Muslims, was the "PC" Card

mrabe at mrabe at
Wed Dec 13 03:45:31 UTC 1995

A question for J.B. Sharma (before this thread peters out, or burns...)

How exactly is the dregging up of medieval atrocities committed by Muslims
against Hindu shrines supposed to ameliorate the present communalist
tensions?  [I'm unable to find your exact words, just now, but I believe
you said words to this effect more than once.]

Wouldn't those Hindutva parties in favor of building (probably for the
first time) a Ram janam-bhumi temple at Ayodhya gain enormous credibility
for even- handedness if they proposed some sort of restitution in memory of
those thousands of Jains who were impaled before a Pandyan king in the
cause of Saiva bhakti?  To quote K.A. Nilakanta Shastri's _A History of
South India_ "The story goes that on this occassion [the nAyanAr
Campantar's visit to Madurai] 8,000 Jains were put to death by impalement,
and a festival in the Madura temple is supposed to commemorate the gruesome
event to this day." 3rd ed., p. 424.

According to the extensive and extremely vivid epigraphic record, as
collected in part by Richard Davis, the plunder of TEMPLES in rival
kingdoms was a frequent and openly admitted policy of kings in preMuslim
India ("Indian Art Objects as Loot," _Journal of Asian Studies_ vol. 52:1
(Feb, l993): 22-48 Soon to be republished on a much expanded scale by
Princeton).  At present I fail to see much difference between intra-Hindu
iconicide (to coin a phrase) and Islamic iconoclasm.

Michael Rabe
Saint Xavier University, &
School of the Art Institute of Chicago



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