current thread on indian history

J.Napier J.Napier at unsw.EDU.AU
Wed Dec 6 02:10:45 UTC 1995

as a musicologist rather than a historian, excuse me if my comments seem 
naive. However, a few things seem to be so frequently overlooked in 
discourse re Indian history that the clumsy forays of the "outsider" may be 
of some limited use.

The invasions of India frf Mahmud of Ghazni through to Nadir Shah seem to 
be unusual in world historical discourse in being defined according to 
the religion of the invading party. Here in Australia, those that dare talk 
of invasion (and I'm from the invading party) talk of British or European 
invasion, not Christian invasion.

The point I am making is that "Muslim" invasions:

were not solely motivated by religious concerns: perhaps more so than (but 
who knows?) those of the Hunas and Alexander of Macedon or (I'm prepared 
to risk the wrath of the revisionists, the Aryans. Yes, I am aware of 
proselitizing, coerced or otherwise, yes I am aware of the destruction of 
temples etc, but it was booty and slaves that Timur promised his troops 
(and no doubt himself), not just saved souls

also saw the slaughter of muslim opponents, in what might be called the 
approved manner of warfare at the time

should perhaps be named according to the place of origin of the invading 
party: Afghani invasion, Turkic invasion etc: 

My thought is that monolithic categories are not only generally 
inaccurate, but disguise the variety and richness of historical experience 
(sorry to use such seemingly approving words of what is not a positive 
experience: invasion) The same might be said for the frequent equation, on 
the part of contribuors to this list, of Medieval India with "Hindu India 
As We Know It From The Sanskrit Sources". 

J.Napier at
University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia

PS. Can we cool this thread down a little> I do think, however its a very 
important one, and as much as contemporary politics is supposedly off 
limits, one which many here cannot really keep out of our work

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