Muslims -- not a "problem"

Gary M Tartakov tart at
Tue Dec 12 15:07:08 UTC 1995

I've learned a good deal of value from Ms. Rosser and I appreciate her
interest in one point I tried to make, that 

I wrote:

"The [invaders'] religious beliefs and interests were subordinated to
interest in power and pleasure."
( . . .)
"I don't see anything different in the European conquest of the
They killed the natives for their land, they didn't worry more than
perfunctorily about their souls."

She responded:

"What I have understood about both of these "invasions"  is that, though
they were primarily greed driven, they were justified and given a
pitch by the use of religion and the mandate to save the souls of the
pagans.  Perhaps, Mr. Tartakov's comment that the "failure of any
success of conversion in the regions around Delhi, where every invader
immediately set up shop" suggests more the resiliency and faith of the
Hindu people than the thwarted goals of the Islamic invaders."

None of us can doubt the resiliency and faith of any of the major 
religious faiths of India to have survived up to the present.  The 
point I was trying to make is that those who have converted to Islam 
have by and large done so because it satisfied their spiritual 
understanding and that those who are Islamic by birth are their 
descendants, not some sort of foreign element in the Indian population
or people converted through some spurious desire for material or 
political benefits or, in particular, by force of the Muslim invaders 
who did so much to bring the Islamic faith into India.  

We don't need to critique the benefits of either set of faiths to 
appreciate their validity in India today.  We can and should critique 
antisocial aspects of any of them, but we don't need to take sides for
either against the other or clutter discussion of every mention with 
reminders that "those people" were or are rotten too or "these people" 
are the truer victims.  

I find a good deal to critize in what some members of each of these
several faiths believe, teach or act upon.  I intend to criticize 
these things, not to create an essentialized bogey that supposedly 
represents everyone who is a Muslim or a Hindu.  

I think this is something we do agree upon.

Gary Tartakov 

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list