Medevial india

J.B. Sharma JSHARMA at Hermes.GC.PeachNet.EDU
Fri Dec 1 22:36:32 UTC 1995

Dominik wrote :
the two-volume "Hindu Temples: What Happened to them" by Sita Ram Goel
et al. (which lists mosques across India that are claimed to be built
out of the ruin of Hindu temples, and which should therefore be torn
down), and Koenraad Elst's "Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid: A case
study in Hindu-Muslim conflict" which has already been discussed on

 To begin wih, I wish point out a couple of errors. The two volume 
work by Sita Ram Goel is primarily a compilation of the works of the 
muslim scribes who witnessed the era of the coming of Islam in India 
and its subsequent control of the sub-continent for over eight 
hundred years. A lot of these works are in libraries all over the 
world. Nowhere in his book does he advocate the breaking of mosques. 

 The Elst book discussed on Indology was "Negationism in India". It 
is true that negationism in India has official sanction. The 
Government has forbidden the representation of medevial India as a 
period of conflict between Hindus and Muslims in any school history 
book. It is a serious scholarly work written in response to the book 
by Sita Ram Goel on the Islamic evidence on destruction of Hindu 

 I would be most interested to see a very scholarly rebuttal 
of Elst's thesis; the kind imparted on this forum earlier conjured an 
image of a doctor bursting into screams of "pronography" at the sight 
of a naked patient. It is terrible that medevial India was a time of 
crumbling Hindu civilisation, and in general a time of great terror , 
anguish and destruction to the people of the subcontinent. That does 
not preclude it from an examination. Hindu scribes in general 
maintain a silence about this period; A silence similar to the 
silence of Russian scribes when the Mongols conquered Russia. The 
story of the details of the destruction, and the story of what 
transpired on the conquered has not been fully told and in general 
there reamins a historical amnesia of this period. 

 The above books have made a valuable contribution in bringing these 
issues to debate. However revolting or gory, a clear historical 
reconstruction of that period must be a part of public debate instead 
of suppression. A society with a clear and commonly shared historical 
vision can heal itself of past wrongs and make a fresh start. In the 
U.S., there is no shirking from a clear public debate on the severe 
wrongs imparted to American Indians and Afro-Americans, and his leads 
to the most creative forms of healing. A society with historical 
amnesia will continue to be haunted by demons it cannot understand.

 I think that the criticism of those who use Hinduism to further 
their political ends is in general warrented. The factions which 
advocate the reclamation of some mosques are in general rogues who 
are trying to encash on a bank of historical resentment. However, in 
general these guys are pussycats comapred to the Muslim 
fundamentalists waging jihad in India, particulary in Kashmir. It is a 
source of amazement to me that in the only muslim majority state 
drives out 300000 Kasmiri Pandits and nary a mew from the lions who 
roar in moral outrage in the name of goodness at Hindu 
fundamentalists ! I think it would take a bit more courage in light of 
the fate of Rushdie; It does somewhat dim the fire of noble ideal of 
fairness, free speech, objectivity etc.

 As I read thru the writings of the muslim scribes, I am in general 
familiar with the terrain, the people, places etc about which they 
write. One can only imagine the terror and misfortune which befell 
those who lived along the invasion and occupation regions. Indian 
slaves filled up slave markets all the way to Baghdad. Each Turkish 
soldier family had several slaves. What is the story of these people 
and their fate ? What kind of population displacements occured and 
what was life under 'jeziya' like ? What kind of images and human 
drama would a reconstruction of that period conjure ? These remain 
valid historical questions and will all eventually be looked at. 

  Historical awareness has the power to defuse banks of resentment 
based on folk-memory of both Hindus and Muslims of the subcontinent. 
Otherwise there is never a basis for a a look to the future 
and a new beginning. This is why I would like to encourage scholars 
to read these works and It will be very refreshing to see a scholarly 
critique of the subject. 

Sincere Regards,
J.B. Sharma
Gainesville College




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