demolition of twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples, the materials of which were utilized to construct the Quwwat-ul-Islam masjid, it was after 700 years that the Birla Mandir could be constructed in 1930s. Sita Ram Goel has brought out two excellent volumes on Hindu Temples: What happened to them. These informative volumes give a list of Hindu shrines and their history of destruction in the medieval period on the basis of Muslim evidence itself. This of course does not cover all the shrines razed. Muslims broke temples recklessly. Those held in special veneration by Hindus like the ones at Somnath, Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura, were special targets of Muslims, and whenever the Hindus could manage to rebuild their shrines at these places, they were again destroyed by Muslim rulers. From the time of Mahmud of Ghazni who destroyed the temples at Somnath and Mathura to Babur who struck at Ayodhya to Aurangzeb who razed the temples at Kashi Mathura and Somnath, the story is repeated again and again.
  • The scale and effectiveness of conversions by force are clearly detailed in al-Kufi's Chachnama (for Muhammad Qasim in Sindh), Utbi's Tarikh-i-Yamini (for Mahmud of Ghazni) Hasan Nizami's Taj-ul-Maasir (for Muhammad Ghauri, Qutbuddin Aibak etc.) and Minhaj Siraj's. Tabqat-i-Nasiri (for the early years of the Sultanate period). All Muslim chronicles from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century write with pride about forcible conversions by rulers and nobles.
    • K.S. Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Comment by Muhammad Habib on the jacket of the book "History of the Khaljis AD 1290–1320" by K.S. Lal. K.S. Lal: Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India
  2. Times Literary Supplement, London, 19 December 1968. A.A. Powell, Review of The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 58, No.2, (1995), pp. 397–8. Peter Jackson in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, Third Series, Vol. 4, Part 3, November 1994, pp. 421–23.
  3. Meenkakshi Jain 2002 Medieval India
  4. 4.0 4.1 Delhi Historian's Group, Section 2. Part 3
  5. "Indian Muslims - Who Are They". Bharatvani.org. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  6. "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India". Bharatvani.org. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  7. "Muslim Slave System in Medieval India". Bharatvani.org. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  8. Capitalist Solutions: A Philosophy of American Moral Dilemmas, p.79
  9. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, p.281, Oxford University Press, 30 March 1995
  10. Studies in archaeology and history: commemoration volume of Prof.S. Nurul Hasan, p. 116
  11. Defending the West: a critique of Edward Said's Orientalism, 2007
  12. Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy, p. 116
  13. A Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, p.226, Regnery Publishing, 8 August 2007
  14. Lal, K.S. Theory and Practice of Muslim State
  15. 15.0 15.1 India: International Religious Freedom Report 2005
  16. The Hindutva takeover of ICHR,Frontline (4 July 1998)
  17. Contesting History: Narratives of Public History, p. 183, A&C Black, 13 March 2014

References[edit]