J.B. Sharma JSHARMA at Hermes.GC.PeachNet.EDU
Tue Dec 12 23:23:10 UTC 1995

Gary Tartakov writes:

>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.

 This thesis is not the same as presented by Prof K.S. Lal in his book 
"Indian Muslims; Who Are They". If someone has scholarly critique of 
the book, I would be most interested to know about it (a dissection of 
the book and its ideas; not the author).

 Islam arrived in India centuries earlier than Mohammed Ghori or even 
Muhammad Bin Qasim. It was brought by Arab traders peacefully, and 
the Hindu rajahs gave grants for the construction of Mosques. There 
was no substantial increase in the ranks of Islam at that time in 
those regions. 
 This increase began only after Turco-Afghan swordsmen 
across India. The books written describing these times (Chach-Namah,
Tabqt-i-Nasiri, Khazainu'l-Futuh and Dawal Rani-Khizr Khani (both by 
Amir Khusru), Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Futuhat-i Feroz Shahi (by Firuz 
Shah himself), Babar Namah (by Babar himself) just to name a very few)
are full of stories of slaughter of infidels, the breaking/burning of 
temples, forced conversions, slave taking and religion tax. All of 
this is deemed in these works as the duty of the righteous; Ghazis - 
the slayer of infidels - a warrior saints of sorts. This paints a 
very grim picture for the circumstance helpless people found 
themselves in. 

 Is there historical evidence to back the claim that most 
conversions were under no coercion or duress whatsoever and to 
satisfy spiritual leanings only ? And if this was so, why did not 
people invoke the more egalitarian alternative at the same rate as 
they did after the invasions ? If anyone has any insights into this I 
would be most interested in hearing them. 
All the best,
J.B. Sharma


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