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Islam’s Other Victims: India By: Serge Trifkovic
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 18, 2002


Adapted from The Sword of the Prophet: A Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam by Dr. Serge Trifkovic.

The fundamental leftist and anti-American claim about our ongoing conflict with political Islam is this: whatever has happened or does happen, it’s our fault. We provoked them into it by being dirty Yankee imperialists and by unkindly refusing to allow them to destroy Israel. But two things make crystal clear that this is not so:

1. The political arm of Islam has been waging terroristic holy war on the rest of the world for centuries.

2. It has waged this war against civilizations that have nothing to do with the West, let alone America.

This is why the case of Moslem aggression against India proves so much. Let’s look at the historical record.

India prior to the Moslem invasions was one of the world’s great civilizations. Tenth century Hindustan matched its contemporaries in the East and the West in the realms of philosophy, mathematics, and natural science. Indian mathematicians discovered the number zero (not to mention other things, like algebra, that were later transmitted to a Moslem world which mistaken has received credit for them.) Medieval India, before the Moslem invasion, was a richly imaginative culture, one of the half-dozen most advanced civilizations of all time. Its sculptures were vigorous and sensual, its architecture ornate and spellbinding. And these were indigenous achievements and not, as in the case of many of the more celebrated high-points of Moslem culture, relics of pre-Moslem civilizations that Moslems had overrun.

Moslem invaders began entering India in the early 8th century, on the orders of Hajjaj, the governor of what is now Iraq. (Sound familiar?) Starting in 712 the raiders, commanded by Muhammad Qasim, demolished temples, shattered sculptures, plundered palaces, killed vast numbers of men — it took three whole days to slaughter the inhabitants of the city of Debal — and carried off their women and children to slavery, some of it sexual. After the initial wave of violence, however, Qasim tried to establish law and order in the newly-conquered lands, and to that end he even allowed a degree of religious tolerance. but upon hearing of such humane practices, his superior Hajjaj, objected:

"It appears from your letter that all the rules made by you for the comfort and convenience of your men are strictly in accordance with religious law. But the way of granting pardon prescribed by the law is different from the one adopted by you, for you go on giving pardon to everybody, high or low, without any discretion between a friend and a foe. The great God says in the Koran [47.4]: "0 True believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads." The above command of the Great God is a great command and must be respected and followed. You should not be so fond of showing mercy, as to nullify the virtue of the act. Henceforth grant pardon to no one of the enemy and spare none of them, or else all will consider you a weak-minded man."

In a subsequent communication, Hajjaj reiterated that all able-bodied men were to be killed, and that their underage sons and daughters were to be imprisoned and retained as hostages. Qasim obeyed, and on his arrival at the town of Brahminabad massacred between 6,000 and 16,000 men.

The significance of these events lies not just in the horrible numbers involved, but in the fact that the perpetrators of these massacres were not military thugs disobeying the ethical teachings of their religion, as the European crusaders in the Holy Land were, but were actually doing precisely what their religion taught. (And one may note that Christianity has grown up and no longer preaches crusades. Islam has not. As has been well-documented, jihad has been preached from the official centers of Islam, not just the lunatic fringe.)

Qasim’s early exploits were continued in the early eleventh century, when Mahmud of Ghazni, "passed through India like a whirlwind, destroying, pillaging, and massacring," zealously following the Koranic injunction to kill idolaters, whom he had vowed to chastise every year of his life.

In the course of seventeen invasions, in the words of Alberuni, the scholar brought by Mahmud to India,

"Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion toward all Moslems."

Does one wonder why? To this day, the citizens of Bombay and New Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore, live in fear of a politically-unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan that unlike India (but like every other Moslem country) has not managed to maintain democracy since independence.

Mathura, holy city of the god Krishna, was the next victim:

"In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and finer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted." The Sultan [Mahmud] was of the opinion that 200 years would have been required to build it. The idols included "five of red gold, each five yards high," with eyes formed of priceless jewels. "The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire, and leveled with the ground."

In the aftermath of the invasion, in the ancient cities of Varanasi, Mathura, Ujjain, Maheshwar, Jwalamukhi, and Dwarka, not one temple survived whole and intact. This is the equivalent of an army marching into Paris and Rome, Florence and Oxford, and razing their architectural treasures to the ground. It is an act beyond nihilism; it is outright negativism, a hatred of what is cultured and civilized.

In his book The Story of Civilization, famous historian Will Durant lamented the results of what he termed "probably the bloodiest story in history." He called it "a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying from within."

Moslem invaders "broke and burned everything beautiful they came across in Hindustan," displaying, as an Indian commentator put it, the resentment of the less developed warriors who felt intimidated in the encounter with "a more refined culture." The Moslem Sultans built mosques at the sites of torn down temples, and many Hindus were sold into slavery. As far as they were concerned, Hindus were kafirs, heathens, par excellence. They, and to a lesser extent the peaceful Buddhists, were, unlike Christians and Jews, not "of the book" but at the receiving end of Muhammad’s injunction against pagans: "Kill those who join other gods with God wherever you may find them." (Not that being "of the book" has much helped Jewish and Christian victims of other Moslem aggressions, but that’s another article.)

The mountainous northwestern approaches to India are to this day called the Hindu Kush, "the Slaughter of the Hindu," a reminder of the days when Hindu slaves from Indian subcontinent died in harsh Afghan mountains while being transported to Moslem courts of Central Asia. The slaughter in Somnath, the site of a celebrated Hindu temple, where 50,000 Hindus were slain on Mahmud’s orders, set the tone for centuries.

The gentle Buddhists were the next to be subjected to mass slaughter in 1193, when Muhammad Khilji also burned their famous library. By the end of the 12th century, following the Moslem conquest of their stronghold in Bihar, they were no longer a significant presence in India. The survivors retreated into Nepal and Tibet, or escaped to the south of the Subcontinent. The remnants of their culture lingered on even as far west as Turkestan. Left to the tender mercies of Moslem conquerors and their heirs they were systematically destroyed, sometimes—as was the case with the four giant statues of Buddha in Afghanistan in March 2001—up to the present day.

That cultivated disposition and developed sensibility can go hand in hand with bigotry and cruelty is evidenced by the example of Firuz Shah, who became the ruler of northern India in 1351. This educated yet tyrannical Moslem ruler of northern India once surprised a village where a Hindu religious festival was celebrated, and ordered all present to be slain. He proudly related that, upon completing the slaughter, he destroyed the temples and in their place built mosques.

The Mogul emperor Akbar is remembered as tolerant, at least by the standards of Moslems in India: only one major massacre was recorded during his long reign (1542-1605), when he ordered that about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus be slain on February 24, 1568, after the battle for Chitod. But Akbar’s acceptance of other religions and toleration of their public worship, his abolition of poll-tax on non-Moslems, and his interest in other faiths were not a reflection of his Moslem spirit of tolerance. Quite the contrary, they indicated a propensity for free-thinking in the realm of religion that finally led him to complete apostasy. Its high points were the formal declaration of his own infallibility in all matters of religious doctrine, his promulgation of a new creed, and his adoption of Hindu and Zoroastrian festivals and practices. This is a pattern one sees again and again in Moslem history, down to the present day: whenever one finds a reasonable, enlightened, tolerant Moslem, upon closer examination this turns out to be someone who started out as a Moslem but then progressively wandered away from the orthodox faith. That is to say: the best Moslems are generally the least Moslem (a pattern which does not seem to be the case with other religions.)

Things were back to normal under Shah Jahan (1593-1666), the fifth Mogul Emperor and a grandson of Akbar the Great. Most Westerners remember him as the builder of the Taj Mahal and have no idea that he was a cruel warmonger who initiated forty-eight military campaigns against non-Moslems in less than thirty years. Taking his cue from his Ottoman co-religionists, on coming to the throne in 1628 he killed all his male relations except one who escaped to Persia. Shah Jahan had 5,000 concubines in his harem, but nevertheless indulged in incestuous sex with his daughters Chamani and Jahanara. During his reign in Benares alone 76 Hindu temples were destroyed, as well as Christian churches at Agra and Lahore. At the end of the siege of Hugh, a Portuguese enclave near Calcutta, that lasted three months, he had ten thousand inhabitants "blown up with powder, drowned in water or burnt by fire." Four thousand were taken captive to Agra where they were offered Islam or death. Most refused and were killed, except for the younger women, who went into harems.

These massacres perpetrated by Moslems in India are unparalleled in history. In sheer numbers, they are bigger than the Jewish Holocaust, the Soviet Terror, the Japanese massacres of the Chinese during WWII, Mao’s devastations of the Chinese peasantry, the massacres of the Armenians by the Turks, or any of the other famous crimes against humanity of the 20th Century. But sadly, they are almost unknown outside India.

There are several reasons for this. In the days when they ruled India, the British, pursuing a policy of divide-and-rule, whitewashed the record of the Moslems so that they could set them up as a counterbalance to the more numerous Hindus. During the struggle for independence, Gandhi and Nehru downplayed historic Moslem atrocities so that they could pretend a facade of Hindu-Moslem unity against the British. (Naturally, this façade dissolved immediately after independence and several million people were killed in the religious violence attendant on splitting British India into India and Pakistan.) After independence, Marxist Indian writers, blinkered by ideology, suppressed the truth about the Moslem record because it did not fit into the Marxist theory of history. Nowadays, the Indian equivalent of political correctness downplays Moslem misdeeds because Moslems are an "oppressed minority" in majority-Hindu India. And Indian leftist intellectuals always blame India first and hate their own Hindu civilization, just their equivalents at Berkeley blame America and the West.

Unlike Germany, which has apologized to its Jewish and Eastern European victims, and Japan, which has at least behaved itself since WWII, and even America, which has gone into paroxysms of guilt over what it did to the infinitely smaller numbers of Red Indians, the Moslem aggressors against India and their successors have not even stopped trying to finish the job they started. To this day, militant Islam sees India as "unfinished business" and it remains high on the agenda of oil-rich Moslem countries such as Saudi Arabia, which are spending millions every year trying to convert Hindus to Islam.

One may take some small satisfaction in the fact that they find it rather slow going.

Serge Trifkovic received his PhD from the University of Southampton in England and pursued postdoctoral research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His past journalistic outlets have included the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, CNN International, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Times of London, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is foreign affairs editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. This article was adapted for Front Page Magazine by Robert Locke.


Serge Trifkovic received his PhD from the University of Southampton in England and pursued postdoctoral research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His past journalistic outlets have included the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, CNN International, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Times of London, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is foreign affairs editor of Chronicles.


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