The Muhammadan Conquest of India
By Pankaj Kumar
Muslim historian Firishta [full name Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah, born in 1560 and died in 1620], the author of the Tarikh-i Firishta and the Gulshan-i Ibrahim, was the first to give an idea to the medieval bloodbath that was India during Muslim rule, when he declared that over 400 million Hindus got slaughtered during Muslim invasion and occupation of India. Survivors got enslaved and castrated. India’s population is said to have been around 600 million at the time of Muslim invasion. By the mid 1500’s the Hindu population was 200 million.
By the time the British arrived to the shores of India and after centuries of Islamic law ruling India, the Hindu population was not behaving like their normal self; they were behaving like Muslims. There are many witness reports from the British archives of horrendous Hindu incidents that were shocking in cruelty to the British – and they therefore sometimes referred to the people as “savages”. Yes, anyone who gets contaminated by the association with Islamic ‘culture’ truly gets tainted and savaged. That is exactly why it is so detrimental and dangerous.
From the time of the Umayyad Dynasty (711AD) to the last Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar (1858), so widely praised as great leaders by Indian historians themselves, entire cities were burnt down and the populations massacred, with hundreds of thousands killed in every campaign, and similar numbers deported as slaves. Every new invader made (often literally) his hills of Hindus skulls. Thus, the conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000 was followed by the annihilation of the Hindu population; the region is still called the Hindu Kush, i.e. “Hindu slaughter.”
The genocide suffered by the Hindus and Sikhs of India at the hands of Arab, Turkish, Mughal and Afghan occupying forces for a period of 800 years is as yet formally unrecognised by the World.
The only similar genocide in the recent past was that of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis.
The holocaust of the Hindus in India was of even greater proportions, the only difference was that it continued for 800 years, till the brutal regimes were effectively overpowered in a life and death struggle by the Sikhs in the Punjab and the Hindu Maratha armies in other parts of India in the late 1700’s.
Now we have elaborate literary evidence of the World’s biggest holocaust from existing historical contemporary eyewitness accounts. The historians and biographers of the invading armies and subsequent rulers of India have left quite detailed records of the atrocities they committed in their day-to-day encounters with India’s Hindus.
These contemporary records boasted about and glorified the crimes that were committed – and the genocide of tens of millions of Hindus, mass rapes of Hindu women and the destruction of thousands of ancient Hindu / Buddhist temples and libraries have been well documented and provide solid proof of the World’s biggest holocaust.
Dr. Koenraad Elst in his article “Was There an Islamic Genocide of Hindus?” states:
“There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. A first glance at important testimonies by Muslim chroniclers suggests that, over 13 centuries and a territory as vast as the Subcontinent, Muslim Holy Warriors easily killed more Hindus than the 6 million of the Holocaust. Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like punishing the Hindus; and they were only a third-rank provincial dynasty.
The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (ca. 1000 CE); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192 ff.); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526).”
He also writes in his book “Negation in India”:
“The Muslim conquests, down to the 16th century, were for the Hindus a pure struggle of life and death. Entire cities were burnt down and the populations massacred, with hundreds of thousands killed in every campaign, and similar numbers deported as slaves. Every new invader made (often literally) his hills of Hindus skulls. Thus, the conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000 was followed by the annihilation of the Hindu population; the region is still called the Hindu Kush, i.e. Hindu slaughter.”
Will Durant argued in his 1935 book “The Story of Civilisation: Our Oriental Heritage” (page 459):
“The Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. The Islamic historians and scholars have recorded with great glee and pride the slaughters of Hindus, forced conversions, abduction of Hindu women and children to slave markets and the destruction of temples carried out by the warriors of Islam during 800 AD to 1700 AD. Millions of Hindus were converted to Islam by sword during this period.”
Francois Gautier in his book ‘Rewriting Indian History’ (1996) wrote:
“The massacres perpetuated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger than the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis; or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native populations by the invading Spanish and Portuguese.”
Writer Fernand Braudel wrote in A History of Civilisations (1995), that Islamic rule in India as a
“colonial experiment” was “extremely violent”, and “the Muslims could not rule the country except by systematic terror. Cruelty was the norm – burnings, summary executions, crucifixions or impalements, inventive tortures. Hindu temples were destroyed to make way for mosques. On occasion there were forced conversions. If ever there were an uprising, it was instantly and savagely repressed: houses were burned, the countryside was laid waste, men were slaughtered and women were taken as slaves.”
Alain Danielou in his book, Histoire de l’ Inde writes:
“From the time Muslims started arriving, around 632 AD, the history of India becomes a long, monotonous series of murders, massacres, spoliations, and destructions. It is, as usual, in the name of ‘a holy war’ of their faith, of their sole God, that the barbarians have destroyed civilizations, wiped out entire races.”
Irfan Husain in his article “Demons from the Past” observes:
“While historical events should be judged in the context of their times, it cannot be denied that even in that bloody period of history, no mercy was shown to the Hindus unfortunate enough to be in the path of either the Arab conquerors of Sindh and south Punjab, or the Central Asians who swept in from Afghanistan…The Muslim heroes who figure larger than life in our history books committed some dreadful crimes. Mahmud of Ghazni, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, Balban, Mohammed bin Qasim, and Sultan Mohammad Tughlak, all have blood-stained hands that the passage of years has not cleansed..Seen through Hindu eyes, the Muslim invasion of their homeland was an unmitigated disaster.
“Their temples were razed, their idols smashed, their women raped, their men killed or taken slaves. When Mahmud of Ghazni entered Somnath on one of his annual raids, he slaughtered all 50,000 inhabitants. Aibak killed and enslaved hundreds of thousands. The list of horrors is long and painful. These conquerors justified their deeds by claiming it was their religious duty to smite non-believers. Cloaking themselves in the banner of Islam, they claimed they were fighting for their faith when, in reality, they were indulging in straightforward slaughter and pillage…”
The Afghan ruler Mahmud al-Ghazni invaded India no less than seventeen times between 1001 – 1026 AD. The book ‘Tarikh-i-Yamini’ – written by his secretary documents several episodes of his bloody military campaigns :
“The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously [at the Indian city of Thanesar] that the stream was discoloured, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it…the infidels deserted the fort and tried to cross the foaming river…but many of them were slain, taken or drowned… Nearly fifty thousand men were killed.”
In the contemporary record – ‘ Taj-ul-Ma’asir’ by Hassn Nizam-i-Naishapuri, it is stated that when Qutb-ul- Din Aibak (of Turko – Afghan origin and the First Sultan of Delhi 1194-1210 AD) conquered Meerat, he demolished all the Hindu temples of the city and erected mosques on their sites. In the city of Aligarh, he converted Hindu inhabitants to Islam by the sword and beheaded all those who adhered to their own religion.
The Persian historian Wassaf writes in his book ‘Tazjiyat-ul-Amsar wa Tajriyat ul Asar’ that when the Allau-Din Khilji (An Afghan of Turkish origin and second ruler of the Khilji Dynasty in India 1295-1316 AD) captured the city of Kambayat at the head of the gulf of Cambay, he killed the adult male Hindu inhabitants for the glory of Islam, set flowing rivers of blood, sent the women of the country with all their gold, silver, and jewels, to his own home, and made about twenty thousand Hindu maidens his private slaves.
India has a deep, long cultural history. Hinduism began there around 1,500 BC (some put this way back to even 10,000 BC) and Buddhism around the 6th century BC. This culture had evolved impressive intellectual, religious and artistic pursuits. Pre and post the early days of Islam, Indian scholars took their works in Science, Maths (zero, algebra, geometry, the decimal system, so-called ‘Arabic’ numbers are actually Hindu ones!), medicine, philosophy etc to the courts of others (including Muslims e.g. Baghdad).
Others came to study in India’s established universities. Indian children (boys and girls) were educated in the relatively widespread education system in a wide variety of subjects e.g. science, medicine and philosophy. India’s art and architecture was magnificent. They were a prosperous people. Then came Islam – slaughter, slavery, rape, violence, pillage; destruction of religious sites, art and architecture; poverty, exploitation, humiliation, famine, forced conversion, decline in intellectual pursuits, social destruction and a worsening of social ills. To Islam, anything that is not Islamic is from a time of ignorance –Jahiliyya- and must be destroyed (or appropriated and called Islam’s!). The onslaught created the Roma (gypsies), destroyed ‘Hindu’ Afghanistan and formed Pakistan (Kashmir) and Bangladesh .
The cost of the Muslim invasions is massive in lives, wealth and culture. Estimates suggest that 60-80 MILLION died at the hands of Muslim invaders and rulers between 1000 and 1525 alone (ie over 500 years-the population FELL). (Lal cited in Khan p 216) Impossible you think? In the war of Independence of Bangladesh, 1971, the Muslim Pakistani army killed 1.5-3 million people (mainly Hindus …) in just 9 MONTHS. (Khan p 216). The world looked the other way—but don’t we always when it’s Muslims committing the violence! [*The actual number of Hindus brutally slaughtered by Muslims were around 400 million, not 60-80 million, according to Firishta [1560-1620], the author of the Tarikh-i Firishta and the Gulshan-i Ibrahim].
The Islamic historians and scholars have recorded with utmost glee and pride of the slaughters of Hindus, forced conversions, abduction of Hindu women and children to slave-markets, and the destruction of temples carried out by the warriors of Islam during 800AD to 1700 AD. Millions of Hindus were converted to Islam by the sword in this period” (historian Durant cited in Khan p 201)
And Rizwan Salim (1997) writes what the Arab invaders really did:
‘ savages at a very low level of civilisation and no culture worth the name, from Arabia and West Asia, began entering India from the early century onwards. Islamic invaders demolished countless Hindu temples, shattered uncountable sculpture and idols, plundered innumerable forts and palaces of Hindu kings, killed vast numbers of Hindu men and carried off Hindu women. ………but many Indians do not seem to recognize that the alien Muslim marauders destroyed the historical evolution of the earth’s most mentally advanced civilisation, the most richly imaginative culture, and the most vigorously creative society.” (cited in Khan p 179)
Of course Indians pre-Islam, fought, but it was NOT the practice to enslave or ravage, or massacre, or destroy religious sites, or damage crops and farmers. Battles were usually conducted on open soil between military personnel. (Khan p 205-207) There was no concept of ‘booty’ so Indians were unprepared for Islam’s onslaught. Indigenous Indians were forced to flee to jungles and mountains, or face gruelling exploitation and taxes, slaughter or enslavement while their society was demeaned and destroyed. Muslims constantly attacked the indigenous, idolatrous population and also fought against each other in ceaseless revolts by generals, chiefs and princes during the entire time of Islamic rule (Khan p 205).
Slavery: Initially ‘India’ included part of today’s Pakistan (Sindh), Bangladesh/Bengal and Kashmir. Hinduism and Buddhism flourished in Afghanistan pre the Islamic takeover (7th century). In the 16th century Afghanistan was divided between the Muslim Mogul (Mughal) Empire of India and the Safavids of Persia.
Initially the godless Umayyads, allowed Hindus dhimmi status – possibly because of their large numbers, resistance to Islam and their value as a source of tax income. This violates Islamic text and law which demands death or conversion for idolaters and polytheists. When Sultan Iltutmish (d 1236) was asked why Hindus weren’t given the choice between death and Islam, he replied:
“but at the moment in India…the Muslims are so few that they are like salt (in a large dish) …however after a few years when in the capital and the regions and all the small towns, when the Muslims are well established and the troops are larger….it would be possible to give Hindus the choice of death or Islam” (cited in Lal [c] p 538) (Can we learn anything from this)
Despite their supposed ‘dhimmi’ status, mass slaughter, mass forced conversion and mass enslavement with the resulting forced conversion to Islam were practised throughout the Islamic rule and into the 20th century as many demanded the idolaters/polytheists convert or die. Hindu fighters and males were slaughtered with women and children enslaved. Eunuch slavery was practised on young boys.
Often actual numbers aren’t given, just comments like ‘countless captives/slaves,’ or ‘all the women and children were taken.’ Where numbers are recorded, they are terrifying. Along with people, the Muslims took everything they could—coins, jewels, cloths, clothes, furniture, idols, animals, grain etc or destroyed it.
Muslim rulers were foreigners. Until the 13th century, most slaves were sent out of India but following the Sultanate of Delhi (1206) they were retained to work for the sultanate, sold in India or sent elsewhere. Slaves from elsewhere were imported and Muslim armies were composed of a wide array of foreign slave groups ‘converted’ to Islam and ‘Hindus’ and Indian ‘converts.’
Slaves were the promised booty from Allah and obtaining them was a strong motivation for jihad.
“slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap; men…were degraded….but this is the goodness of Allah, who bestows honours on his own religion and degrades infidelity”. (Muslim chronicler Utbi on Sultan Subuktigin of Ghazni’s slave raid [942-997] in Sookdheo p166)
In Sindh (first area attacked successfully) the early ‘Muslim’ community was composed mainly of slaves forced into Islam and a small number of Arab masters (Khan p 299). Initially slaves were forced out of India eg Qasim (Arab), the conquerer of Sindh sent by Hajjaj bin Yusuf Sakifi in the caliphate of Walid I, took 300,000 from a 3 year campaign in 712-715 (Khan p 299, Trifkovic p 109). Muslim fighters came from everywhere to partake in this ‘jihad.’ Qasim was suddenly recalled and executed (possibly by being sown in an animal’s hide) for supposedly violating 2 Sindhi princesses destined for the caliph’s harem!! (Lal [c] p 439)
From 17 raids (997-1030) Sultan Muhmud Ghazni (Turk from Afghanistan, 997-1030) sent hundreds of thousands of slaves to Ghazni (Afghanistan) resulting in a loss of about 2 million people via slaughter or enslavement and sale outside India (Khan p 315). Chroniclers (eg Utbi, the sultan’s secretary) provide some numbers eg -from Thanesar, the Muslim army brought 200,000 captives back to Ghazni (Afghanistan). In 1019, 53,000 were taken. At one time the caliph’s 1/5th share was 150,000 suggesting 750,000 captives. 500,000 were taken in one campaign (at Waihind)(Lal [c] p 551) Mahmud’s secretary al-Utbi records:
“Swords flashed like lightening amid the blackness of clouds, and fountains of blood flowed like the fall of setting star. The friends of god defeated their opponents….the Musalmans wreaked their vengeance on the infidel enemies of god killing 15,000 of them…making them food of the beasts and birds of prey….god also bestowed on his friends such an amount of booty as was beyond all bounds and calculations, including 500,000 slaves beautiful men and women” (Khan p 191)
The Ghaznivid’s ruled in the ‘Islamic sultanate of the Punjab’ till 1186. Attacks in Kashmir, Hansi, and districts of the Punjab resulted in mass slaughter and enslavement eg 100,000 in a 1079 attack in the Punjab (Tarik –i-Alfi in Khan p 276-7, Lal [d] p 553)
Under the Ghaurivid rulers (Turks) eg Muhammad Ghauri (Afghani) and his military commander then ruler, Qutbuddin Aibak (r1206-1210), the Delhi sultanate was set up. Mass beheadings, enslavements, forced conversions, plunder and the destruction of temples continued. Slaves were incredibly plentiful. In 1195, Aibak took 20,000 slaves from Raja Bhim and 50,000 at Kalinjar (1202) (Lal [c] p 536).
“even the poor (Muslim) householder became owner of numerous slaves.’ (Khan 103, Lal [c] p 537).
Through the 13/14th century ruled by the Khilji (Khaljis) and Tughlaq’s, slavery grew as Islam spread. Thousands of slaves were sold at a low price everyday (Khan p 280). Alauddin Khilji’s (r 1296-1316) capture of slaves was stupendous and he shackled, chained and humiliated slaves (Lal [c] p 540). In the sack of Somnath alone he:
“took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000 and children of both sexes ..more than the pen can enumerate. The Mohammadan army brought the country to utter ruin, destroyed the lives of inhabitants, and plundered the cities and captured their offspring.” (historian cited in Bostom p 641, Lal [c] p 540)
Many thousands were massacred. Alauddin Khilji (r 1296-1316) had 50,000 slave BOYS in his personal service and 70,000 slaves worked continuously on his buildings.(Lal [c] p 541)
Women practised Jauhar (burning or killing oneself to avoid enslavement and rape) and sati.
The Sufi Amir Khusrau notes “the Turks, whenever they please, can seize, buy or sell any Hindu” (Lal [c] p 541).
1) Bostom, A. G. ‘The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic holy war and the fate of the non-Muslims.’ Prometheus Books. New York. 2005.
2) Khan, M. A. ‘Islamic Jihad: A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery.’ iUniverse, Bloomington, IN. 2009. (An Indian ex-Muslim) – FULL PDF BOOK HERE
3) Lal [a], K.S. Muslims invade India p 433-455 in Bostom (1) above.
4) Lal [b], K.S. Jihad under the Turks and jihad under the Mughals p 456-461 in Bostom (1) above.
5) Lal [c], K.S. Slave-taking during Muslim rule p535-548 in Bostom (1) above.
6) Lal [d], K.S. Enslavement of Hindus by Arab and Turkish invaders p 549-554 in bostom (1) above.
7) Lal [e], K.S. The Origins of Muslim slave system p 529-534 in bostom (1) above.
8) Reliance of the Traveller: A classic manual of Islamic sacred law. In Arabic with facing English Text, commentary and appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller Al-Misri, Ahmad ibn Naqib; Amana publications Maryland USA 1994.
9) Sookhdeo, P. ‘Global Jihad: The future in the face of Militant Islam.’ Isaac Publishing. 2007.
10) Trifkovic, S. ‘The sword of the prophet.’ Regina Orthodox Press, Inc. 2002.
11) Ye’or, Bat. ‘Islam and Dhimmitude: Where civilisations collide’ translated from the French by Miriam Kochan and David Littman. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2002, reprint 2005.