Nov 30, 2023
Nov 30, 2023
by BS Murthy
No less than Narendra Modi, India’s erudite prime minister, had attributed the self-disparaging Indian character to its thousand years of slavery, that too on the floor of the Indian parliament. And it’s no wonder that Asaduddin Owaisi, the Islamist revivalist in the Indian remnant, promptly contested the said proposition. Needless to say, while Modi echoed the lament of the Hindu nationalists, albeit in a politically correct vocabulary, Owaisi sees the Muslim invasion of Hindustan through the prism of eight-hundred years of Islamic hukummat over the same. Whatever, a critical examination of India’s Islamic history, even the one dished out by its Muslim overlords, and an objective analysis of its socio-cultural construct therein would belie the supposition that Hindus were forced into slavery in any which way.
No doubt, when the Islamic marauders eyed it for loot and rapine, India was long since the home to the Nalandas and the Takshasilas, the Ivys of yore, and it was also the world’s largest economy with some thirty-percent share of its gross domestic product. Thus, it’s as if India then was the crown of the creation, adorned with Hindu jewels, and that being the case, maybe the Hindus of that time were justified to feel top-of-the-world, like the Americans of the day do. So, that’s exactly what they felt like, and we have Aberuni’s testimony for that In his eponymous book on India of around 1030CE.
“… the Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs.”
True, the Islamic invasions, resulting in myriad Sultanates that eventually gave way to the Mogul rule, albeit over Hindu subjects largely confined to Northern India that any way had to endure the unceasing assaults by Hindu warrior kings all through. Moreover, in the same era, south of the Vindhyas there were powerful Hindu kingdoms such as the Kakatiyas, not to speak of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire, where the saffron flag furled unfettered all along. That way, the geography of the Muslim rule and the demography of the Hindu polity throughout the Indo-Islamic period were such that the former could have hardly enslaved the latter in any manner whatsoever. Besides, the intellectually suave and culturally evolved Hindu elite would have held the barbarian and the bigoted Musalmans in utter contempt as exemplified by the unflattering synonyms for them in all the Indian languages. It’s another matter though that some of the slighted Hindu souls had indeed migrated to the greener Islamic pastures.
Besides, the Muslim rulers too paid no heed to paint India green, which happenstance Maryam Jameelah rued in her book Islam and Orientalism, thus:
“If the Mughal monarchs had assumed their responsibilities as Muslim rulers and organized intensive tabliq or missionary work, the majority of Indians would have embraced Islam and hence the necessity for partition and all the disasters that followed in its wake, never would have arisen.” (Fresh insights on the subject in the chapter ‘The Number Game’ of Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife (A critical appraisal of Islamic faith, Indian polity ‘n more).
Whatever, it should not be lost on any that in spite of Islam’s thousand-year tenancy in the Indian subcontinent, at the time of its partition, the Musalmans accounted for only one-fourth of its populace, yet the rest being overwhelmingly Hindu. So, it’s far-fetched to presume that the Hindus of yester years would have been enslaved by the Musalmans in any which way.
However, at some stage, the vengeful Semitic God had managed to manifest Himself as a Hindu avatar of Lord Sathyanarayana (the author is a namesake), an aberration in the pantheon of benign gods and goddesses of the ancient land. All the same, the Sathyanarayana katha, modeled on Jehovah’s rewards and reprisals, failed to impart any Biblical character to the Hindu religious ethos, which illustrates the inviolability of sanatana dharma, the Hindu socio-religious ethnic shield. Hence it can be deduced that the Islamic dominance over parts of Northern Hindustan was largely in its political sphere, and thus it’s nothing but our poverty of thought to imagine that our resilient ancients had enslaved themselves to the alien Musalmans.
Nevertheless, though the Musalmans’ barbarian ways would have been repulsive to the Hindu sensibilities, the Islamic male-centric credo had seemingly corrupted the Hindu ethos in varied ways and for one – the male ownership of the female bodies would have appealed to the base instincts of the Hindu males, who hitherto were wont to celebrate their women folk like nowhere, and naturally that led to their moral degradation resulting in the eventual Hindu ruination. However, the only silver lining on the Islamic dark horizon was the evolution of Indo-Persian classical arts, notably the Hindustani music that was enriching.
Be that as it may, eventually, the Islamic aversion for social integration with the native kafir populace coupled with the rapacity of the Muslim rulers had invariably enervated their reign over Hindustan, and that enabled a band of spice traders from the far away Britain to carve out their islands of dominance to start with in 1757CE . Why, it’s eminently possible that the Hindus, who would have all along resented the Islamic shadow on their ancestral land under the Muslim sword, could have seen a way out from it through the British sails. So it was thus the Islamic ground, slowly but steadily, would have slipped from under the Muslim feet, finally enabling Great Britain to consign the decrepit Mogul rule to the archives of history, so to say, page by page.
It’s noteworthy to understand the religious reaction of the Musalmans to their loss of political power that was pictured by W. W. Hunter in The Indian Musalmans thus:
“During the last forty years they have separated themselves from the Hindus by differences of dress, of salutations, and other exterior distinctions, such as they never deemed necessary in the days of their supremacy.”
Just to digress, post-partition, the Musalmans, who stayed back in India, by and large, tended to shed their mustache-less beards and gave up their skull-caps but fifty years thereafter they have been increasingly striving themselves to sport their separateness by not even sparing their kids from wearing the skull-caps; thank biology for their beardlessness, and showing no mercy even to their babies by draping them in burkas. Though it is for the sociologists to assess this retrograde trend in the Indian umma, the discerning political analysts may divine the newfound Muslim killer instinct owing itself to the Islamic demographic growth in the secularly naïve India.
Now picking up the Hindu threads in the British era, besides the colour of the skin, the skills of the Whiteman would have at once overawed as well as fascinated the brown Hindu man, hugely low by then, in the same vein, maybe in equal measure. So, it can be presumed that the Hindus of that era would have been but the pale shadows of their haughty ancestors, who besides disregarding all aliens as mlechas, as Alberuni had observed, happened to “believe there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs.”
No wonder then that Lord Macaulay in his 1835CE Minute dared to record that
the Hindu India was of “false history, false astronomy, false medicine in company with a false religion” and the British should create “a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect,” and sadly for the Hindus the wily British could manage to forge their mind in the Macaulay mould, needless to say facilitated by the Hindu willingness. And that made all the difference in that what the eight-hundred years of Muslim presence in India failed to do to the Hindu psyche, the British cunning did in less than two hundred years, so much so that it altered its value system itself.
Though the Hindus, through ages, were won’t to celebrate sexuality in all its forms, including lesbianism, as exemplified in the Canto 9, Harem at Night and Canto 10, Women in Want, of Valmiki’s Sundara Kanda, the foremost poetic composition of the world, and in the erotic temple architecture at Khajuraho (10th -11th Century) to just name a few, and yet they came to imbibe the regressive sexual credo besides the concept of sin of the Christianity to their hurt.
Whatever, when the British left India that was after sundering it, the Hindu polity itself was put asunder on its intellectual plane into the Macaulay elite, the Indian nationalists with the former holding the sway and shaping its destiny. So to say, the Hindu haplessness was further accentuated by helplessness of the ‘thousand years of slavery’, planted in the Hindu minds through Maulana Azad’s tailor-made add-ons to Macaulay’s school curriculum to enervate the ‘educated’ Hindu psyche to defeatist levels with devastating effect (Read the author’s Facts of a Fake ‘Idea of India’). Besides, the Hindu activists that emerged from the nationalist ranks, if anything, have been making it worse for the Hindu cause with their outlandish claims such as pushpak viman was their ancestral airplane and the Taj Mahal was but a modified Hindu temple, even though they have the matchless South Indian temple architecture in abundance to showcase to the world, that only earn ridicule to the Hindu Right.
Wonder why the thoughtless Hindus should indulge in making such ridiculous claims even as their ancestors had left a host of unimaginable accomplishments, acknowledged by the world at large, for their feel good - the invention of zero, value of pi, and the decimal system in mathematics, and the discovery of ‘precession of the Equinoxes’ in astronomy, just to name a few. It is in this context, this excerpt from the ‘Cheiro’s Book of Numbers’ is noteworthy.
The ancient Hindu searchers after Nature’s laws, it must be remembered, were in former years masters of all such studies, but in transmitting their knowledge to their descendants, they so endeavored to hide their secrets from the common people that in most cases the key to the problem became lost, and the truth that had been discovered became buried in the dust of superstition and charlatanism, to be re-formed, let us hope, when some similar cycle of thought in its own appointed time will again claim attention to this side of nature.
When examining such questions, we must not forget that it was the Hindus, who discovered what is known as the precession of the Equinoxes, and in their calculations such an occurrence takes place every 25,827 years; our modern science after labours of hundreds of years has simply proved them to be correct.
How, or by what means they were able to arrive at such a calculation, has never been discovered - observations lasting over such a period of time are hardly admissible, and calculation without instruments is also scarcely conceivable, and so science has only been able, first to accept their statement, and later to acknowledge its accuracy.”
So it is high time for the Hindus to strive hard to regain the intellectual vigour of their ancestors though sans their vice of inimical secrecy, and that should enable them to shed the mediocrity of their lazy minds.
More by : BS Murthy