When confronted with attacks on all fronts, the social consolidation of identity-conscious Hindus becomes inevitable. Such a precedent is unwelcome for secularists, who, it seems, endeavor to thwart such consolidation. Further, they dismiss with ridicule any contention that Hindus are discriminated against. Such outright dismissal leads to further neglect and deprivation. Fabricated Indo-secular idioms of all sorts are bandied around to “placate” sentiments, but it is obvious to anyone with an iota of discernment that a good number of Indo-seculars are not conciliatory agents.
Secularists, it seems, are not very vocal to voice their condemnation when the Hindu community becomes victim of aggression. They, however, are overtly concerned at any such possibility for others, even when there is no foreseeable danger. Thus, so to make sure that no social consolidation of identity-conscious Hindus ever takes place, they throw around appeals to higher morality while guilt-tripping Hindus at the same time by naming and perpetually shaming them (sometimes even falsely) for acts of even minor aggression. Thus, phrases such as “Hindu religion ‘respects’ all religions” are thrown around relentlessly. These phrases are helpful in decontructing Hindu identity. On the other hand, the non-Hindu identity is upheld and enhanced by constantly dealing with them as religious groups. They are referred to as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parisis, etc. Such parlance creates social differences.
The Hindus by contrast are dealt with as a group only when they have to be named and shamed. Otherwise, they are spoken of in terms of caste groups, linguistic groups, gender groups, age groups etc.
As Hindus have to “consider all religions as equal”, their identity as a group is effectively nullified. Such appeals, it has to be observed, are never made to other religions. While any effort to minimise bloodshed is certainly commendable, it can easily be seen that minimising conflict has never been the intention of Indo-secularists. They enhance the conflict by falsely depicting “minorities” as perpetual victims of violence and bigotry at the hands of Hindus and completely overlooking acts of “minority aggression and fundamentalism”.
They enhance the conflict by inculcating into non-Hindus a feeling of victimhood and shielding their religion from reform by censorship and persecution of its critics. It is clear that deconstruction of Hindu identity is the sole purpose of these idioms. The immediate consequence is that “minorities” continue to enjoy social, economic and material benefits to the detriment of Hindus. The long-term consequence is deconstruction of Hindu identity to such a degree as not be able to put up any united front against oppression.
Eventually, Hindus have interiorised much of maliciously fabricated secular parlance. This post intends to examine a “secular” phrase which is supposedly taken from Hindu literature
एकं सद्विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति ekam sad viprā bahudhā vadanti
A Rgvedic phrase, this is supposedly taken to mean that “all religions are same”. A most common translation runs as “truth is one, wise call it by many names”. Is it really so?
This hymn comes from Rgveda samhita(1.164). The author of these series of hymns, according to anukramanis as well as by explicit appellation in the samhita itself, is Dirghatamas Aucathya. Dirghatamas was a philosopher (dirgha+tamas literally means “long night” as the philosopher contemplated into the skies) and this hymn was an enigmatic one.
Of relevance to this discussion is another hymn by the same author in the same series of the same mandala.
Scholarly translation (provided by Sanskrit linguist S W Jamison):
(I go) away (from the protection) of the rich man who lacks force, who gives nothing even when oblations are made, who, not seeking the gods, is never forthcoming.
The supposedly “secular” poet claims to walk away from a patron who does not properly conduct the Vedic ritual and does not seek Vedic gods. There is not even any trace of “all paths lead to same”, “all religions are equal, “truth one many names” etc.
It is thus clear that “secularism” is a back projection of modern ideas right into Bronze Age. The poem could only be understood when placed in its proper context.
The hymn containing the phrase “ekam sad vipra bahuda vadanti” is dedicated by its Brahman poet Dirghatamas to Godsvishvedas (literally meaning “all vedic gods”). According to vedic sources (Aitreya Aranyaka 5.3.2; Samkhyayanaka Aranyaka 2.18 etc), the hymn was recited at Mahavrata ritual, which falls on summer solstice according to Kaustiki Brahmana (19.3). This “solar” background should be noted at the outset.
The ekam (=one) of this verse is actually identified with sun in verse 6 of the same hymn. Just as in any typical Vedic hymn which identifies the ritual with formation of cosmos,Vedic gods are equated and said to be one, true to the spirit of a Vishvedevas hymn!
Word to word: Indram=Indra(Accusative); Mitram=Mitra(Accusative);Varunam=Varuna(Acc); Agnim=Agni(Acc); divyaḥ=Divine; sa=he; suparṇo=su+parna=well feathered; garutman=Garuda; Ekam=one; sat=truth; viprā=Brahmins; bahudhā=many; vadanti=they speak (plural third person). Yamam=Yama; Matarisvanam=Matarisvan.
Translation: They speak of it as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Agni, as also the , well-feathered Garuda Though truth is One, Brahmins speak of it in many ways. They say it is Agni, Yama, and Mātariśvan.
The verse eemphasizes the identity of 33 Vedic gods. It says the many gods the Brahmins speak of is one. Nowhere is any identification with “non-Hindu” gods. That “truth is one” is exclusive to Vedic gods is clear from another verse of Rigveda (7.21.5) which reads, “Let the Shishnadevas not penetrate our truth”. While Shishnadeva is translated as “phallus worshippers” (infact shishna=tail/penis) by most modern Sanskritists and Indologists, ancient Sanskrit grammarian and etymologist Yaska translated the word as “unchaste people”. Whatever the case, it seems that shishnadeva were religiously non-Vedic (gods?) and not party to “truth is one”. Neither is there any “secularism” nor “all religions are same”.
In fact, the Rgveda speaks of “others” as thus:
Around us is the Dasyu: riteless, void of thought, inhuman, keeping other rituals (Rgveda 10.22).
Here, a Dasyu is described as “riteless” (akarmah) and “keeping other rituals”(anyavrata). He is also called inhuman (amanusha). Prominent Indologists (Elst 1999, parpola 1998) have identified Dasyus with proto-Iranians, Proto-zoroastrians and even proto-sakas. This identification lies on a fact that Dahae is a self-designation for North Iranian tribes of Central Asia even today. The classical Greeks have also located Dahae in central Asia. Elst speculates that these Dasysus were Zarathustra’s followers. SW Jamison notes that in another verse of the aforementioned Dasyu hymn that the krpanas (=karapans), the vedic enemies of Zoroastrians, are mentioned favourably. Whatever the identity of Dasyus, it is clear that their religion and rituals differed (even if slightly) from Vedic Aryans. Yet, they were differentiated in very clear terms.
It should thus be concluded that ideas such as “all religions same” cannot be derived from Rgveda.
The said phrase “ekam sat…” happens to be one of the most popular idioms of modern Hinduism. Below, we compose a short account of its history.
To be sure, the said phrase is not unique. There are some philosophical proto-monistic hymns in the Rgveda. Notable is Rgveda 8.58.2, which says, “One has manifested into the whole world” (eka va idam vi babhau sarvam). Sayana considers this verse to be an answer to Rgveda 10.88.18, which asks, “how many fires, how many suns, how many dawns, how many waters? (katyaghnayaḥ kati sūryāsaḥkatyuṣāsaḥ katyu svidāpaḥ). However, modern Indologists point out that such hymns appear only in late Mandalas (1 and 10). RV 8.58 is from Bashakala collection. This khila hymn is absent from Sakalya edition and is devoid of any entry in Anukramani.
Yet, it is universally accepted that entire Rgveda in its current form is one of the oldest extant religious texts from Bronze Age. Prominent linguist and Sanskritist Michael Witzel (1989,2000) considers the entire Rgveda to be a “tape recording”. To quote him: “even minor accents were preserved”. Thus, these monistic verses could not have been much younger than the core, if at all. It could safely be presumed that nothing in the Rgveda dates to post second millennium BCE. The monistic philosophy is well expounded in Upanishads (notably ishopanishad).
Here arises the obvious question: why did this verse gain such prominence when similar hymns could well be found in the Rgveda samhita?
Aitreya Aranyaka (3.2.3) quotes another verse from the same hymn (1.64.39) which talks about divine speech (vac). While the ritual context is apparent (these hymns were recited at pravargya and mahavrata), there is no mention of “ekam sad”. Yet, the monistic orientation of AA is clear from the verse 2.2.2 “the one is everything that is known and heard” (sarve veda, sarve ghosha).
Ancient Sanskrit grammarian and etymologist Yaska(c. 600 BCE) in his Nirukta attributes this verse to terrestrial Agni (Yaska; swarup.122). Thus Yaska continues to treat the verse in its ritual context. The great vedic commentator Sayana (c.1350 AD) followed Yaska’s explanation.
Post Yaska, the verse fell into oblivion. Why? To be sure, the Vedic religion fell into general decline. The reasons postulated are:
The Vedic language became increasingly unintelligible.
Consecration of Vedas as ‘apaurusheya‘ (divine). Right from the early date it was collected and redacted, the Rgveda became very sacred. It was recited with utmost care in an oral manner and very faithfully transmitted. Barring a few exceptions (notably in Mundaka upanishad where nasadiya sukta was questioned), Nobody challenged its contents. Because they were kept out of purview of general debate, Vedic verses although recited and consecrated gradually went into decline.
The general eclipse of Vedic Hinduism with the emergence of Puranic Hinduism.
Yet, other Rgvedic verses which were recast into a puranic framework continued to be popular. Rgveda 3.62.10 came to be recast as “Gayatri mantra”. Rgveda 2.23.1 was recast as “Ganapati mantra”. Rgveda 7.59.12 was recast as “mrtyunjaya mantra”. These hymns happen to be popular even today. The inescapable conclusion is that “ekam sad..” was not as prominent as it is today.
Throughout the medieval period, there was not a single mention of this verse in the literature of Bhakti poets. Wherever the Bhakti poets concerned themselves with the veda, they claimed that “neti, neti” (literally meaning “not this, not this”) was the essence of Veda. Actually, this is a post-vedic upanishadic phrase and fits well into the philosophy espoused therein. Many bhakti saints (cf. Nanak, kabir, Namadeva, Tukaram, Srimanta Shankaradeva et al.) already interiorised some Islamic ideals and inculcated monotheism and anti-idolatrous ideology into their nirguni bhakti. Yet, no one had mentioned this verse to back their ideological stand. Even Dayananda Sarasvati, who set out to establish “vedic monotheism”, never mentioned this verse.
The verse was brought back from oblivion in the book History of Sanskrit Language, thanks to Indologist Max Mueller. Ironically, Max Mueller was one of the earliest exponents of “Aryan invasion theory”. (He is named and shamed by some Internet Hindus.) A staunch Lutheran, Mueller’s ultimate intention was to Christianise Hindus. Mueller was quick to label Rgvedic belief as “henotheistic”. These “monotheistic” verses were mentioned by other European historians with glee as it stretched their “monotheism” further back in time.
On Max Mueller, writes historian and bishop Edward William Cox (1875):
“…for many striking illustrations, we must refer to Max Mueller‘s history of Sanskrit language. …There is one verse which declares the existence of one divine being…. These verses cannot be later than ninth century before Christian era…”
The Hindus quickly reclaimed the verse. Swami Vivekananda wrote:
“The Being was perceived as one and the same. It was the perceives who makes the difference. Before the Mohammadean invasion, it was never known what religious persecution was. All that we owe to this one verse.”
[Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda]
Sri Aurobindo reiterated the idea and launched a scathing attack on “polytheists” and “Europeans”:
“Here Dayananda’s view is quite clear, its foundation inexpugnable. The Vedic hymns are chanted to the one Deity under many names which are used and even designed to express his qualities and powers. The Vedic rishis ought surely to have known something about their own religion, more, let us hope than Roth or Max Muller and this is what they knew… We are aware how modern scholars twist away from the evidence. This hymn they say was a late production, this loftier idea which it expresses with so clear a force rose up somehow in the later Aryan mind or was borrowed by those ignorant fire-worshippers, sun-worshippers, sky-worshippers from their cultured and philosophic Dravidian enemies. But throughout the Veda we have confirmatory hymns and expressions: Agni or Indra or another is expressly hymned as one with all the other gods. Agni contains all other divine powers within himself, the Maruts are described as all the gods, one deity is addressed by the names of others as well as his own, or most commonly, he is given as Lord and King of the universe, attributes only appropriate to the Supreme Deity. Ah, But that cannot mean, ought not to mean, the worship of One; let us invent a new word, call it henotheism (coined by Max Muller) and suppose that the Rishis did not really believe Indra or Agni to be the Supreme Deity but treated any god or every god as such for the nonce, perhaps that he might feel the more flattered and lend a more gracious ear for so hyperbolic a compliment! “But why should not the foundation of Vedic thought be natural monotheism rather than this new-fangled monstrosity of henotheism?” Well, because primitive barbarians could not possibly have risen to such high conceptions and, if you allow them to have so risen, you imperil our (Western) theory of the evolutionary stage of the human development and you destroy our whole idea about the sense of the Vedic hymns and their place in the history of mankind… Immediately the whole character of the Veda is fixed in the sense Dayananda gave to it; the merely ritual, mythological, polytheistic interpretation of Sayana collapses, the merely meteorological and naturalistic European interpretation collapses. We have instead a real Scripture, one of the world’s sacred books and the divine word of a lofty and noble religion.”
[Source: Aurobindo, World perspectives on Swami Dayananda Saraswati, page 146]
A few remarks are in order. Here, Sri Aurobindo used the term “polytheist” in a derogatory manner. He also explicitly stated that monotheism was superior to “sun worship.. sky worship.. fire worship”. He criticized the “ritualistic, mythological” interpretation of Sayana on equal footing with “naturalistic” European interpretation. Monotheism was, in his words, “high conception”. Why?
During this period, the Christians had indulged in a full invective against Hinduism. To be sure, anti-polytheist and anti-idolatrous ideologies of Islamic age ruled the roost prior to this period and many Hindus internalised these thoughts. Against this background emerged the Christian attacks on Hinduism as “polytheist” or “idolatrous”. These invectives had been ingrained deeply into the psyche of the society by the popular nirguni bhakti poems. That “polytheism is a vice” was a ubiquitously accepted stand.
Consider the below statement of Angarika Dharmapala (c.1900 AD), Srilankan Buddhist Theravada monk and a personal friend of Vivekananda:
“Christianity and polytheism are responsible for the vulgar practices of killing animals, stealing, prostitution, licentiousness, lying and drunkenness.”
[Source: Dharmapala, History of Ancient Civilisations]
The “polytheism” used in a very derogatory manner in this quote was actually a reference to Hinduism. If such was the parlance Buddhists used towards “polytheistic Hinduism”, one could well imagine what invectives Christians would have hurled. Polytheism and idolatry were universally considered vices, and such attitude was deeply ingrained in the newly emerging native catholic schooled Indian scholars. This environment led to genesis of sects such as Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj. Swami Vivekanada and Aurobindo did not question the roots and history of monotheism, which they themselves partly interiorised. It must be remembered that they were not privy to vast scholarly literature and bloody history of monotheism which are available to us today. Thus, they had no intention to strike at the roots of monotheism. Instead, they busied themselves in an easier and more important task of rescuing Hinduism by disassociating it with idolatry and polytheism. In such a scenario, this verse “ekam sad”, rediscovered by Christians who were keen to push their monotheism into antiquity and attack medieval Hinduism, came in very handy and was readily adopted by Hindus. It elucidated the “original” character of Hinduism as “noble monotheism”. These Hindu reformists then argued that later Hinduism lapsed into polytheism and idolatry out of ignorance. The Arya Samajis also got into swift action and started using this phrase to back up their monotheistic ideology. They translated “ekam sat” as “one God”, in accordance with their claims.
Otherwise, it could well be argued that ritualism and polytheism is the essence of Rgveda. Rgveda 8.30 (said to be recited by Manu himself) says “not one of you is small. not one of you is feeble. All of you are verily great. Thus be you lauded, you thirty-three deities”. The ritual context is apparent in verses, such as, “Adhvaryus, be ye ready with oblations.. Go to the reservoir, O ye Adhvaryus worship Apam Napat” (Rgveda 10.30). Infact, it is explicitly clear from the text that a large number of Rgvedic hymns were composed on the ritual ground.
While the Hindu reformists continued to use this phrase to project Hinduism as a monotheistic religion, Indo-secularists came into action by attributing their version of “secularism” to it. This is especially true after independence as “monotheism” fell out of fashion and “secularism” became the new fad. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and DS Sharma used the phrase in support of Gandhi’s sarva dharma sama bhava.
“His idea of swaraj, is only an expression in political terms of the Hindu doctrine ekam sad vipra bahuda vadanti.”
[Source: Gandhi, edited by Sarvapalli Radhakrishan]
The truth, however, is that Gandhi’s “sarva dharma sama bhava” is a spurious phrase which is not found anywhere. It was coined by Gandhi himself to support his equally spurious concept of religious secularism. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan strived to fabricate a vedic background for Gandhi’s spurious claims, and had but to subvert the essence of “ekam sad”.
The phrase continues to be in use by staunch Congress politicians such as Mani Shankar Aiyar (Rajiv Gandhi’s India, 1998) and Shashi Tharoor.
Recently, the phrase has acquired another meaning. On November 30, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that his “idea of India” is “ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti”. It seems now that the verse also comes in handy for BJP secularists who are desperate to prove their secularism to Indo-secularists.
In conclusion, it could be said that the usage of this verse provides great insights into the history of changing political and religious discourse in India. It has been subject to ritualist, monist, monotheist, Indo-secularist and “Hindutvo-secularist” interpretations according to the given day.
It is unfortunate that in the year 2018, India is witnessing caste clashes which, if unchecked, could blow into a major civil war. We are seeing Media and “Youth” politicians like Jignesh Mevani and Rahul Gandhi adding to the conflagration of caste politics.
This is what Rahul Gandhi tweeted:
The current President is a Hindu who comes from the Dalit community and he is the chief executive. He became the President when RSS/BJP are ruling at the Centre. Yet, a PM aspirant tweeted this falsehood.
To top it all, our Media that is perpetually on a spree of “Breaking News”, has added fuel to the fire by portraying it as a “Dalit vs Hindu “ issue.
For a really long time, we have been wanting to highlight how History has been, and still is, twisted by vested interests to exploit, existing or imaginary, fault lines within the Indian society. Most of the time, we have found media outlets acting as catalysts. They act as a platform for disseminating atrocity content. One such example of manufactured atrocity porn that was doing the rounds on Social Media came to our notice.
In the last few years, the fifth column has been working hard to foment and hype inter-caste fissures among Hindus. These entities (vested interests) in India, often aided from abroad, keep attempting to exploit internal, existing or imaginary, fault lines of the Indian society. They rely extensively on atrocity content to promote distrust among communities or groups of people. National and Global media and myriad “scholars’ of Indology and “South Asian Studies” have also been found to be acting as conduits.
These forces are determined to inculcate the feeling of victimhood internally among some communities within Hinduism to ensure that unity in the Hindu society does not get fortified.
They also try to create groups based on faith and gender.
The Koregoan battle is just one of the many battles fought between the British and the Marathas. But suddenly it is in the news. Why should this battle, hardly an indecipherable footnote of history, be in the news now? Because, the fifth column has been trying hard (without success) to search for one battle in History where Dalits battled Brahmins. There are no such battles. This is the only such event, the facts of which, when twisted provide a good template to write atrocity porn – demonize one community (Brahmins) and inculcate the feeling of victimhood in another (Mahars/Dalits).
As we will show in the article, Koregaon was NOT a battle between Dalits and “Upper Castes”. The British did NOT win in this battle. More importantly, we will show that this “Dalits against non-Dalits” narrative, where only the former are oppressed, and only the latter are oppressors, is the most misleading misconception perpetuated over the years to paint Hinduism as a proponent of segregation.
We are writing this post not only to refute this article, but also as a case study to highlight how you can identify atrocity content. In that way, it is a rebuttal to all those posts that use this set template!
The column begins with complete falsehood.
The commemoration and celebration of Bhima Koregaon revolves around the defeat of Peshwas by the untouchable soldiers of the colonial army at that time.
The commemoration and celebration of Bhima Koregaon revolves around the defeat of Peshwas by the untouchable soldiers of the colonial army at that time.
The fact is that the battle was between the British and the Peshwas. Fact also is that the Peshwas were NOT defeated in this battle. We have the documentary evidence of James Grant Duff, a soldier and prominent historian of that time, to corroborate the same.
Even if we forget Duff’s written evidence and believe that the British won the battle, how does it become a Dalit victory instead of a British victory? Did the British side have even a single Mahar/Dalit in any prominent position in this battle? Can they name one Dalit lieutenant fighting for British in this battle? The answer is an emphatic NO. The British did not give any Dalit such position. If Mahar foot soldiers being a part of the British side makes it a Mahar victory, then India has undoubtedly won both the World wars! And why stop at that? A creative mind could also argue that the First War of Indian Independence in 1857 is also a Dalit victory over Brahmins since Mazhabi Dalit Sikhs and Bombay regiment Mahars of British Army defeated the mutiny led by Brahmins such as Mangal Pande, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Tanttya Tope and Peshwa Nana Saheb.
However, since fiction is not our forte, we will stick to facts. And the fact is that it cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be considered a British win. It was a British retreat. Even the British had initially not claimed it as a victory. During the course of Parliamentary debates in March 1819, the British had described their feats at Koregaon as follows
“In the end, they secured not only unmolested retreat, they also carried off their wounded”
If anything, far from a “victory”, the British failed in their mission. The British on January 1, 1818, took their troops from Seroor towards Pune with an intention to invade and conquer the Peshwa capital. They were unexpectedly intercepted by Marathas midway at Koregaon. They were heavily outnumbered. Yes, both the British and their sepoys, (both Dalit and Non Dalit), fought bravely and inflicted casualties on Marathas. But they also had to suffer many casualties and abort their Pune mission to retreat back to Seroor
And how did British show their gratitude to these Dalits who had laid down their lives? They stopped recruiting Mahars in their Army in 1892 , citing the reason that “Mahars are not a martial race but low caste untouchables”. Further, most of the nomadic and former “untouchable castes” were classified by British as “Criminal Tribes”. All members of castes were declared inherently “criminal” and restrictions were imposed on their movement. All male members of these communities had to report weekly to local police. As Stephen Cohen shows, the British after conquering India simply dismissed “untouchables” as “useless soldiers”. They drew sharp caste lines by recruiting “handsome men from high castes”
Why bother to recruit the “dhobi [an untouchable washerman caste battalions,” one series of articles in the Pioneer argued, if they could not be trusted against the formidable Pathans. Untouchables were docile creatures, perhaps suitable for internal guard duty or labor battalions, but otherwise useless as soldiers….. “largest, handsomest, and cleverest looking men were undoubtedly the high castes”
When British stopped recruiting Dalit Mahars in British Army because of their “Aryan” and “Martial race” theories, the Mahars sent a request to British wherein they claimed they were Kshatriyas and requested British to enroll them. It is to be noted that Mahars of British Army were nothing like Jignesh Mevanis of today. Ambedkar’s father was also a Mahar soldier and he was a devout Hindu. He kept reciting the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It is ironical that the current day “Dalit” Yuva Netas are glorifying the British and their victories.
The column further states,
Acknowledging and remembering this battle – by turning up in such large numbers and assembling at the site – actually runs counter to the normative aspect of the caste system, which does not allow space to a Dalit to act as a militant.
Ancient Hindu scriptures like the Manusmriti have mentioned very clearly that a Dalit, or the lower caste Shudras and the Ati-Shudras, do not have the right to even have this force in their defence. Koregaon remembrance also goes against this very idea of what we call caste normalcy.
It challenges the dominant Hindu-nationalist perspective about Dalits – as a polite, manageable community silently suffering the existing caste hierarchies and caste injustice. By celebrating Koregaon in this manner, Dalits are saying ‘No’. They are saying: “We will celebrate the militancy that is part of our history”. Upper castes have either stifled our histories, or twisted them because they don’t find them suitable for continuing their narrative of Hindu nationalism. To retain their hold on history, they reject the notion of parallel histories.
You cannot miss the atrocity porn 101 in display above. A marked characteristic of atrocity writing is that it unfailingly projects the past into the present. The column, written in the 21st century, uses a made-up victory of an incident involving Mahars in the 19th century , to make the commemoration of an “imaginary” British win, a part of Dalit struggle.
Moreover, the column says that the Hindu society did not allow Dalits to equip themselves (“militarize themselves”) and carry arms. Interestingly, these claims are nullified by Mahars themselves. According to tradition of the largest section of Mahars, Somavamshi Mahars, their ancestors fought with Pandavas in the Mahabharata war.
If they were not allowed to fight or defend, how did this tradition come about?
One could dismiss the tradition as pure legend, but we cannot ignore that Mahars fought in Shivaji’s Army. Or that Shivnak Mahar was gifted the village of Kalambi by Rajaram, Shivaji’s son. Or that Shivnak’s grandson, also named Shivnak Mahar, saved the life of Pureshwaram Bhau in the battle of Kharda in 1795 against Nizam. In fact, when some people objected to Shivnak Mahar’s presence in the Maratha camp, the Peshwa’s Brahmin advisor Hiroji Patankar told them that in warfare there should be no concern for caste. Nagnak Mahar captured fort of Vairatgad from Muslims and gave it to Rajaram. He was made Patil of Satara
Making these facts public would spoil the narrative that can fuel riots. No wonder, we have not heard the caste warriors proclaim these documented realities.
Any sane person would be shocked by the felicitation of the “supposed” victory of a Colonial power from another country over natives facilitated by fellow citizens. What makes it sickening is that the British Army comprised of people from various communities and not just the Mahars. Similarly, as noted by British observers like Major Dirom, the Peshwa Infantry consisted of people from low castes. Therefore, even when soldiers from either side were killed, it included Indians from various communities. It also means that the Mahars of the British Army fought against the Dalits of the Peshwa Army.
How does it then become some Mahar against Peshwa battle instead of a British versus Indians battle? The “Mahars” of the British forces also killed Indians (who included Dalits) of the Peshwa Army and this is celebrated in 21st century India!
Have you found anyone glorifying Shivnak Mahar? You won’t, for, glorifying him takes the wind out of the sails of these forces that want to create caste wars in India.
One may ask as to how did the Mahars end up in the British Army? It is not as if the British ran some training college and recruited candidates from there! There is a long history of Mahars serving in the Maratha Army, for, the Peshwas recruited them in good numbers. Mahars capitalized on this experience in Peshwa’s army, became acquainted with warfare and were able to enlist themselves in British Army
It is to be noted that the Mahars and Peshwas had a cordial relationship. To begin with, Peshwa Madhavrao in c.1770 CE abolished Veth or extraction of forced labor from lower castes/classes. Every kind of service began to be paid in cash Already before he was a Peshwa, Madhavrao in 1747 had granted 300 hectares as tax free land to “lower caste” communities like Kolis, Ramosis and Mahars. Under these Mahars and other “lower castes”, many Hillmen were posted as guards. Madhavrao’s deed was not without historical precedent. Already during Shivaji’s time, his Brahman commander Mahadaji Nilkanthrao bestowed a naik vatan of Purandar fort to two Mahars. 40 guards were placed under the command of each Mahar
One incident particularly illustrates the social condition of Mahars under Peshwa rule. In 1748, the Mahars of Paudkhor district appealed to the district official as follows
It was the custom that Vatandai Joshi officiates as the priest at the marriages of us Mahars. In other districts too, a Brähmana is to officiate at the marriages of Mahars. However a dispute over the transaction (denen ghenen) between us and Joshis arose and Joshis stopped officiating at our marriages. This state of affairs has been continuing for some 15 or 20 years. So we beg you to restore the matter as before, taking the custom of other districts into consideration.
Basically, a group of Brahmans of Paudkhor district had refused officiating at Mahar Marriages owing to some dispute. The Peshwas did not take kindly to this gesture and ordered these Brahmans to officiate at Mahar weddings (ASS 1-74). They even levied a fine of 10 rupees and forced the Brahmans to officiate at Mahar weddings
This does not seem to be an oppressive behavior towards Mahars. It was only after relentless appeals by Brahmans that an enquiry was conducted and the Brahmans were given the option of not officiating at Mahar marriages for this district although they always had to officiate for Mahars and other Dalits in other districts.
It is to be noted that Mahars enjoyed great prominence in certain rituals. When Panwar Rajputs celebrated Narayan Deo festival, they invited Mahars to partake the first Prasad
In the Shanti festival, it was Mahars who played prominent role. In British India, 20 Mahars wanted to convert to Islam, but turned back on being refused to be admitted into Mosque
One big tendency of the so-called caste warriors is to bracket everyone from the “low caste” as “Dalits” and create an illusion of a Dalit against non-Dalits society, where only the non-Dalits “oppressed” Dalits. Nothing can be farther from truth. Many authors have documented how caste behavior was practiced even within the so called “low castes”. One Dalit sub-caste ill-treating the other (considered lower in social order), was largely prevalent and no amount of white washing can falsify this fact.
It is to be noted how the Mahars themselves ill-treated the Mangs (whom the Mahars considered lower to them). To begin with, Mahars did not accept food from the castes such as Mang and Bhangi whom the Mahars considered to be polluted. When a Mang bridegroom rode a horse as against a bull, the Mahars made an official complaint against them.
According to Mahars, only their grooms had the right to ride the horses and not those of Mangs . Mahars sent appeals to Peshwa urging him to prohibit Mang grooms from riding horses and stay content with riding bulls.
Horse was a status symbol and Mahars felt only they and not the Mang were entitled to this privilege. Mahar superiority over fellow Dalit Mangs had nothing to do with Varna or Smriti. . No Smriti says Mahars had any privilege over their fellow Dalit Mangs. In support to their appeal, the Mahars did not refer to any Smriti but pointed to an existing state of things and existing relative tribal order of their society. As Mahars enjoyed cordial relations with Peshwa, their request was accepted and Mang grooms were forbidden to mount horses.
Is it any surprise, then, that Mang considered Mahars as their arch enemies and delighted in decapitated the heads of Mahars? The Gazetteer observes “The proudest moment of a Mang’s life is said to be when he hangs a Mahar”. By contrast, both the Mahar and Mang employed Brahmans wherever available. What was common to Mahars and Mangs was they respected the Brahmans and followed Hindu traditions. It was a Hindu festival named Shanti dedicated to Mother Goddess which made Mahars and Mangs as well as Dalits and non Dalits put aside their differences and celebrate the festival together, acting as a unifier.
Looking at caste with colonial glasses makes one overlook the more obvious aspect of Tribalism. In fact, it was British who solidified tribal caste boundaries. Yes, the British initially recruited Mahars because in early decades of 19th century they were not in any position to choose. As we have seen, the British stopped Mahar recruitment by 1892 and preferred “handsome high caste men” in army. Introduction of postal services dealt a blow to traditional jobs of Mahars as “messengers”. Thus like many other low castes, Mahars had to migrate to urban centres of British India. In this environment, they became low paid labourers in their traditional professions. The recruitment to menial jobs were done on basis of caste and caste divisions were reinforced like never before
In colonial hospitals and medical colleges, many of the north Indian funerary specialists
known as Doms were employed as mortuary attendants and dissecting-room assistants. In textile production too, mill hands were often from the groups which had come to be identified as ‘impure’ or unclean
Far from the fluid, open-ended labour and tenancy relationships in rural environments of Peshwa’s Maharashtra, the Dalits became subject to caste conventions like never before in towns of British India 
Thus, we agree with Indologist Susan Bayly when she says that untouchability as we know it is largely a product of British colonialism
Untouchability as we now know it is thus very largely a product of colonial modernity, taking shape against a background of new economic opportunities including recruitment to the mills, docks and Public Works Departments, and to the labour corps which supported both the British and sepoy regiments
Instead of making Manu the villain and attributing every blame to his Smriti, perhaps all Hindus need to wake up and read all the texts that are painted as fountainhead of discrimination. Caste discrimination existed and exists even now in our society. This is an undeniable fact and we should all work towards eliminating it. Instead of attributing all the blame of discrimination on one Smriti and one community, we should ask how much of our inherent tribalism was responsible. We should also ask whether by blaming one community we are only rekindling the same tribalism and furthering Caste animosities.
This is what we need to be aware of, and rise against. Please make sure that this is your year of awareness. Do not allow vested interests to divide the great tradition of Sanatan. Explore. Find out for yourself if what they are demonizing is indeed wicked or simply a stick for them to beat and divide us with. Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached. We stand with Dalits in general and Mahars in particular. We are proud of their martial history and wish to remind them of their Mahabharata tradition. We caution them against forces who are bent on destroying social fabric of our society.
We leave you with these lines from the Kathopnishad.
उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत,
क्षुरासन्न धारा निशिता दुरत्यद्दुर्गम पथ: तत् कवयो वदन्ति |
Arise! Awake! Approach the great and learn.
Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path,
so the wise say−hard to tread and difficult to cross.
 Sharaddha Kumbhojkar, Politics, Caste and remembrance of the Raj pp.40
Revival of Buddhism in Modern India Page 81
Bates, Crispin (1995). “Race, Caste and Tribe in Central India: the early origins of Indian anthropometry”. In Robb, Peter. The Concept of Race in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 227.
The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India Vol IV pp 132.133
Jadunath Sarkar, Shivaji and his Times, P.363
 KV Kotawale, politics of the Dalits. 1974 pp 142-145
 V.Longer, Forefront for Ever: The History of the Mahar Regiment p.12
 Christophe Jaffrelot, Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste p.19
 GS Sardesai, New History of the Marathas: The expansion of the Maratha power, 1707-1772 p.346
 Kotani, CASTE SYSTEM, UNTOUCH ABILITY AND THE DEPRESSED p.70
 Ibid P.70
 Ibid P.73
 The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India Vol IV pp 131
 Ibid P.139
 Gazetteer of the Bombay presidency 1885 pp.440
 1776. SSRPD VI-816
 Gazetteer of the Bombay presidency 1885 pp.443
 Susan Bayly, Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age pp.226
TOI Smear Campaign : Blatant,Defamatory Lies and Vitriol of TOI Editor
I am a private citizen who is extremely interested in Indian history. The fact that I read Marxist historian Romila Thapar’s works at the age of 13, should indicate my fascination with History. I used to be in awe of her work until I started examining primary sources which made me realise the huge disparity between our history books and the truth of the facts revealed by primary sources.
That is when I took a resolve to present history based on facts. It does not matter if people, brainwashed by mainstreamed Marxist History, treat what I share as alternate History. They are bound to be convinced when they refer the primary sources that I share. That is why I spend my free time on Twitter and other Social Media Sites and record history based on primary sources. That is what I do. A private citizen who utilizes his personal time to share History.
Am not any political or social activist, nor do I harbour any notions of becoming one. Yet, I have been targeted by the Mainstream Establishment through overt and covert ways. I am not writing this post to cry victim. That is NOT my intent.
I am writing it simply to show how the Media collaborates to suppress those individuals who present facts that do not match their own opinions. Let it serve as a mirror to the self-attested intellectuals who keep pontificating on FoE on the one hand and show utter contempt for the the FoE of a private citizen. They have no tolerance for the views of others, even if those views are based on hard facts!
This gang has, time and again, sought to defame and discredit me, a private citizen, through means fair and foul. Most of you would be aware of the daily, dim-witted diatribe from the left inclined tweeple on my TL, which I largely choose to ignore.
It began by ranting how anonymous handles circulate falsehood and cites an example of how a false picture of Tipu Sultan was circulated all over the internet, this Tipu Jayanti. And it names me among the list of handles who circulate falsehood.
Last week, as Karnataka observed Tipu Sultan Jayanti, the social media universe exploded with right-wing rage. A photograph with the tag ‘the real Tipu Sultan’ was circulated on Twitter and Facebook, accompanied by vitriolic comments.In fact, the photo was of a Zanzibari slave trader named Tippu Tip … This refusal to think is what the thriving factory of fake history exploits, and is the reason it has been so successful at polarising opinion. This fake history factory found many gullible victims. …Many anonymous Twitter handles regularly peddle falsehoods
The very first paragraph shows what a shameless liar this author Manimugdha Sharma is. I have never circulated any picture of “real Tipu Sultan”. In fact, I have clarified more than a year ago, on my TL, that we do NOT have any pictures of Tipu Sultan
Rather than crediting me for clearing a misconception, this man behaves as though he made some brilliant discovery and shamelessly rants how I am distorting history. Unlike this biased author who only rants about right wing and shamelessly keeps quiet when his friends and masters peddle falsehood, I am neutral at busting propaganda. Not only have I called out the fake picture of Tipu, I have also called out ignorance and falsehood peddled in the name of history by his friend and self-proclaimed historian Rana Safvi .
Here this self-proclaimed historian claims that Hindus do not worship buffaloes because “Aryans were a pastoral society and buffaloes were not present in India then”. This is laughable statement and shows how ignorant and fake these Gangi Jamuni Tehzeebi “historians” are. There are several mentions of Buffalo in Rig Veda. The great Indologist AA Macdonnel writes the following in his book “Vedic Index”
Of course, you will never find people like Manimugdha Sharma talking about these blatant inaccuracies peddled by his leftist friends. He cares for propaganda, not facts.
The article then accuses me of Photoshopping content. It says
Many anonymous Twitter handles regularly peddle falsehoods with the help of photo-editing tools. These then go viral as verified handles, even celebrities, retweet them, either because they are genuinely taken in, or because they suffer from heavy confirmation bias. One such anonymous handle is TrueIndology…..
I was completely shocked to read this shameless lie, for, I CANNOT EVER photoshop pictures, leave alone, post them on twitter. Why? Because my “photoshopping” skills don’t go beyond cropping or enlarging pictures using basic tools like MS Paint!
The article continues,
One such anonymous handle is TrueIndology, which, according to Pratik Sinha of AltNews, is a “serial faker”.
I was sickened to see blatant ad-hominem carried against me in a Mainstream newspaper. ToI, a National Daily published what one Pratik Sinha thinks about me. Imagine the depth to which a Mainstream newspaper has sunk to – publishing ad-hominem and abuse directed at me by those who are intolerant to my view of history.
How does it matter what others think of me? Tomorrow, I might claim that according to my friend, TOI author Manimugdha Sharma is a cheap stalker and sexual abuser. I am as much a serial faker as Manimugdha Sharma is a rapist. But I will, definitely, not post an article in ToI about Manimugdha Sharma being an abuser, without any evidence. However, TOI and Pratik Sinha have claimed that I have photoshopped pictures, without a shred of evidence!
The article says
AltNews had busted the propaganda of this handle in a series of articles earlier this year
What I write is “propaganda” because TOI and Pratik Sinha don’t agree with it. This is how the intolerant, mainstream establishment labels and smears those who do not share their worldview. It is laughable to see supposed Journalists like Manimugdha Sharma (TOI ) and Pratik Sinha calling my twitter feed as “propaganda”. I do not earn a penny for what I do on social media in my free time. My blog does not have any Adsense, even when my articles fetch better traffic than many TOI articles. And I am definitely not the one clamouring for donations to carry hit-jobs like the lying altnews.
I am a private citizen and NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE, has the right to call me names, even if the content of my twitter feed is wrong. These brazen-faced, two-bit liars are doing exactly what they are accusing me of. They are indulging in disgusting propaganda and smear campaign against a private citizen because they cannot tolerate my views.
Four months ago, AltNews carried a hit Job against me where they scanned through my TL to dig out a few 2 years old tweets, took them out of context, even picked a few semantic mistakes here and there, to weave a series of posts with such an insipid title as “True Fraudology”.
These blue-eyed boys of the mainstream media neither respected my FOE nor thought of checking with me to find out my views. The jury on me was out even before I saw the article. It did not occur to them that I am a private citizen and it was none of their business even if I posted Porn on my twitter feed.
What they posted was pathetic. Their hash job, which was supposed to “bust” my “propaganda”, was erroneous and full of more lies and mistakes than the “Truth of Gujarat” blog run by Pratik Sinha, who fraudulently passes off a medieval temple for a “Neolithic site”. That series of posts was full of lies, ignorance, fakery and arrogance.
Despite being aware of the malafide intention of AltNews and its fakery champion founder, I chose to pen a comprehensive response to all his lies here . I responded to each and every false accusation, even when I was answerable to NONE, for, I wanted to give them a last benefit of the doubt. A moral media outlet would have simply acknowledged its mistake and taken off the articles full of blatant lies and personal smearing. It has been 5 months and they have neither answered me nor corrected themselves/taken off the piece. Instead, they have used the same piece for a hit job in the print media.
Their intention, obviously, has never been to have a proper discourse. They have always wanted to use lies and deception to smear, abuse and harass me, a private citizen, and destroy my reputation because I am writing something that does not toe their view of history.
The article continues
TrueIndology has over 58,000 followers, and most of its tweets stick to the now standard right-wing template — show Muslims in poor light, glorify Hindus, abuse lefties and liberals — and if you can’t find facts, just fake it.
Did you see that? Even more generalised stereotyping. Apparently, there is a right-wing template – show Muslims in poor light, glorify Hindus, abuse lefties and liberals.
Curiously, Manimugdha Sharma projects onto me, what is actually, his mind-set and modus operandi. Here are few tweets of his that highlight what I mean.
You can see how “Manimughal Sharma” makes fun of Vedic Hindus because they believe in Vimanas and shows them in poor light. He insults Hindus and talks of “saffron weed” because saffron is sacred to Hindus. He lampoons Hindus when a cow is killed because some Hindus consider it sacred. He even insults Lord Krishna and says that Lord Krishna uses soap made of cow dung.
Such communal tweets, which create hatred and communal tension in society, should be outrightly avoided by people who become editors. One might think that he is a rationalist who ridicules religion and is entitled to his FOE. But this respectful reverence to Prophet of another religion shows that his hatred is targeted.
At any rate, this person is doing exactly what he falsely and dishonestly accuses me of- hating and targeting one community and glorifying another.
How dare ToI and its Editor insinuate that my TL is anti-Muslim? I challenge them to show me a single derogatory tweet on my TL about their Prophet. I am perfectly within my right to exercise this FOE but I won’t write disrespectful stuff, unlike the bigoted Manimugdha Sharma. These people conveniently label anyone who does follow their lead as anti-Muslim. They smear and attempt to silence anyone who calls out their ignorance and fakery.
This entire TOI piece is a rant against the supposed “right wing” but if they expect people to humbly suffer their insults, they are in for a rude awakening. I have interacted with this person on Twitter, but never abused him. Yet he tried to stereotype me as an abuser only because I dared to counter him with facts.
Let us look at the online communication of our “holier than thou” ToI Editor. Seems like he needs to look no further than his mirror to see what an abuser looks like:
The ToI Editor further writes,
In one instance, this handle tweeted out a photo of 1984 anti-Sikh riots at Chandni Chowk and said it was a photo of Congress workers burning down houses of Brahmins after Gandhi’s assassination in 1948.
Yes, I did that. It is absolutely true that Congress workers killed Brahmins (I have given sources in my article to show this indisputable fact). I had actually misplaced the picture under a different folder I had stored in my PC and hence I posted a wrong picture. I have accepted this mistake of mine at the end of my article. This was one of thousands of pictures I have posted and there are bound to be a few mistakes. Despite my admission in a very public post, they used it to smear me.
The TOI editor writes
In another, it tweeted a photo of a nomadic settlement in Afghanistan and declared it the original architecture of the Mughals before they came to India
I did no such thing. I gave picture of tent to show the kind of tents Mughals had before coming to India. I have clarified everything in my long response. Of course, this TOI reporter did not bother to see it. Pratik Sinha did not bother to counter it. They are not interested in any dialog. They will only misinterpret, take things out of context and smear people who do not hold their views.
But I know what bothers “Mani-Mughal” Sharma. I stated in my article that Mughals by themselves could not construct anything more than tents (like the ones I have shown in the picture) when they were just about to come to India. If this bothers him, he should write a rebuttal to my post. He could not do that. Like a coward, he misused his position to rant and complain before national audience, without any basis.
And he concludes
In another, it tweeted a photo of a nomadic settlement in Afghanistan and declared it the original architecture of the Mughals before they came to India — a regurgitation of the old Hindu nationalist fantasy that all Mughal buildings were originally Hindu temples and palaces.
Another blatant falsehood written by this shameless editor to smear me. I challenge him to show me where I said “all Mughal buildings were Hindu temples and palaces”. I challenge him to show me where I have claimed Taj Mahal was a Hindu building. All my claims are backed by scholarly sources on the basis of Epigraphy/Archaeology.
Now let us look at some interesting snippets of the “history buff” ToI Editor who mocks the Modi Government for not getting History right, chiding them with, “Ranjit singh died in 1839. How could you say he gifted Kohinoor in 1850?”, fraudulently stating Modi Govt made a claim that Ranjit Singh gifted the Kohinoor.
Except that Modi Government made no such claim. The link given in his tweet records them saying that “it was gifted by Maharaja Duleep Singh”.
This cheap, dishonest fakery passes off as “intellectual criticism of Modi Govt” in TOI circles.
Moving on to another instance, the ToI Editor shares the image of Lord Krishna on the walls of the Mughal Fort, without clarifying that it belongs to the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and has no connection with the Mughals, per se. This, despite a user asking him to clarify.
For Manimughal Sharma and his ilk, Krishna could be mocked and verbally smeared with cowd ung but anything relating to Krishna needs to associated with Mughals and they should be portrayed as tolerant. It does not matter even if it is not related to Mughals at all.
And look at him here, proclaiming the majesty of a Mathura Style piece as that from the Gandhara Style!
There have been instances when I have corrected this ToI Editor in order to ensure that facts are presented to the general public, instances where this man resorted to blatant lies ( he denied there was a farman by Aurangzeb against Diwali fireworks) or partial quoting (in case of Humayun) to whitewash Mughal history and portray them as tolerant rulers.
Despite being a History Major, this individual, who is obviously in need of a “History for Beginners and Now” Tutorial, writes in a Mainstream Media outlet on history and tries to take out personal animosity, using a false piece, to smear my credibility, citing a largely discredited individual as a source. It would have been laughable, had it not been despicable.
Now, that we have seen the exploits of the ignorant ToI Editor Manimugdha Sharma, who is full of scorn and venom for Hindus, let us see the feats of Pratik Sinha pimped by Manimugdha Sharma as some sort of a certifying authority.
When I punctured the pathetic series of lies concocted by Pratik Sinha and AltNews, for its fakery, they ostriched it out by not acknowledging my response. Not only that, when I caught him lying several times, he did not show the courage to accept his errors.
Only once did he ever come close to accepting anything and even in that instance, he began by fraudulently accusing me of passing off a famine pic as a Hindu-Muslim riot pic.
It was only after people called him out for his Fakery that he took back his word.
This “fact checker” easily labels everyone as “fraud” and “fake” but does not have the basic decency to acknowledge his mistake even when he is completely wrong. His lack of ethics and morality is visible when he simply excuses himself by simply saying “He is right, I researched more”! And he had to accept it because a picture is easily verifiable by anyone and he stood thoroughly exposed. Otherwise, whenever this supposed “fact checker” misses out facts, he never acknowledges his errors.
Here, this self-proclaimed fact checker confidently asserts that Hindutva was coined by Savarkar. It is surprising that this person who boasts of facts does not even get his basic facts right about something he is obsessed with the most – Hindutva.
Even when it was shown how he was blatantly wrong, this fact checker did not have the basic ethics to correct himself. This shows he is more about propaganda than any facts. While one could give him the benefit of doubt and attribute the above mistakes to his ignorance, what can explain Pratik Sinha tweeting a fake quote to defame Golwalkar and show Sangh in bad light?
Sinha quotes Golwalkar saying “Hindus, don’t waste your energy fighting the British. Save your energy to fight our enemies that are Muslims, Christians and Communists”. Such a quote is not found in any of the writings of Golwalkar. On the contrary, Golwalkar dismisses those who were favorably inclined to British as “slaves”.
This was pointed out to him months ago. Yet, the supposed “fact checker” did not deem it necessary to acknowledge and correct himself. This fake quote serves his useful propaganda to defame the Sangh and therefore he has no qualms in spreading such lies.
More such examples can be cited from Sinha’s blog where he made a lot of fake claims to defame Narendra Modi. He claimed here that Narendra Modi did not visit the relief camp housing Muslims for 35 days after 2002 riots.
This is a white lie. Narendra Modi visited camps on housing minorities, as reported by The Hindu article dated March 6, 10 days after Sabarmati Express was torched in Godhra. The same was also reported by TOI. Even when he was called out by people for this blatant lie, he neither acknowledged nor corrected his blog, for, every lie helps his propaganda.
There are many other lies in his blog such as this dangerous, defamatory one where it says that Modi organised a Gaurav Yatra to celebrate Gujarat riots . I offer to delete all my blogs if anyone can show any proof that Modi organised Gaurav Yatra to celebrate riots. Modi has always expressed his regret for the riots and termed them unfortunate. Such lies are fabricated to incite people, divide communities and provoke strife. He was called out for this lie by the Admin of blog of Gujarat riots. But what did the serial liar do. Nothing! He keeps circulating these lies through his blog on the one hand, and self-attests himself as a “fact checker”, on the other.
Glancing through his blog, I found total lies, fabrications, fakery and fraudulence and called him out for manufacturing statements of three witnesses in his blog. What he’s stated was false and completely contradictory to Nanavati report. While Nanavati report records that witnesses saw mob outside Godhra train throwing petrol inside the train, Pratik Sinha fraudulently misquoted and partial quoted everyone and attributed to them fake testimonies to arrive at an opposite conclusion i.e. he recorded them saying that no petrol was thrown into the train.
When asked to clarify the reason for such preposterous, inflammatory lies on his blog, the liar blamed my source, namely, the Nanavati Commission report which according to him, was false and could be not be believed. He suggested some unclear connection with a criminal by bringing Babu Bajrangi out of nowhere!
It is surprising that a person like Pratik Sinha, who runs such a fake blog, questions the character of a retired Judge of the Supreme Court. I am certainly not saying that our Judiciary always gets everything 100% right. But our judiciary has largely been credible. Although there can be room for a wrong judgement, it is one thing to question a judgement and another to question the very idea and character of Judiciary. What Pratik Sinha says is that the witnesses were falsely quoted in the Nanavati commission report.
This is impossible. Judgements could go either way, but the entire Judicial system cannot blatantly lie and attribute false statements to witnesses in their official records before everyone. If it was so, why did they not complain that witnesses were falsely quoted in the Commission report? All parties, including theirs, saw the report and had nothing to say.
He then claimed that Nanavati report was false, when it was in fact, true. His argument that his statements were true and Nanavati misquoted witnesses was a lie, because it was he who infact misquoted and fabricated statements of witnesses.
His third lie was essentially to save his face when he said that his blog accepts fireballs were thrown from outside, when he clearly says Godhra burning happened due to “spontaneous fire” in his blog
Now, one would expect an honest person to acknowledge his mistake and correct his blog. But the self-certified fact checker has shamelessly retained everything on his blog since it furthers his agenda and that is all that the fake checker cares about.
Readers who followed the hit and run campaign by the lying, alternate truth peddling Pratik Sinha and his altnews would also have seen how they turned tail when their vicious lies were caught and rebutted.
Pratik Sinha continues to boast how people following history accounts are fools who cannot go beyond google and implies it is experts like him who use textbooks instead of blogs
Since the average internet user cannot verify facts by reading a textbook or asking a historian, he only has Google to turn to. These fake history pages often come up on the first page itself during searches, not academic links. So, people pick up what’s easily available,” says Pratik Sinha
One would expect that after realising that I am not here to score any political goals, they would mind their own business, as I go about my pursuit of History. But no! Even after being completely discredited through my rebuttal, ToI chose to extend the same smear campaign against me in its Sunday Times.
What does this tell us about people like Manimugdha Sharma and Pratik Sinha who are no better than goons and hoodlums masquerading as journalists. And what does it tell us about ToI?
I don’t care at whose behest such people are harassing, smearing, attempting to harm me and my reputation. But I know for a fact that Faking History started as soon as India came into existence in 1947 and even earlier, perhaps. It is only now that the Making right of History, based on sources, has started online and I am super proud of my role in that.
I seek the truth and I shall continue to seek and share it – detractors shall be decimated by the Divine
One little-known website called “Alt News”, patronized by well known political propagandists, recently spun few posts using my Twitter Timeline, calling it a “goldmine of fictitious historical claims”. Well, since it has invoked my Twitter Timeline to get traffic and ad-revenue, of course, it is a goldmine, indeed, for the post truth peddling Fraud News.
Whenever people engage politely with me, seeking a clarification or putting up a counter-view, I hear them out and share the sources (name of the book, museum and link to sources, wherever available), if not done already, so that people can actually explore facts for themselves and act as agents of information dissemination.
Anyone, who’s abusive or simply argues for the sake of arguing, with no interest in learning or sharing, ends up either in my blocked or muted list. My timeline is testimony to the fact that I engage with people on the basis of their eagerness to genuinely learn and share and not on the basis of their follower count.
I have written quite a few articles on History, published in Firspost, Swarajya and India facts, which clearly mention the references, for, I document History as it was, based on sources, without any agenda or garnishing. Am always eager to expand my knowledge of History and anyone genuinely interested in learning and sharing, shall surely get that.
Of late, a large section of Secular Mafia of eminent intellectuals has been indulging in concerted, defamatory attacks upon me, citing my Tweets!
Yes, you heard it right! Not my posts, not the books that I quote from, but my Tweets! This establishes that the information I share is trampling their ecosystem and annihilating their false sense of moral superiority and intellect. Hence, this course of lying and mudslinging. I have blocked quite a few, after making them aware of their lack of research and, sometimes, if time permitted, also busted their lies. There have been instances where attempts have been made to violate my privacy and my friends threatened.
When the same got called out, a new route had to be found and perhaps that’s why this peddler of post truth, is continuing the campaign of these ‘eminent intellectuals’, with the one point agenda of thwarting the publication of my Book on the Medieval History of India.
I thought of the Book, last year, because it is near impossible to communicate something as important as History in 140 characters. Use of representative images, abbreviations, images taken from a book or magazine, among others, can sometimes communicate partial information or be taken out of context, by anyone not interested in looking up primary sources for revalidation and enrichment. But my Book (am writing it currently) will have no such constraints as my Tweets, and the detractors know it.
I have been extremely occupied in its research, which is extremely time consuming and exhausting, for, I am not a History scholar (have never claimed to be one). Between the research and everything else, am hardly left with any time for myself and hence have no bandwidth to spare and rebut every tom, dick and harry. My Twitter Timeline, in any case, does not claim Six Sigma or ISO certification!
The joke of a post, in the post truth rag, rants that “fictitious historical claims are shared to keep people feel wronged all the time”. It is quite amusing to see this statement from those who continuously peddle propaganda about “skies falling under the fascist rule of Modi”. A section of pseudo-secularatti has spun many such tales and it is no wonder that a section of a community feels victimized enough to take up terrorism.
An introspection on their part will reveal that it is not my Tweets, but their perspective and worldview that is full of hate and divisiveness. So much so, that simply stating the truth, that is documented by scholars, archaeologists and historians of repute, in publications across the world, makes them see red. Their disinclination to explore, learn and stay updated, is their prerogative. But responding to their vindictive ignorance, inherent inability to research (beyond wikipedia, whatsapp, random blogposts) and sheer lethargy, is not my priority.
Through this one post, I intend call out their bumbling bluster, so that people can see the utter lack of honesty and integrity in those who write in, and share the propaganda of this fraud Alt News. Perhaps, Alt News stands for their fabricated, alternate version of truth.
Before proceeding further, let me reiterate that these ignoramuses are not interested in any information AT all. No article of mine has been challenged. The CONTENT of my tweets has NOT been touched. What has actually been tom-tomed as an “expose” and shared by many “eminences”, is in fact, a simple google image search of the images accompanying my tweets to concoct and “expose” and allege some ulterior agenda!
Do the dunces who claim to have “researched” through the “goldmine” of my Timeline, understand that at the end of the day, it does not matter, at all! I could use the image of a Mule and yet the content of my tweets would be irrefutable, for, whatever I share on my timeline is based on multiple sources (books, testimonies, research papers, exploration results, theses, museum catalogs, governmental archives, newspapers, among others).
The propaganda rag is not interested in History. It is not interested in learning or knowledge sharing, either. All it has does is pretend that it is “challenging” my “claims” by trying to add motives to representational images used with my tweets. That is not a debate worth my time.
If they needed some traffic and make money from the “goldmine” of my Timeline, they could have simply asked me for clarity on any topic that I have tweeted on. I might have actually expanded on my Tweets and helped them write well researched posts. Why fabricate and concoct an “expose” and prove that its alleged Journalism favours sensationalism as against sense? The pea brained Don Quixotes of FraudNews do not even realise that I don’t “make claims”. I share FACTS.
I laughed hard at this one, for, it was proof of the fact that the post truth peddler and its NoIQDhongi patrons, simply source information from Whatsapp, Wikipedia and Blogs Posts,apart from their own photoshopped fraudulent pictures. I understand that it might take them longer to read, but would they, at least just this once, I insist, read Objects of Translation:Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu Muslim” Encounter by Finbarr B Blood, published by Princeton University Press, and stop their post truth diatribe!
The image is NOT that of Buddha. It is that of a Shahi riding on an elephant . Shahis were Hindu/Buddhist kings of Gandhara. It was indeed found in Gansu province in Northwest China. My tweet is a FACT.
Excerpt from the aforementioned book “Objects of translation”(Princeton University Press)
Hello FakeNews, I challenge you to find us even a single reference to Gautama Buddha riding an elephant in either BuddhaCharita or Pali canonical texts.
You cannot find a single reference to Buddha riding an elephant either in Pali Canon or Buddhacharita. Why? For Buddha and his ascetic disciples, riding/taming any animal like elephant was an act of sacrilege. In the Dhammapada, it is stated
For it is not on such riding-animals as elephant that a man can go to that place to which he has not yet gone. It is only on his own well-tamed self that he can go to that place to which he has not yet gone
What does this all show?That Alt News is essentially post truth Alternate views based on Journalism of outrage. The rag engages writers who seem to know nothing and are not interested in learning by reading what matters. What’s hilarious is that they are not interested even in reading the blogs that they have themselves linked. The blog also mentions its Gandharan origin, by the way.
This illustrates the modus operandi of the rag. All it does is run a google image search of every image that I have posted. If anything does not match any blog online, the rag will keep mining the gold of ad revenue from my timeline by writing another post accusing me of fraud! Desperate attention seeking frauds!
This peddler of post truth stands fully exposed. They have no interest in history, all they and their gushing, gloating patrons want to do, is to prevent truth from coming out. All of them stand thoroughly exposed in their intellectual nakedness. It is not just the Emperor, but the entire empire of pseudo intellectualism that seems to have no clothes
This is the funniest of all claims. The Alternate History peddling rag claims that these ruins are not that of a temple but of a “neolithic settlement of BC era” (whatever that means) and that I have used the picture of “Neolithic settlement” as “ruins of temples destroyed by Tipu Sultan”
However, the link that has been shared, by the pretentious, propaganda pile does not support its false claim, for, the caption of the picture in the link clearly mentions it as “ruins of old temple”.
Looks like the phenomenal researchers of Alt News skipped elementary school, for, the meaning of Neolithic eludes them. Let me offer some help on that front. They could thank me later.
Here is a Neolithic structure from Kerala
Neolithic means “New Stone”. The people of new Stone Age were not sophisticated enough to build historical temples like the one used in the picture. Neolithic man of Kerala lived in Dolmens and Ashmounds. He was a hunter-gatherer. His dress was scanty. The ignoramus google image researchers of Alt News could read up on the research carried out on Neolithic people of Kerala by the great Archeologist and Anthropologist Shri M.A Krishna Iyer.
One might now wonder as to did The Hindu post some non-sense. Actually, it did not. The paper Hindu very clearly mentions that the picture is that of temple ruins. This “source” shared by the post truth rag AltNews talks about posthole sites with pillared halls.
Dr. Sunil Kumar told The Hindu here on Saturday that these sites were perhaps used for construction of Mandapas (pillared halls) or some wooden structures. Of 13 posthole sites with 24 pillared halls identified, 12 were in the rocky plateaus three km to five km from Thenmala (Venkatamala) in the same belts on both sides of the banks of the Ikshumathipuzha, a tributary of the Gayathripuzha flowing through Kollengode, Muthalamada and Elevanchery. The remaining one was found at Polpully, about 20 km from Thenmala. Such postholes on rock surfaces on the Nagarjunakonda and the Brahmagiri sites in Andhra Pradesh and other areas suggest that these must have been part of a Neolithic settlement between 4000 BC and 1000 BC, studies show.
So, this is the “Neolithic settlement” the paper was talking about.
And with this, Alt News stands completely exposed. The pretentious news site doesn’t even know what Neolithic means. The rag cleverly hides facts from readers, for, the caption of the picture being fraudulently passed off as “neolithic settlement” by Alt News, clearly says “temple ruins”. This again proves that the overzealous researchers of Alt News did not even bother to read the article that they posted as some “proof” of “fraud” from the “goldmine”!
They do not even know that the great Dravidian style temples, such as the one shown in the picture of the article that was posted, belong to Medieval period and no trace of such a temple was ever found in the Neolithic period. Alt News clearly is not interested in knowing and exploring what the link talks about.
As a matter of fact, my aforementioned tweet was the third in a series of tweets that I wrote about Temple destruction by Tipu Sultan in Kerala. Alt News did not even touch the first two tweets because its google image search results would have matched what I had shared. It did not challenge the content of any of my tweets in the thread.
AltNews also has “text blindness”. My criticism of Tipu Sultan’s activities citing textual references has been far more harsh
Not one of these tweets has ever been contested. Instead, AltNews very dishonestly tried to steer the debate away from Tipu Sultan towards “neolithic settlements” and only ended up making a complete fool of itself. That this travesty has been endorsed by Ramchandra Guha and Digvijay Singh is quite disappointing, to the say the least
Can Alt News prove that the content of my tweets, about Tipu Sultan’s temple destruction in Kerala/Palakkad, is wrong? NO! It is only interested in making fraudulent accusations, mudslinging and yes digging the “goldmine”!
Reality: READ the New York Times (NYT) report for yourself. It makes no mentions of 15 Brahmins being killed
The dunces need to note that the report was issued the next day (after Gandhi was assassinated). Since when has Media started naming victim communities and perpetrator communities? When was the last time we have heard of “Hindus killed by Muslims” in media, for example? The accompanying image was simply to show that people were killed.
That those killed were Brahmins is, of course, beyond doubt. Massacre of Hindus (Brahmins), burning of Brahmin houses by anti-Brahmin, Congress activists after Gandhi Ji’s assassination is a well-documented fact. Anyone can read various books that deal with the subject. The Police in India by M. B. Chande , Atlantic Publishers & Dist, The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi by Makarand R Paranjape , Random House or India, Storytellers @ Work By Nandita Bhardwaj, Tirna Ray, Smita Mishra Chaturvedi, Katha, 2004, are just some of these.
Can the lying, propaganda rag disputing my tweet show me one historical account which shows any community other than Brahmans being targeted on the day of Gandhi’s assassination?
The rag goes on to shamelessly accuse me of blurring the tweet by saying, “ True Indology has presented a blurred report so you can’t read it to verify the claim ”.
And now, let us take a a look at what it presents as the evidence:
This is their original “readable” report and I have “blurred it to make it unreadable!”
What the rag has put up is hardly readable and it has the gall to accuse me of blurring! These tweets on Gandhi Ji’s assassination are not based on just one NYT Newspaper Clip which, the post truth peddler fails to realise, I had shared on my own. The Newspaper clip mentions 15 people killed, does it not? Does the post truth gang expect NYT to have mentioned Brahmins killed? Really? If only they could put their pea-brain to better use and pause to read books, they would also get it, hopefully.
And, if they also take the same news item that I have tweeted from the page and magnify it, so that it is visible to people, the image will be the same as tweeted.
So what is this sinister agenda from my side that has put ants in their pants?
1000 years old Varun Dev temple in Karachi (Pakistan), used as a toilet
Actually I am quite bored by this one, for, a number of online folks have rubbished many such handles trying to paint me as some sort of villain, simply for highlighting how poorly minorities are treated in Pakistan. If they had their eyes and ears open, they would see how Hindu, Sikh and Christian minorities are suffering there. Why is Pakistan so special to them that they cannot bear to see any truth, about the wretched state of affairs there, coming out?
The temples decayed appearance reflects a lack of care, and its walls and rooms serve as a toilet for visitors to Manoras sandy beach, even as humid winds are eating into the structure and the rich carvings on the walls of the mandir are slowly eroding, reported the Daily Times.
Then, as the article says
Shri Varun Dev temple was in a dilapidated condition for years. Being a seaside temple, humid winds were eating away the structure and eroding the rich carvings. In Dec 2015, it received $250,000funding from the US Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and its restoration started in collaboration with the Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society (SEAS).
Because it received a US funding, the temple began to be “restored”
However, the Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society (SEAS), had not started any restoration until February 2016. This is evident from this picture posted by them in Feb 2016, which does not show any restoration.
It is fine that Pakistan received monetary benefits and decided to work on its “restoration”. But why do these pseudo Ganga Jamuni Zombies not know that its use as a toilet completely disqualifies this temple as any place of worship according to Agama Shastras.
Thus, despite what the rag claims, the truth remains that parts of the temple were used as toilet until Feb 2016 and no amount of “restoration” can restore its status as “Temple” after such defilement. So what exactly has the Goldmine, of my Twitter timeline, got the rag other than, traffic and ad-revenue?
Jain Idols This hilarious allegation by the rag shows what happens when one runs image search to corroborate historical facts!
The tweet is about Jain Neminathaswami Idols found in Mylapore St Thomas Church. That is the Primary fact. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple By Ishwar Sharan and the Iconography of Jain images in the districts of Tamilnadu By The chennai Government Museum, both document the fact that Mylapore Neminath Jain idols were found at St Thomas Church and were shifted to Mel Chittamur (Sethamur) later. Here is an excerpt from the book. This Jain temple does not exist anymore in Mylapore and the site occupied by a Christian building
The information that I have tweeted is completely factual information based on well documented sources. These dunces first need to read up on Mylapore Neminathaswami before accusing me of anything.
The next time FraudNews quotes blog posts as the proof, it should pause and not end up digging holes for its pathetic reputation to sink further into. Anyway, the whole exercise by AltNews to prove me a fraud is futile. I could post any image and my tweet would still be true. One should ask what AltNews tends to achieve by carrying out this false campaign not built on facts
Marble Statue of 3 headed Brahma discovered on the footsteps of the mosque in Ghazni, Afghanistan
If the post truth peddling rag manages to read the book Objects of translation”(Princeton University Press) ,it might squirm in shame, that is if they have any left, by now!
Here’s an excerpt
Here is another excerpt from the same book
The author, as well as the excavator, very clearly say that the idol of Brahma had been set up on a pavement to be trampled upon. Further, the author says trampling of icons conforms to the prescriptions of Hadith
Also, in her Monumental work, “Across the Hindukush (2002)”, Japanese Archaeologist Kuwayama tells us about this idol. She says that this idol of Brahma was brought to Afghanistan by Ghaznavids during their Jihadi raids across India. They used this idol and placed it on the entrance of the royal Ghaznavid Mosque inside their Palace at Ghazni.
The relevant excerpt from the book is presented below
So let’s recount the facts. The idol was stolen from India, brought to Afghanistan and placed under footsteps of a mosque inside a royal palace to be trod upon. The Art historian even adds that such acts are prescribed by Hadith.
Coming to the pompous declaration by Alt News that “It is not a recent find”, the propaganda rag should have realised that this discovery has only been barely studied by Indian archaeologists and has not been mentioned in any book on Indian history. Both these articles, are recent works by foreign authors and hence termed as recent discovery.
Here is a part of the excavator’s report which has been conveniently left out by the miners of gold from my timeline.
Attention should be called to the fact that the face of the statue that has been discovered in the Palace is completely wiped out, destroyed, it would seem, not by iconoclastic fury but slowly worn away by passing feet, its appearance being much like of medieval tombal stones in church pavements. This may be connected with the statement made by Farista and would suggest that the custom inaugurated in the famous Mosque may have been followed, even if somewhat modified, and not only in religious buildings.
Let us ask the rag the reason for the face of the Brahma idol getting wiped out. Will they have the decency to simply admit that the Brahma’s face was wiped out by stepping on it to humiliate Hindus and follow Hadith prescriptions, first at the Mosque and then at the royal palace? But then, the self-appointed middle men of Secularism and Idea of India won’t be able to continue their zealous, “hide the truth” agenda.
Some people think that knowing the truth about the Islamist invaders will fill us with rage not against those who did it, but against those who follow their faith today. They need to remember that we are all of Indic origin and Indic thought preaches pluralism. So my sincere suggestion to these forces is to stop projecting their insecure, inhuman, selfish personas on others.
As the rag tries to place the idol in a palace in Ghazni, it ends up admitting that the Hindu idol was indeed brought from India to Afghanistan by Ghaznavids and placed at a pavement to be trod upon by Muslim devotees according to the prescriptions of Hadith.
Now we have their lofty proclamation that it was placed under footsteps of the Masud palace rather than the Mosque. Readers would have noticed the nonchalance with which the rag mentions the placement of the idol under the footsteps of the palace and not the mosque.
We have seen above how the Japanaese Archaeologist Kuwayama has connected the find site of idol inside Masud with a mosque. But even the excavator of the report quoted in the article had no doubt that these must be Mosques.
The Muslim historian Ferishta recorded how Ghaznavids brought statues from India and placed them on footsteps of Mosque.
The idol of Brahma found in a palace had been trodden by pious devotees and its face completely wiped out. Idol was first placed on footsteps of Mosque and this pious custom was later followed by the Royal Palace . The excavator also has no doubt that the building must be mosque. And it is all based on the work done by actual researchers, historians and excavators.
So why is this getting their goat? Is it that they expected me to put hours of research in 140 characters for their approval which, let me re-emphasise, I care two hoots about! Listen FraudNews, my tweets represent hard work and investment of personal time and money. Am not propped up by vested interests.
Much has also been made about the fact that I wrote “Ganesha” for “Brahma” at one place.
Of course, I am human and I make syntactical/semantic mistakes.The rag would also find spelling mistakes in my tweets. But this tweet very clearly reveals what exactly they have been doing.Side-tracking the debate and making defamatory claims.
It does not matter if I identify the idol as Ganesha, Shiva or Brahma. It does not even matter if I use the image of Beyonce instead of the idol.
Idols were kept under the footsteps of Mosques and Islamic palaces. Even the sources used by the rag testify this.
The tweet was in response to a poster who had claimed that Hindus also broke Buddhist temples and Islamist iconoclam was not different from Hindu iconoclasm of Buddhist sites. The poster was only regurgitating the outdated claims made by Marxist historians like Romila Thapar, many decades ago. So, I challenged the poster to show me Buddhist idols on the footsteps of Hindu temples or palaces.
The debate was never about Ganesha or Brahma, in which case my “fraudulent” statement would have mattered. The poster could not answer my challenge. Neither can AltNews.
I challenge the post truth photoshop rag to show me Buddhist idols on footsteps of Hindu buildings, now that it managed to dig up this old tweet and charge me of “fraud”.
Most important is the fact that I have noticed that this tweet has been deleted from my timeline as I must have realised that I had made a syntactical mistake.
So, it is the rag that has indulged in complete fraud by digging up an old tweet from archives, to side track the debate and accuse me of fraud.
Bhai Singha Purohit
In continuation to its verbal diarrhoea, the lying Alt News makes much ado about this image
Bhai Singha Purohit is a little known figure in mainstream history. For some inexplicable reason, this person has been completely side-lined by people who do not want to see the history of Hindus and Sikhs as that of close cooperation. However, his story is recorded in many Sikh scriptures. But there is not a single statue (image) of him available anywhere. Not a single image of him available online. In such cases and especially when I deal with obscure figures, I use the closest available representation. If I were an artist, I would draw a sketch. And I crop every single picture that I post.
Let me pause and share what the propaganda rag says,
There is a particular significance of this picture of Dronacharya being found in Kashipur which is lost to those who randomly pick it off the internet to use it as someone else. Kashipur has a famous lake known as Drona Sagar which is believed to be associated with Guru Dronacharya. You will many more pictures of this mural here.
I marvel at the confidence with which such nonsense is passed off as facts by AltNews. Can the pretentious writers of the rag show a single reference in Mahabharata where Kashipur gets associated with Drona? The statement is plainly false, but I will still give them the benefit of doubt that perhaps the writer is being ignorant and not lying outrightly.
Coming to the mural, it does NOT belong to Dronacharya’s time, for, it is a modern one. The sculptor had not seen Dronacharya. He only depicts Dronacharya as just a Brahman. In other words, it is also a representational image. This is exactly why I chose the picture to represent Singha Purohit.
The propaganda rag goes on to write,
This once again makes us wonder about the intellectual honesty in picking an unrelated picture and cropping it to use to support a claim
Here is a challenge. I do not need this picture to support anything that I wrote in the tweet. It was only used for illustration. Can the post truth, propaganda rag Alt News show me anything in my Tweet statement that is at odds with the history of Bhai Singha Purohit in traditional Sikh Chronicles like Suraj Pratap Granth ?
If it cannot, I would suggest that it shuts up and stops these tactics. If anyone can show me anything that I have written in the tweet is at odds with the historical account, I will gladly correct myself.
But you know what the problem is? These people are not interested in history, at all. They are only interested in mudslinging, making fradulent claims and yes, digging my timeline for striking the gold of traffic and ad-revenue.
Haripur Temple in Pakistan
The post truth miner of gold dishonestly hides that the tweet is a part of an appeal to Pakistani authorities issued on the basis of a Pakistani newspaper report. The tweets in the thread are shared above.
Anyone can see that the newspaper report has been included therein. But for some reason, the propaganda peddler chose to ignore it. Perhaps, since its “research expertise” of image search fetched something different, it decided to concoct an entire tale based on the representative image used which I have no inclination to waste my time on.
Posed with a query about whether gigantic ancient Royal Buildings such as those found in Rome and Persepolis have even been found in India, I tweeted my response with a picture to show that although such ancient Gigantic royal palaces have not been found, ancient Indians had the skill to build sophisticated settlements.
In its weirdest claim, so far, AltNews says, “This is not the picture of a civilian settlement, but the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery.”
Are Buddhists not Indians or civilians? Did those poor monks who lived in the small rooms of these monasteries belong to Royal Families?
Is AltNews saying that Indians had no such skill and “Buddhist monastery” was not built by Gandharan Masons but magically created by Buddhist Monks?
The pseudo researchers of the rag ought to note that religious and secular life in ancient India was so closely intertwined as to be inseparable.
The excavator of this site has noted that the place was visited by devotees who brought the monks gifts. There were also resident “slaves” in the settlement who fetched water to this hilly site. Lay Buddhists also lived in these settlements. We know from literary evidence that monks from Kashmir and Gandhara included those who were celibate as well as those who were married.
This site at Jaulian contains many small rooms inhabited by Buddhists. These rooms had windows, doorways, walls and floors, Stones and Jars. The complex had Alcoves, stairways, upper floor, veranda, depression in courtyard, bathrooms, storage rooms and kitchens.
For these reasons, the site is truly remarkable. This is the reason why I had shared the picture of these rooms to illustrate the sophistication of Indian Masons as a response to those great royal buildings elsewhere in the world
But the propaganda rag, without verifying the context of my tweet, without reading up anything about Jaulian and clearly without understanding what “Civilian settlement” means, mined this tweet for its vested interests and accused me of “fraud”.
The readers are discerning enough to know who is playing a major fraud on everyone here.
First of all, AltNews and its motley crew must be really stupid to think that tents survive in such usable conditions for 500 years. I am certain that my readers/ followers are not dumb enough to think that I am posting an actual Mughal tent used 500 years ago and that too in such a usable form.
What I have posted in that picture is the tent of a Nomadic tribe of Afghanistan. Such tents are used even today in 20th century by Turko-Mongol nomads of Afghanistan and Central Asia. Certainly, Mughal architecture by itself could only make a basic tent. AltNews has a problem with this picture. Suppose that I have to show that 7th century Arabs used camels as transport. What is wrong in showing a man riding a camel today for illustrative purpose? By AltNews’ Logic, will I need to bring back the dead men and camels of the 7th century and use an “authentic” image?
The FraudViews portal says,
Since Mughal dynasty started with Babar in India, Mughal architecture also developed in India.
This statement is not true, as we shall see below. Again, it says
It is an amalgamation of Persian, Turkish and Indian influences. If we were to look at what their architecture was before they came to India, we perhaps have to look at the architecture of their forefathers. A fine example of this will be the architecture of Samarkand. You may want to search for Samarkand yourself but we can assure you it looks nothing like what was shared by the TrueIndology account
There is nothing but absolute dishonesty in their statement.
First of all, Samarkhand was not any “Mughal territory”. It was inhabited by Iranian/Persian speaking people. The Turko-Mughal nomads invaded Samarkhand and occupied/conquered the country with much bloodshed and ethnic cleansing.
The “architecture of samarkhand” which the dunces harp on as “Mughal architecture” is not Mughal at all. It is Persian. And it was not Mughal ancestors like Timur who constructed those buildings. They themselves could not have constructed anything more than tents. It was done by enslaved people forcibly brought from their Iranian and other homelands to Samarqand
And yet, nomadic habits die hard. In spite of importing foreigners and getting those buildings constructed, Taimur preferred living in tents.
Not only that, Timur held his court in open tents as a rule. Even important wedding ceremonies of Timurids took place out in the open tents, highlighting their nomadic lifestyle
Anyway, this was a clever deviation from the original topic by the propaganda peddling miners of gold. My tweet was about Mughal architecture “just before they entered India”. This tent tradition of the Mughals continued well into Babar’s time.
“Just before they entered India, the Mughals were in deplorable condition and invariably took to their nomadic ways. In Babarnama, Babar writes about his condition in Tashkent
During my stay in Tashkent, I endured much poverty and humiliation. I had no country or hope of one! Most of my retainers dispersed; those who remained were unable to move about with me because of their destitution. If I went to my uncle The Khan’s gate, I went sometimes with one man, sometimes with two. It was well he was no stranger but one of my own blood. After showing myself in his presence, I used to go to Shah Begim’s, entering her house bareheaded and barefoot just as if it were my own.
Here is a painting from Babarnama which depicts the episode of horses and camels dying in Babur’s camp. Babarnama illustration depicting an incident when Mughals had not reached India
Since illustratrated version of Babarnama was commissioned during Akbar’s rule when Mughals became extremely rich, the painting slightly exaggerates Babur’s glory. If this factor is taken into account, Mughal tents aren’t much different from the those of Modern nomads of Afghanistan. These facts too are very well known.
One wonders what the motive behind fraudulently crediting the architectural achievements of Persians to Nomadic Mughals could be. But then again, it is not surprising, right?
It could be news to AltNews that RSS work in Eastern Punjab refugee camps is not disputed by anyone including the critical scholarly work conducted on them. The Padma Bhushan awardee MN Buch, himself a refugee from West Punjab and a primary witness, recorded how RSS helped people in camps of Eastern Punjab. It is genuine work among refugees and its pro-refugee stand which earned Jana Sangh its traditional vote bank West Punjabi refugees in Delhi during the days when the party did not have much reach and expanse. Altnews should rather read up things before writing nonsense
ABVP/RSS participation in Goa and Dadra and Nagar Haveli liberation, respectively, is well known. Craig Baxter the US biographer has fully documented RSS role in Goa and Dadra way back in 1969. I am amused that Fraud News has a problem with this as well
Original Temple of Gorakhnath in Peshawar
Sinister agenda of AltNews will be all too visible as you read further.
Let me give you a background of Gorakhnath temple. This historical temple was mentioned by Abul Fazl in the 16th century. However, Aurangzeb’s sister Jahanara constructed a Serai and Jamia Mosque at the same site in 1640 CE. The Hindu temple “disappeared”
The current “temple” existing in Peshwar is NOT the original Gorakhnath temple but was built by Sikhs at the same site in 19th century after pulling down the Jamia Mosque.
Incidentally, Peshawar had around a 100 Hindu temples when Xuanzang visited the city in 7th century. Not one of the old temples exists today. We all know why.
The surviving Hindu temples belong to Sikh and British Period(19th-20th century). In short, the Gorakhnath temple does not exist anymore. it had not existed even when Sikhs pulled down a msque and constructed a new temple at the site. It ceased to exist in 17th century when Jahanara constructed a mosque at the very site.
So how does my tweet that clearly says “the original temple of Gorakhnath WAS in Peshawar. The ruins can be found even today (note the past tense used in my tweet)”, become a fraudulent claim?
As a matter of fact, the temple later constructed by Sikhs was abandoned in 1947 and even that is in ruins. The main Shiva Linga in red sandstone inside the Garbha Griha is missing. Mural paintings have been either vandalised or in poor state of preservation
Here is an image of wooden door of western shrine inside Gor Khatri
No matter how much the Pakistani Archaeological department “restores” the site, it is undeniable that they cannot bring in the destroyed murals and idols. What they can “restore” are the ruins and the remains
If I go to Hampi, put in some images of Hindu Gods and worship at the shrine, I cannot “restore” the temple. Hampi will still be “temple ruins”.
But that is not all.
Pakistan has NOT given Hindus control of the site. Yet again, the Don Quixotes failed to check their own links and ascertain facts. The “proof” by the propaganda peddler clearly says that Hindus were not given back their Shrine. They were only allowed to put in some pictures and worship at the shrine on Diwali. They had to give back the keys to Pakistan government.
Pervez Iqbal, the counsel for Phool Wati, said authorities had given Hindus the keys of the temple only for celebrating Diwali. He said the Hindus were “hurt” to hear that they had to return the keys.
Yet, the pictures and images installed by Hindus were again vandalised, thrice in two months after the “reopening of temple ”
So is this what AltNews means by “Shrine reopened”? And these liars have the audacity to link a BBC video showing a group of Hindus dancing in the temple and pompously declare, “this is the same temple described by the twitter handle as ‘ruins can be found even today’”
Yes, these are nothing but ruins because here are the facts.
The original Gorakhnath temple was long uprooted and destroyed without a trace. A replacement shrine was later built. This shrine was also destroyed and abandoned.Pakistan government repaired the ruins and since 2011 allowed Hindus to perform worship during Diwali. Hindus were not given any ownership of the shrine and acts of iconoclasm and temple desecration continue.
The shameless apologia for temple desecration by AltNews exposes its utter disregard and disrespect for minorities and their places of worship in Pakistan. It shows the negationism of the rag and its patrons. These people seemingly belong to the group that sheds copious amount of tears at the mention of the disputed structure at Ayodhya but cunningly play down every Hindu temple demolition. This negatationism is a small scale replica of holocaust denial and the post truth peddler and its patrons stand exposed.
Sher Singh Samadhi
AltNews says The propaganda peddler accuses me and Khalid Haroon’s 2016 article on Scroll of “vile propaganda” for simply posting that the Samadhi was converted to a “Muslim site”. And, yet again, boasts of “restoration”. It also goes a step ahead and claims that it was never converted to a Muslim shrine.
However, close up of a few pictures of the site in 2013 before “restoration” will clearly show that not only was it very ill- maintained, but also housed Islamic flags and graffiti showing very clearly that it was indeed converted to a “Muslim site”.
This clearly illustrates the dishonest propaganda carried out by Altnews.
The author shamelessly accuses me of photoshopping an image of “Jalianwalabagh massacre”. First of all, there is no live picture available of Babrra Massacre, just as there is no live picture available of Jalianwalabagh massacre. This fact has not deterred people from producing thousands of images of said massacres. All of them are representative images.
I have certainly not photoshopped any image and nowhere have I used an image from any movie. This is an extremely malicious and defamatory accusation. These images are freely available on the internet. A blog written in 2015 also has the said images
To be sure, I have not photoshopped anything. I am only reproducing the picture used by online Pashtun History blogs who must have found some reasons for using this picture to depict their history. I have neither time nor reason to ascertain the origin of the picture, as I have not claimed that it is anything more than a representational picture used merely for illustrative purpose. But what is AltNews doing all along? Can AltNews produce any “authentic image” of Babbra massacre? Is Altnews even interested in the topic of the tweet which is the phenomenal Pashtun leader? No, all they are interested in doing is running their google image search and making defamatory and fraudulent claims. Is this journalistic integrity?
For the first time, AltNews contests my textual claim and their utterly ignorant statements show why they have been diligently avoiding it all along.
Let us examine the relevant history
In 1921, the flag proposed was “red and green”, red symbolizing Hindus and green symbolizing Muslims. Gandhi accepted this proposal and added that a white colour should also be included to represent other communities of India
This red and green flag was used from 1921. However, this flag with such communal interpretation was contested by the Sikhs(who wanted their own symbols included)
As a result, the Congress Working Committee in 1931 appointed a seven member flag committee to look into this issue
The Seven member committee was convened by Pattabhi Sitaramayya. It included Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Master Tara Singh(one of the founding members of VHP(Vishva Hindu parishad)) as well as Jawaharlal Nehru.
The Seven member committee deliberated on the issue of national flag. They contacted various communities of the country and came to an opinion. They submitted a proposal that national flag be of only one color, Saffron. The flag committee chose saffron because, according to the committee, “Saffron is associated with our ancient country by a long tradition and acceptable to Indians as a whole”
However, the above flag never saw the light of the day as it was rejected by CWC(Congress Working committee)
Now, what is the stand of Nehru in all the above? The committee convened by Pattabhi Sitaramayya contacted various communities and proposed a Saffron flag. But what was Nehru’s opinion?
AltNews idiotically claims that since Nehru was a member of the flag committee, he also recommended Saffron. By this stupid logic, one could also argue that Nehru rejected the Saffron flag as he was also a part of CWC(Congress Working Committee) which rejected the proposal of the saffron flag.
There is no need to make such moronic inferences. In his letter to the convener of flag committee, Nehru very categorically rejected the proposals of Saffron flag and proposed retention of the extant red and green flag.
Nehru wrote “We should make it perfectly clear that our flag is not based on communal considerations…I should like to retain the red and green as they are beautiful colours”
This very clearly validates my tweet “Nehru rejected the saffron flag terming it communal” and once again demonstrates how the fraudulent AltNews website operates. It makes ignorant claims like “Nehru recommended saffron flag” or completely misleading statements like “Nehru was a part of the the flag committee which recommended Saffron”. As if that changes the fact that Nehru wrote a letter to the convener of flag committee asking him NOT to replace the red and green flag with Saffron
With such shoddy work, utter lack of any knowledge and fraudulent claims, AltNews in another pathetic attempt to defame me exposes its own ignorance and fraudulence
I must say that the AltNews’ defamation campaign was planned well in advance. As early as in February, AltNews authors were contacting Irfan Habib to rebut “vile propaganda” carried out by me against Hasrat Mohani
However, nothing came out of it. Neither AltNews nor Irfan Habib rebutted anything I wrote on Hasrat Mohani
This is what I shared about Hasrat Mohani
We challenge AltNews to rebut this “vile propaganda carried out by us against Hasrat Mohani” as they put it. If they cannot, they should simply stop fraudulently labeling anything that goes against their agenda as “vile propaganda”
In the end, I would like to make it very clear to FraudNews and anyone, who still chooses to patronise the rag, that I am not here for anyone’s approval, adulation or validation. Your baseless, mindless accusation, unending sick , disgusting and hateful abuses are quite revealing, to say the latest.
The Book, that is the real cause for your heartburn, will be my answer to the clogs of the propaganda machinery that run the ecosystem propping up its own, selfish Idea of India!
Ziauddin Barani was a medieval Islamic historian of 14th century India whose works like Tarikh I Firozshahi on history and Fatwa I Jahandari on Political Theory are highly regarded alike in both traditional Islamic scholarly circles and modern day community of scholars who deal with medieval Persianate realm in India. In his book Tarikh I Firozshahi, he expresses his usual glee when Hindus were massacred by Islamist hordes but to know his mentality, it is incumbent that we look at this piece from his work Fatwa I Jahandari, regarded as one of most important works on Political Theory by Islamic scholarship of medieval India. He says
“If Mahmud had gone to India once more, he would have brought under his sword all the Brahmans of Hind who, in that vast land, are the cause of the continuance of the laws of infidelity and of the strength of idolators; he would have cut off the heads of two or three hundred thousand Hindu chiefs. He would not have returned his Hindu-slaughtering sword to its scabbard until the whole of Hind had accepted Islam. For Mahmud was a Shafiite, and according to Imam Shafii the decree for Hindus is Islam or death, that is to say, they should either be put to death or accept Islam. It is not lawful to accept jiziya from Hindus who have neither a prophet nor a revealed book”
One of best scholars openly calling for massacre of Hindus in general and Brahmins in particular.
He does not express his personal opinion but bases this on authority of Shafii school of Islam .
There is no evidence that this has ever been disputed by any premodern Muslim scholar of non Hanafi school.
Readers might find it tad puzzling as to why we compare a a modern day American Indologist to a medieval Islamic scholar who appears quite bigoted.  The reason is simply generating a context in which anti Hindu activism of likes of Pollock can be understood properly. To begin with, Hindus of Indian subcontinent have been facing Islamist fundamentalism as existential threat to their vast civilization ever since first Islamic army attacked Hindus in East Afghanistan. Contrary to the likes of JNU scholar Thapar who call advent of Islamism as ‘import of culture’, every evidence suggests that barring few exceptions, Islamist arrival in India was a very bloody process which went hand in hand with destruction of Indian civilization as much as possible. Eastern Afghanistan, today hotbed of fanatic Taliban was a land where Hinduism and Buddhism predominated and ninth century Islamic author Al Biladhuri remarked that people of this region abstained from eating beef. Afghanistan, even today, retains a few place names which are unmistakably Indic (cf..kabul(=Sanskrit.Kubha), Nangarhar(skt. NagarahAra), Lamghan(skt.Lampaka) ,Kapisa(skt.Kapisa), Wardak(skt. Vartaka), Kamdesh(skt.kAmadesha) , Balkh(Skt.Bahlika, Av.Baxdi), Hadda(Skt.Hadda), Bamiyan(Skt. VarmayAna),Ghor(Skt.MandESa) and Badakhshan(dvyakshayaNa). Even today, we find idols of Mahisasurmardini in a land which now believes in killing idol worshippers. The rulers even kept Indic varNa appellations (cf. Aspavarma a chieftain of pre-Islamic eastern Afghanistan) Richard Nelson Frye, a leading Iranologist, is emphatic that this area was part of Indic universe.
A Mahishamardini from Pre Islamic Eastern Afghanistan
Sanskrit documents belonging to Mimamsa school discovered at Bamiyan(c.500 CE)
Pre Islamic Shahi rulers of Afghanistan issued coins in Sanskrit using proto-Sharada script
However, once the Ghaznavid army destroyed local kingdoms, the Islamist mentality expressed by likes of Barani in Fatwa I Jahandari ensured that everything Hindu was destroyed forever. Sanskrit which was used as an official language (Turks and Indian Hindus both used it in their inscriptions) was simply wiped out and Persian imposed. Death of sculpture in Islamic kingdoms is well known and the entire artistic tradition as well as literature was lost. People converted out of fear to Islam.
The forcible conversion of people of Ghor(Central Afghanistan) from Hinduism to Islam by Ghaznavids is recorded in Tarikh I Guzida(composed c.1330 CE) 
Sultan Mahumud now went to fight with the Ghorians, who were infidels at that time. Suri, their chief, was killed in this war, and his son was taken prisoner; but he killed himself by sucking poison which he had kept under the stone of his ring. The country of Ghor was annexed to that of the Sultan, and the population thereof converted to Islam. He now attacked the fort of Bhim, where was a temple of the Hindus
The complete destruction of Lamghan(Afghanistan) by islamic Ghaznavid armies, which had during those days been Hindu, was a gleefully described by contemporary Ghaznavid court poet Utbi
He proceeded to the country of the infidel traitors, and wheresoever he came he plundered and sacked the country until it was annihilated. He dug up and burnt down all its buildings, and killed those deceivers and infidels, carrying away their children and cattle as booty. He made the territory of Lamghan, which had been the most populous and flourishing of all that country, entirely stript and bare. He mastered several other territories, and, destroying their temples, their sacred buildings, and their churches, built mosques in their stead, making the light of Islám visible
The result was that Hindu civilization lost an area to Islamists simply because their armies succeeded in engaging in a bloodbath. Indeed, Utbi located Lamghan of Eastern Afghanistan in “Hindustan”. By the time of Akbar, the final frontier of “Hindustan” was Attock in Northern Punjab. It has now been pushed to Wagah. What happened in East Afghanistan was repeated almost everywhere in Indian subcontinent, the only difference being that Hindus in the other areas were able to give stiff resistance to Islamist hooliganism. Hence, Punjabis still write in a script derived from Sharda, the script used by Hindu Sahis who had to face Ghaznavid bigotry. However, this does not mean that Indian civilization was not harmed and people not massacred. Islamists destroyed so much as power equations allowed them to . The Khiljis conquest of Gujrat was described by Wassaf who wrote his work in 1300, a year after Gujrat was conquered.
“The vein of the zeal of religion beat high for the subjection of infidelity and destruction of idols. The Mohammadan forces began to kill and slaughter, on the right and the left unmercifully, throughout the impure land, for the sake of Islãm, and blood flowed in torrents. They plundered gold and silver to an extent greater than can be conceived, and an immense number of precious stones as well as a great variety of cloths? They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens and children of both sexes, more than pen can enumerate. In short, the Mohammadan army brought the country to utter ruin and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants and plundered the cities, and captured their off-springs, so that many temples were deserted and the idols were broken and trodden under foot, the largest of which was Somnãt. The fragments were conveyed to Dehlî and the entrance of the Jãmi Masjid was paved with them so that people might remember and talk of this brilliant victory Praise be to Allah the lord of the worlds”
This is how things were in medieval India. Things changed when in 18th century Marathas and Sikhs broke backbone of Islamist hooliganism though it must be known that just before British brought most of South India under their sway, an Islamist Ghazi Tipu Sultan once again repeated exploits of Ghaznavi and Taimur. It is notable that from 8th century Sindh where Qasim was killing Hindus, enslaving women, destroying temples to 18th century Malabar where Tipu Sultan was doing the same, we observe a consistency in Islamist attitude towards Hindus. Tolerate them when conditions are not as favorable to Islam but brutally torture them once the power equation tilts in Islamist favor
In British times, due to British disarming all sections of Indian society, things remained normal albeit for time being. As we have already seen, Islamist bigotry was not limited to just hating religions of India but extended to all aspects of culture from architecture to scripts etc..,. One such case was Hindi-Urdu controversy about which we will discuss below. However, this vast region got united and Hindus by 1930s started dominating it again. Islamist imperialism revived and this time wanted a separate nation. Hindus, whose even most powerful rulers like Shivaji were remarkably tolerant of other creeds including Islam, were shocked that their own people (mostly Punjabis and Bengalis) would demand separate nation just because they were of different faith. After much reluctance, they agreed to partition.
Now, partition was simply horrible. There was massive violence directed against Hindus wherever Islamists were in majority. This violence has permanently erased Hindus( sikhs included for brevity) from many regions like West Punjab where from more than 20 percent they are now less than 1 percent, Sindh where from 25 percent they are now less than 10 percent and East Bengal where from 34 percent in 1901 they are less than 10 percent. In India, Islamists has massive power, their percentage has increased, most political parties literally kiss their boots everyday and many Islamic practices like polygamy, triple talaq and such are allowed by state. Even after partition, Islamist imperialism did not cease and in 1971 inflicted massive miseries on Bengali Hindus. Leading scholar RJ Rummel said that Hindus were to Pakistani army what Jews were to Nazis. In most parts of India, Islamist terrorism is well alive and Mumbai the financial capital has seen tens of attacks of the sort Brussels faced recently. Pakistan as nation is nothing but Islamist imperialism’s creation and its avowed aim is destruction of India and in this it is ready to be bought by anybody ( USA and China use it as a pawn).
Islamists have done massive cultural holocaust in sub-continent . One could simply look at Sindhis and Gujratis to appreciate the effect. The Gujrarati script descended from Brahmi – a pure Indic script which was popular in lands as north as Turfan in Xinjiang of China. There are numerous Brahmi manuscripts from historical era thence. Gujratis have Indic names and sine westernisation are culturally still following organic evolution of Indic civilization. Not to forget that even an average Gujrati knows thousands of Sanskrit words.On the other hand, in nearby Sindh, the script used is derived from Arabic, culture is Arabic and likes of Pollock would find even that even Sindhi professors do not know 100 sanskritic words. This is what Islamists have done, a deed now zealously denied by likes of Pollock.
This cultural holocaust was only due to Islamist armies ravaging Hindu world. Otherwise in places like Assam where they failed, there is no trace of Islamic culture before 20th century in any appreciable manner.
This Islamist attack on Hindus still continues and infact 20th century was most successful for Islamic imperialism as Hindus and Hindu temples from West Punjab and East Bengal have been erased for most part.
Having narrated the foreground, it is important to stress this Islamist attack is multipronged and not just physical. This is where our Indologists enter. While it is undeniable that Indology was spawned by curious Europeans interested in non-Western cultures, it is also true that due to reasons like western imperialism, racism, Christian bigotry and to some extent Hindu negligence towards history, Indology from inception was marked by heavy bias against Hindus. Obsession with caste, attributing Indian failures to culture rather than geography and highlighting its shortcomings were elements which one could find in Indology from its inception until day.This bias has now been aggravated by changes in Western academia where Islam is new holy cow and ‘deconstructionist’ attitude ubiquitous norm . Thus, while most Indologists were biased from beginning, Islamist apology ( which is horrible given aforementioned track record of Islamists in India) coupled with deconstruction of Hindu civilization by highly talented scholars from West has ensured that today’s Indology is mostly nothing but a facet of multipronged attack on Hindus. Islamists with all their gains failed in India proper and even lost out in Hindu-Urdu schism. Reason why Islamists(such as the one who writes for scroll.in) call for replacement of Devanagari by Roman script as they cannot stomach that even after ruling this land for centuries, they could not wipe out its local script which eventually replaced their own Nastaliq script. Fact is the Devanagari script with its proper classification of vowels, diphthongs, nasals, velars, palatals etc..,. .is one of the most orderly scripts of the world. The Semitic scripts, by contrast, are primitive, random and unorderly .This is why the Indologists adopted Devanagari phonetic classification in their reconstructed “Proto-Indo-European” language
James.P.Mallory, the greatest linguist of our times and the editor of modern etymology dictionaries of Indo-European languages has the following to say in his Magnum Opus “The etymology of Indo European (Oxford University Press 2011) ”
Anyone with even the sketchiest notion of phonetics who considers the alphabet of the western languages cannot but be struck by its utter randomness. Vowels are scattered here and there in no sensible order, there is little similarity of sound in respect to placement, nor is there any sense that the more useful letters are gathered together in one place. The arrangement of a Qwerty keyboard makes more sense than the order of the alphabet. This haphazard arrangement, however, is not characteristic of the Sanskrit (or Devanagarı) alphabet which unlike the Phoenician and Greek alphabets (and their descendants, Latin and Cyrillic) would appear to have been systematically created and arranged on the basis of a thoroughgoing analysis of the phonetics of the language for which it was intended. The Sanskrit alphabet begins with the simple vowels in series between short and long, e.g. a, a¯, i, ¯ı, then the diphthongs (e.g. a¯i, a¯u), and then the. The consonants are arranged by place and method of articulation. First come the velars, i.e. gutturals; then the palatals , then the retroflexes, then the dentals, the sounds made by pressing the tongue against the teeth; and finally the labials. The consonants may be voiced or unvoiced. They may also be aspirated or unaspirated. Finally, they have nasal equivalents.
This same exemplary rigour was applied to the analysis of words and their constituent elements. Sanskrit grammarians described in detail the root, stems, and endings of verbs or nouns and both the internal and external changes that might alter their meaning or grammatical function. When western scholars began their study of Sanskrit, they not only acquired a new language but also learned a good deal about how to undertake grammatical analysis
Even as great western linguists themselves admit that western grammarians learnt a good deal from Sanskrit and Devanagari, Islamists and secularists relentlessly call for its cessation
However, this trend is no longer limited to Islamists/secularists as even Indologists in general have joined the bandwagon. Just pick up any book published by Western press on British India and linguistic tensions, you would find brazen Urdu apologia. ‘Hindu communalism created a new language’. ‘Hindi was Sanskritised’ and such are recurring tropes of these books. No word on how Persianised Hindi had no history before 17th century India, how it was fostered by British and how native assertion called for sanskritisation. Afterall, Indology has figures like Abraham Grierson who opposed Sanskrit words in Hindi on plea that Hindi being granddaughter of Sanskrit should not use Sanskrit as that would be akin to a girl wearing her grandma’s clothes. This Indologist forgot that in his own Europe, Germanic languages which had no genetic relationship with Latin (unlike in India where 75 percent of Indians speak languages descended from Sanskrit (Indic)) were still were Latinising themselves. That was like a girl wearing clothes of a neighbouring old lady.
Examination and criticism of Pollock’s activism
It has been explained how neo-Indology these days is just Islamist apologia cum bias of traditional Indology. This is where likes of Sheldon Pollock play their part. First of all, it should be known that works of Pollock cannot be regarded as any milestone since translations of Sanskrit texts into English have been done by numerous Indologists. Pollock’s works like ‘ The language of Gods in The World of Men’ are nothing but his own subjective interpretations of role of Sanskrit in Indosphere. These works in themselves have not much to benefit except they carry the stamp of an American Indologist. Errors, desire to bash Sanskritic traditions and such are features of Pollock’s writings about which we write below. Many people might question this attempt to cast doubts on a scholar and attributing motives contrary to scholarly disciplines. However, if there is naked expression of anti hindu activism, then it is incumbent upon us to show real face of such scholars. This is the reason why we inspect the hypocritical activism of Sheldon Pollock
To begin with, like most Indologists , Pollock has some friends in India who as usual are all hardcore leftists whose only contribution to India is acting as apologists of Islamist terrorism. One such man is Pratapbhanu Mehta ( Sheldon Pollock acknowledges him in his article ‘Crisis in Classics’) who just like crowd of Nehruvians is engaged in telling us why beef is so necessary in India. Again it should be known that it was a special feature of Islamic jehadis that after massacring Hindus, they forcibly fed beef to hapless priests in many places. The great Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti himself slaughtered cows at Pushkar(Ajmer) and consumed beef kebab inside the precincts of temple as per his traditional biography. Next time when you read some Indian ‘Liberal’ advocating beef, do know that Islamic practice is now being continued by these liberals. However, where Pollock is really continues acts of his 14th century hero is his activism which is selective and full of hypocrisy. Let us examine it one by one.
The case of Gujrat
As has been narrated, Hindus have been facing massive persecution and massacres since 7th century at hands of Islamist armies and this has been a thing down to our own times. In 1971 alone, Pakistani army killed tens of thousands of Hindus( minimum figure, Rummel estimates anywhere between half to one and half million people killed, majority Hindus) and raped more than hundred thousand women in just 8 months or so without Hindus having ever done any harm to them. Even within India, there have been many cases where bigots killed hapless Hindus, Kashmir most pertinent. Indian state of Gujrat has seen massive riots in its history, One in 1969 in Ahmedabad was very bloody. Godhra too has a history of riots. Now in February 2002, many Hindus were returning from Ayodhya the Bethlehem for Ram worshippers and local Islamists could not tolerate that some Hindus should go to Ayodhya where they once had their Babri mosque. It should be known that even in this case, western media, Indian secularists and Indologists have all supported Islamists by hook or by crook. Pollock should see conduct of his allies like Thapar. Returning to the topic, we find that while Indologists were drawing a bad picture of this native assertion of Hindus, Islamists adopted a very hot headed approach in Godhra. After deliberate planning where large number of locals were involved, they set fire to a coach of Sabarmati express and so 57 innocent Hindus were burnt alive. So Brazen is western media that they described the train as carrying ‘Hindu extremists’. As was to be expected, riots broke out. All tho any violence should be considered horrible, there was nothing unusual about it. India has a history of riots and even British found themselves unable to do much in 1947 when situation got out of control. Riots had also taken place in non BJP governments. In Gujrat itself, riots of Ahmedabad in 1969 were more severe than in 2002. We are of the opinion that riots conducted by anyone are absolutely condemnable and there is never any justification for indulging in violence. What is most shocking is the fact that statistics tell us a different picture. We are going with government stats because debates can not take place in vacuum where there is no data but just random figures. Some say that 2000 Muslims got killed even as likes of Ajam Khan would tell us 2 million did. Such random figures have zero credibility. As per records, some 250 Hindus and some 800 Muslims were killed. The alternate view is that despite constituting just 9 percent of state’s population, Muslims do not seem to have been, relatively speaking, as much victimised given their population. If Islamists who are a minority within a community which is just 9 pc of population manage to kill 250 people of another community who are 90 pc, then it shows that other community is the real victim in this civil war. Can we imagine Hindu Muslim riots in Bangladesh in which 750 Hindus and a whopping 250 Muslims killed? I bet not even 25 will be killed.
During this riot, the CM of that state was Narendra Modi. His opponents started making much noise and anti Hindu Indian class of secularists (like Pratapbhanu Mehta) alluded to indictment of Modi as panacea to India for all problems spanning malnutrition to poverty. One such activist Teesta Shetalvad became darling of assorted groups of Christians, secularists, Muslims and Western Human Rights. She has already earned notoriety and we need not dwell at length her deeds. Suffice to say that SC took cognizance of it and legal norms created a situation where she was going to be under arrest. This rang alarm bells. Just as Ziauddin Barani was not willing to concede even zimmi status to Hindus, Pollock thought even this concession was too much. He immediately wrote to government that such people should not be persecuted. After all,this case was of fraud where government had very little to do. When scholars like him were so sensitive about activists like Teesta Shetalvad being put under arrest, where were they in other cases?
Lot of Sanghis have been killed in Kerala by CPIM goons, did Sheldon Pollock write to then UPA govt.( which awarded him Padma Bhushan) about securing lives of all political workers? Or is it Ziauddin Pollock’s point that all Sanghis should be killed? Or does he believe that only Muslims are chosen people whose murders are murders but those of others not? What is it, Mr. Pollock?
2.Let us assume that Pollock has no problem with murder of Sanghis, what about murder of Lakshamanada Saraswati, a Hindu saint who uplifted lives of thousands of Kandh tribals, by naxalite-evangelist alliance? Or does Pollock want death penalty for Hindu preachers just as Barani did? I am not aware of Pollock writing to any govt. about that.
3 Let us assume that Pollock has no problem with murder of Hindu preachers, what about civilian Hindus killed in Tripura by Christian organizations of Protestant denomination which as we all know get strength from USA? Where was Pollock? Did he write to US Govt?
The case of JNU
JNU named after Jawaharlal Nehru was established by Indira Gandhi in exchange for support given to her by Leftists in intra Congress fights. It became a hotbed of Stalinists in India, all kinds of anti Indian and anti Hindu elements made JNU their own fiefdom. It teems with Neo-Illayite radicals, Khalistanis, Islamists and Naxalites who would massacre each other if left alone. Knowing that in India their only chance to survive is by making an unholy alliance among themselves, they come together against Hindus. These JNU activists celebrated when in April,2010 76 CRPF Jawans were killed by Naxalites. Their Mahishasur hoax has already been exposed on our blog. In February, they celebrated Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri terrorist who was involved in attack on Indian Parliament. India is world’s largest democracy and Parliament is temple of democracy, attack on it was an attack on democracy. I understand Pollock’s indifference towards destruction of Hindu temples during Islamic rule but it seems he has no problem with even this. Video came out and the President of Student Union Kanhaiya Kumar was taken into custody along with others. So all ‘intolerant Indians’ did was take into custody a few Islamists openly calling for destruction of India. Contrast this with China which crushed students under tanks when they demanded democracy! It is notable that Indian govt. applied a British law and now all those Kanhaiya Kumars are out from jails. This again was too much for Pollock to tolerate, he immediately cried right to expression and protested arrests of Kanhaiya Kumars. Here he could tell that his USA allows even burning of flags. However, India is no USA and there are many faultlines within. If freedom is allowed for open sedition then armed gangs would rise only to be put down with heavy hand. However, Pollock has no such qualms, it seems he would support anything antihindu blindly. Why Pollock’s position is so full of hypocrisy can be seen from two points listed below
a. Democracy is meant for allowing protests. The government which gave Padma Bhushan to Pollock was most corrupt govt. in Indian history in last 7 decades. Scams worth tens of billions of dollars were done in a nation where hundreds of millions of people are very poor. Swami Ramdeva a charismatic Yoga Guru ( likes of Pollock and Mehta should know that people like Ramdev have contributed far more to this world than them,. Ramdev made Yoga a domestic affair and millions have benefited from his yoga classes) and a very clean figure launched a protest against massive corruption and in June 2011, organized a rally of more than 50,000 protesters in Ramlila Maidan, a venue just a kilometres away from NEW Delhi Railway Station. The tallest Minister after PM, Pranab Mukherjee went to receive him and he started his fast against the then government. All went well but after Ramdev refused to back down, UPA govt. literally murdered democracy. In night when even PM was sleeping and no one could act swiftly, a brutal attack was made on 50,000 peaceful protestors using heavy lathi charge. Ramdev survived but was detained while one innocent woman had fractures in her backbone and later succumbed to death. Many close aides of Ramdev too were brutally beaten. So, a crowd of 50,000 people, led by a man who has improved lives of millions, demanding action against corruption was dispersed by heavy force and that too at midnight. Where was Pollock?Unless one be Ziauddin barani, one would certainly stand for such protests against corruption than say for some charlatans having no support and shouting slogans in favour of terrorists. However, I used word ‘unless’, if one is of Ziauddin Barani’s mindset, one would certainly fight for Kanhaiya Kumar even when he was not even given a slap but at same time would look other way when innocent women like that unfortunate lady Bala are brutally killed by police force at behest of Govt. run by a pro Italian-Christian. Does it not matter if one is fighting for bringing bloodshed and other for ending corruption? If Pollock is such a humanist that he feels for some charlatans’ right to chant anti India slogans, where is his humanism for Ramdev and his aides who were only peacefully protesting against a corrupt govt.?
Kanhaiya Kumar should have right to expression but for expressing what , for dismantling India. This is Pollock’s position. However, If someone holds ultra liberal position that even students asking for dismantling India at behest of Islamists be allowed, it indeed becomes a funny scenario. Even in premodern India where Pollock finds ‘social poison’, one finds tolerance for criticism of religions. Buddha throughout his life criticised Vedic traditions but did not even lose a speck of hair only because of tolerance of Hindus. Now, in modern times we see criticism of religions leading to growth of humanism in Western Europe. Even Marx said that criticism of religion is first step towards real discussions. In Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, there was a verbal duel between two leaders. One is Ajam Khan who is number 4 in SP govt. which is ruling this state of 200 million people and another one is Kamlesh Tiwari a local leader of Hindu Mahasabha. When Khan called RSS celibates as homosexuals, Kamlesh Tiwari retorted by saying that Prophet Muhammad was himself a homosexual. This claim of Kamlesh Tiwari was technically wrong as homosexual means one who has physical attraction towards person of same gender. This was not the case with Muhammad (PBUH) as he had lots of wives and slave girls like Mariam. Claim of Tiwari was wrong but one has the right to say whatever one likes. If break India slogans can be shouted, why is criticism of an Arab of 7th century not possible? Kamlesh Tiwari has been put in Jail. RASUKA a very tough law has been imposed on him which means that he would not get bail. Muslims all over North India from Bijnor to Maldah (the Maldah violence was basically due to Tiwari’s statement) have held grander rallies than one sees in US Prez elections demanding head of Tiwari. The man is rotting in jail for simply making a partially wrong remark on an Arab of 7th century. So this is where inverted standards, hypocrisy and naked anti hindu activism of Pollock and his ‘Indian companions’ come into clear light. Why is Pollock not writing to UP govt. to release Tiwari? Claims like ‘peace will be disturbed’ are bogus statements, peace would be disturbed and even bloodbath would follow if likes of Kanhaiya Kumar were left free but that did not prevent Pollock from sermonizing Indians. Where is he? Mr. Pollock, you have friends like Teesta Seetalvad who fight for downtrodden people and Pratapbhanu Mehta who control Indian media. Just make a clarion call to release Kamlesh Tiwari and ask your friends to contribute to this effort. Afterall, unlike sanghis killed by CPIM goons or woman killed at police action, Tiwari is still alive and knights like you and your friends in India can release him from jail. I ask Pratpbhanu Mehta who wants to continue brutal Islamic practise of beef in India ‘for upholding secular character’ to do something for Tiwari.
Petition against Indian PM during his Silicon Valley visit
Last year Prime Minister of India who in words of David Cameroon got ‘largest number of votes in universe’ visited USA and particularly Silicon valley where he planned ways to increase Indo US ties in IT sector. This was intolerable to lot of ‘South Asianists’ like Pollock who again wrote a petition trying to stop Indian PM from having a meeting there. Now this is simply laughable as reasons like 2002 riots are baseless. We have already seen how 2002 riots were simply continuation of last 100 years of history of riots irrespective of govt.( British, Congress, BJP etc.) and so hardly anyone could be blamed except bigotry which killed 57 innocent Hindus. However, my point is different. One reason why these Indologists make so much noise about BJP RSS etc. is that they charge BJP of harboring intentions of making India a Hindu nation where minorities will be second class citizens. Now, this is just a charge but in both ‘South Asian’ nations of Bangladesh and Pakistan, minorities are already second class citizens. I have not seen any of them talking about this and boycotting Pakistanis and Bangladeshis completely. Most important, Pakistanis in 1971 committed a massive massacre of Hindus and more than hundred thousand women were raped. Unlike Germany, which not only accepted Nazi crimes but also made huge compensation to families of victims, Pakistan actively denies such genocide. Even more important, thousands of Army Officers and soldiers who killed and raped hapless men and women of that region are still receiving pensions and all such facilities of war veterans. Imagine Germany providing pension to high officials of SS units. This is the position of Pakistan. Sundry Islamists, Pakistanis, Indian friends of Pakistanis and Indologists who make so much noise about Modi in USA are shamelessly silent on this. Unlike Modi who is democratic leader of world’s largest democracy, Pakistan has numerous dictators. These dictators visit USA frequently. I do not remember Pollock having ever voiced his opinion against all Pakistani elements in USA or boycotting Pakistani politicians.
He would hound a democratically elected leader for charge that in a state where Muslims were 9 percent, some 750 or so of them were killed after starting a riot during his reign.
2 At sametime, he would lock his lips when it comes to such a massive genocide like that of 1971 where not 700 or so but hundreds of thousands were killed.
However, this is hardly any surprise as Ziauddin Barani too was full of happiness when Turks slaughtered Hindus.
The above were cases wherein context of multi pronged Islamic assault on Indic civilization which has taken lives of millions, ensured death of streams of art and literature and continues till our own times, anti-Hindu activism of Pollock should be seen.
Examination and criticism of Pollock’s works
So far we have seen his naked anti-Hindu activism in fields which are not his own, he is after all just a veteran who could not do much in opposing Modi and things of that sort no matter how many petitions he wrote.Hitherto, we look at his own field. Like a true intellectual Ghazi, he uses all his skills in bashing Sanskritic traditions and undermining Hindu connection with Sanskrit. These are things which are subtle and most Hindus do not realise the importance of such discourse .Even As I have compared Pollock to Ziauddin Barani, I have created a context wherein his subtle distortion in history can be seen. Most people do it other way round, they would point out flaws in works of Indologists and remain silent. I think that a complete diagnosis of pysche and non scholarly acts of Indologists should be conducted, this then will throw immense light on their works and modus operandi. It is essential to first highlight why ISIL is doing such acts and then combat it. This has been done for Pollock and below we see how he attempts massive distortion of history of Sanskrit.
To begin with, our civilization was so very grand that even British scholars cum other non Indians have accepted its grandiosity without mincing words. Many modern day Indologists are just obsessed with Mughals and British( Just examine the Cambridge History of India series. no work on IVC, Classical times, Medieval times. Simply Mughals and British) but fact is that India had a civilization which in terms of impact was greatest in Asia.
Sir Charles Eliot a great British scholar says in his book Hinduism and Buddhism Vol I
“In Eastern Asia the influence of India has been notable in extent, strength, and duration.”
“Scant justice is done to India’s position in the world by those European histories which recount the exploits of her invaders and leave the impression that her own people were a feeble dreamy folk, surrendered from the rest of mankind by their seas and mountain frontiers. Such a picture takes no account of the intellectual conquests of the Hindus.”
Even their political conquests were not contemptible, and are remarkable for the distance, if not the extent, of the territories occupied…But such military or commercial invasions are insignificant compared with the spread of Indian thought.” The south-eastern region of Asia both mainland and Archipelago – owed its civilization almost entirely to India. In Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Cambodia, Champa, and Java, religion, art, the alphabet, literature, as well as whatever science and political organization existed, were the direct gift of Hindus, whether Brahmin or Buddhists, and much the same may be said of Tibet, whence the wilder Mongols took as much Indian civilization as they could stomach.”
Sylvain Levi, a French Jew Indologist whose innocent theory would later be misconstrued by Pollock(as we see below) says,
“From Persia to the Chinese Sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to the islands of Java and Borneo, from Oceania to Socotra, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales and her civilization. She has left indelible imprints on one-fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim in universal history the rank that ignorance has refused her for a long time and to hold her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of Humanity.”
Sir Marc Aurel Stein, who has contributed immensely to 20th century archaeology and is regarded as one of founding fathers of Central Asian studies, says
“The vast extent of Indian cultural influences, from Central Asia in the North to tropical Indonesia in the South, and from the Borderlands of Persia to China and Japan, has shown that ancient India was a radiating center of a civilization, which by its religious thought, its art and literature, was destined to leave its deep mark on the races wholly diverse and scattered over the greater part of Asia.”
What was place of Sanskrit in this civilization whose impact was felt from Indonesia to Iran and Siberia to Sri Lanka?
Monier Williams, a Sanskritist at Oxford in 19th century, says in his book “Hinduism”
“India though it has more than five hundred spoken dialects, has only one sacred language and only one sacred literature, accepted and revered by all adherence of Hinduism alike, however diverse in race, dialect, rank and creed. That language is Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature, the only repository of the Veda or knowledge in its widest sense, the only vehicle of Hindu mythology, philosophy, law, and only mirror in which all the creeds, opinions, and customs and usages of the Hindus are faithfully reflected and the only quarry whence the requisite materials may be obtained for improving the vernaculars or for expressing important religious and scientific ideas.”
Infact, impact of Sanskrit has been so pervasive that even Nehru was forced to admit
“If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her greatest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that it is the Sanskrit language and literature and all that it contains. This is a magnificent inheritance, and so long as this endures and influences the life of our people, so long will the basic genius of India continue.” …India built up a magnificent language, Sanskrit, and through this language, and its art and architecture, it sent its vibrant message to far away countries.”
Almost all modern day Indo Aryan languages are simply derived from Sanskrit and experts like Colin Masica have the following to say on Indic contributions to world civilization
“The speakers of these languages , in partnership with others brought into acommon orbit via the unique cultural achievement that constitutes Sanskrit, havemoreover been the creators of one of the great civilizations of the world , which merits the attention of all who would seek to follow and appreciate the human story. This Indic civilization once extended as far as Vietnam and Indonesia, and contributed important components to the civilizations of China, Korea, and Japan as well, mainly through the vehicle of Buddhism.
The dazzling achievements of Sanskrit literature and thought , providing more than enough to digest as the West continues to make their acquaintance”
It should be noted that before the advent of Islamist ghazis, Sanskrit remained the lingua ParasmaNia. Dialects touched by it became literary languages and this was true for all lands in India and SE Asia. Infact, there was no language in India and SE Asia that could conceive its own literature without Sanskrit. Even among Sino Tibetan languages, 3 out of four that is Burmese, Newari and Tibetan owe their career only to Sanskritic tradition. The remaining one, Chinese, was also influenced by it. Masica in his book ‘The Indo Aryan languages’ puts it so well
“The non-Aryan languages in the area that developed literatures did so (with the exception of the language of the Harappans – if indeed it had a literature and not just a system for recording commercial transactions) after the arrival of Indo-Aryan and under direct or indirect Aryan tutelage. This is true not only of the four Dravidian literary languages, but also of Tibetan , Burmese, Newari (in Nepal) , Meithei (Manipur) , and further east, of Mon ,Cambodian, Cham (a language once prevalent in central-coastal Vietnam) , Lao ,Shan, Thai, and even faraway Javanese in Indonesia.”
And in vitality and continuity, Sanskrit knows no rival in entire history. From Rigveda in bronze age to modern times, it has maintained an unbroken chain of literature.
Likes of Pollock who are obsessed with how Sanskrit was replaced by regional languages do not tell us that even in its worst days in 19th century, it was still so prestigious that virodhs of Western astronomical texts were written only in Sanskrit and not Awadhi or Tamil. Infact, Max Mueller in his book ‘India What It Can Teach Us’ observes that in late 19th century India
“Whenever I receive a letter from a learned man in India, it is written in Sanskrit. Whenever there is a controversy on questions of law and religion, the pamphlets published in India are written in Sanskrit. There are journals written in Sanskrit which must entirely depend for their support on readers who prefer that classical language to the vulgar dialects There is The Pandit, published at Benares, containing not only editions of ancient texts, but treatises on modern subjects, reviews of books published in England, and controversial articles, all in Sanskrit.”
So, despite several setbacks, Sanskrit was strong enough to reassert itself even as late as 1900 in such a comprehensive manner. Here enter Indologists of post 1970 world and as has already been noted, along with being champions of every Islamist cause in India, they are experts in ‘deconstruction’ of everything Hindu. Pollock’s services for Islamist or rather anti-Hindu causes have already been elaborated. Let us examine his attack on Sanskrit. Many of his points can flatly be thrashed simply on logical basis and we would be brief as regards those
‘Sanskrit has both civilization and barbarity’
Pollock wants to say that Hindu Dharmasastras espouse caste system and are ‘barbaric’. If modern moral norms be yardsticks by which we judge premodern societies, every literature of every civilization would be barbaric. Quran has strong condemnation of mushriks or polytheists, let someone say this and Pollock would be the first to shout ‘Islamophobia’.
2.’Sanskrit cosmopolis’ was not dependent upon religion
This statement is laughably wrong. While Islamists, Christians, Communists and lot of Indologists hate Sanskrit from bottom of their hearts because even to ill-informed it is obvious that Sanskrit has as much association with Brahmanical religion( Hinduism) as Arabic with Islam. They can not deny wide reach, influence and impact of Sanskrit not just in India but beyond. Arabic literature was as much enriched by Sanskritic contacts as was Japanese, this can only be denied by scholars who want erosion of their credibility. So the next logical step is to disassociate Sanskrit from Hinduism. This is what Sheldon Pollock is doing. Even if we forget that earliest texts in Sanskrit are Vedas, pillars of Hinduism, (even in classical times, greatest texts of Sanskrit are all Hindu be it Ramayana or Mahabharata), the most significant point is that any civilization in premodern times is a complex created by a religious commonwealth and vice versa. Sanskrit poetry, thus, is nothing but Hindu legends cast in ornate verses. Sanskrit legal literature is nothing but Hindu laws in Sanskrit and Sanskrit scientific literature is just creation of Hindu Brahmanical scholars who thrived so long as Hindu culture and society remained intact. The most popular Sanskrit text written till date has been Ramayana. The tale has numerous versions due to its popularity but is it popular in Pakistan? Is it popular in Bangladesh? Why do only Hindus retain pre-Christian texts like Ramayana if Sanskrit had nothing to do with Hinduism?
We find Sanskrit inscriptions from Afghanistan until tenth century. For instance, Gardez marble inscription in Sanskrit is from East Afghanistan. However, this sanskrit died permanently after Ghaznavids conquered Sahis. Why did cosmopolis not remain intact?
In Kashmir, Sanskrit was language of administration. Sheldon Pollock makes much of how Kannada replaced Sanskrit as language of inscriptions by Hoysala times in 13th century and this as per him is simply breaking down of order that sustained Sanskrit cosmopolis. However, in Kashmir, it remained language of administration just like elsewhere in non Dravidian-speaking India and guess how it lost this status? Yes, it was Islamists fatally attacking Hinduism that did away with the said cosmopolis. Kashmir’s first Muslim ruler Shah Mir took throne in 1334 but Sanskrit lingered on as in words of Witzel “ Sanskrit remained the language of administration until the middle ofthe 15th century” and this was only because Brahmins retained their position, once they were expelled, Sanskrit lost its status.
Again, it was Hinduism which was intimately connected to Sanskrit. Inspite of de-Hinduising attempts by Pollock, this fact simply can not be brushed aside. Such was also the case with Sanskrit elsewhere in India.
In South East Asia, we see decline of Sanskrit in Kambujadesa when Hinduism lost the day after 13th century. Such was also the case in entire Java and Sumatra where Sanskrit inscriptions hardly existed after Islamisation. So called ‘cosmopolis’ could not even withstand a few Austronesian rulers repeating Kalima the standard Muslim prayer .Pollock’s statement appears to be totally bizarre and illogical
Finally, it is a fact that while Sri Lankan Buddhist rulers did invite Brahmins from time to time and patronised Sanskrit, the quantity and quality was not as substantial as Pali in Sinhala country. Again, if it not br religion, why do Tamil Nadu and Kerala have a long association with Sanskrit but not neighbouring Sri Lanka? Pollock should accept that one can not just make any stupid assertion. Where is Sanskrit in Sindh, Punjab (west of Ravi)and valley of Kashmir today?
The thing that is so laughable about these assertions is that the persons making such statements appear to be clueless. All these Audrey Truschkes and Pollocks who write on Sanskrit depend upon manuscripts in Sanskrit and overwhelming majority of these MSS have been found from Kerala and Nepal- two places out of reach of Jehadis. Nepal has been one of poorest regions of India even in pre-modern times. Yet, it enabled Sanskritists from west to conduct their research far more than Pakistan and Bangladesh put together could do as it preserved vast number of sanskritic texts. Muslims hardly cared about them. Yet these scholars would say that Sanskrit had nothing to do with Hinduism. Had this been the case, today’s ‘Indo Aryan’ Pakistanis would not have been so dismal in understanding a few Sanskrit words unlike Keralites, who despite Dravidian-speaking, know thousands of Sanskrit words. Certainly, words like Swagatam are known in Kerala but not in Pakistan.
Infact, these Indologists show such an amazing level of dishonesty that they express their concern as to how ‘Hindutva’ is destroying the pristine Sanskrit et cetera. The Tribune(Pakistan) carried a piece on 18 September 2012 which in short is below
“Scandal: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf recently told the Supreme Court: “Mujh par vishvas karen”. By “vishvas” he meant ‘trust’; he wanted the Court to trust his sincerity.
TV channels reacted immediately. An anchor spent time making fun of the prime minister who used Hindi word. Others followed suit. An article titled “A silent invasion” appeared in The News (September 3) lamenting Indian culture’s invasion to destroy Pakistan’s ideology. The word ‘vishvas’ was the missile that would do the trick.”
The above, not Hindutva or RSS, is the mindset that ruined Sanskritic culture in its entirety. In order to search for Sanskrit MSS, Pollock would have to spend time with much maligned Pandits and other Hindus. Not Mullahs and Islamists. This relation between Sanskrit and Hinduism had been accepted by most scholars before Leftist-Islamist alliance was forged in the west. Michael Witzel a leading Sanskritist at Harvard, makes the below remarks in his article ‘Bowing Our Heads to Tradition?’
“Obviously, in order to understand what we are and how we live today, we have to study the past in a critical and comprehensive fashion. This must be done, as in the Japanese Classics project, through a study of the ancient texts. In India, most of them have been composed in the classical language, Sanskrit, which is important for the traditions of more than 80% of the population”
‘More than 80 percent of population’is an euphemism for “Hindus” Yes, it is their traditions which are contained in Sanskrit texts. There exists undeniable and inseparable relationship between Sanskrit and Hinduism.
Sheldon Pollock’s ‘The Language Of The Gods In The World Of Men’
Pollock’s book Language of Gods is much acclaimed alike in Indologist circles and Indian secularist class (Hindu newspaper editors etc..,.) who themselves intellectually sterile have no option but to praise to skies anything coming from West that could be employed against Hindus. Richard Eaton’s thesis on Temple Destruction, Audrey Truschke’s work on Mughals and Sanskrit and Pollock’s book on Sanskrit are remarkable examples.
Pollock claims to find answers for questions like
Why Sanskrit began to be used in inscriptions from about early centuries when it was a language confined to sacred writings?
What was the process by which Sanskrit spread from Afghanistan to Java?
How was it replaced by assertion of regionalism around 13th century?
Pollock’s answers for all such questions are inevitably ones that show minimum role of Hinduism and completely vindicate Islamist encounters. His very idea that Sanskrit became shorn of creativity by 13th century is not just his own subjective interpretation of Sanskrit literature but a subtle effort to explain away Islamist role in hampering what he calls ‘Sanskrit Cosmopolis’. If his thesis be adopted, Islamists whose attacks on Indian civilization are multidimensional would simply say ‘ We had no role in it, regional languages did it’. However, this issue has been dealt with. One should simply read about how Navya Nyaya school of logic,arguably one of greatest pre modern schools of logic, flourished in Mithila. Hindu dynasty of Mithila prevented Muslim rule over that region and this respite saw great Sanskrit literature on dharmasutras and Nyaya. Once Mithila was conquered, no wonder this great tradition died. Similarly, Pollock extensively talks about how Sanskrit literature in Vijaynagar , why does he not talk of Sanskrit literature written under Bahmanis?
The specific conditions for the death of Sanskrit … are certain to be multifarious and sometimes elusive. One causal account, however … can be dismissed at once: that which traces the decline of Sanskrit culture to the coming of Muslim power.
Even as Pollock rules out any relationship at all between decline of Sanskrit and coming of Muslim power in India, the following primary sources suggest otherwise
The Muslim scholar, Al-Biruni, who came to India with the invading armies(c.1000 CE) noted that
“The Hindu Sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, Benares and other places”.
Bakhtiyar Khilji was the first Islamic invader of eastern India. A contemporary Islamic source records his destruction of libraries
Muhammad-i-Bakhtyar, by the force of his intrepidity, threw himself into the postern of the gateway of the place, and they captured the fortress, and acquired great booty. The greater number of the inhabitants of that place were Brahmans, and the whole of those Brahmans had their heads shaven; and they were all slain. There were a great number of books there; and, when all these books came under the observation of the Musalmans, they summoned a number of Hindus that they might give them information respecting the import of those books; but the whole of the Hindus had been killed. On becoming acquainted [with the contents of those books], it was found that the whole of that fortress and city was a college, and in the Hindu tongue, they call a college(Bihar)
Three decades after Bakhtiyar khilji’s raid, Tibetan monk Dharmaswamin visited Nalanda(c.1235). He found “Just one survivor. A 90 year old monk Rahula Sribhandra who had a book of sanskrit grammar “the only manuscript to have survived the great fire”. He “went into hiding to escape from Turk soldiers” and “handed over the manuscript to Dharmaswamin and asked him to return to Tibet“
Dharmasvamin observed about eighty small viharas which were damaged
by the Turushkas, ‘and there was absolutely no one to look after them, or to make offerings’
Dharmaswamin further talks about the universities of Odantapuri and Vikramashila.Vihara of Uddandapura is mentioned twice as the ‘residence of a Turushka military commander’.  Of Vikramashila ‘there were then no traces left, the Turushka soldiery having razed it to the ground, and thrown the foundation stones into the Ganges’ .
Taranatha’s testimony that these universities were burnt by Islamic invaders finds Archaeological corroboration. Of Vikramashila, “The whole structure complex seems to have been destroyed by a fire, as indicated by a thick deposit of ash”. Of Nalanda, “It is possible that atleast part of Nalanda was destroyed by fire, since heaps of ashes and charcoal were found at excavation”
Similarly, the ruins of Odantapuri university were used in building the tomb of Malik Ibrahim Bayyu at Badi Pahari(Bihar Sharif) at that very site. The destroyed remains of Telhara university were used to constructed Sangi Masjid
(a)Remains of Nalanda university (b). Aerial view
Rooms of Nalanda University(photo courtesy: Shunya.net)
Teaching platform at Nalanda university
The conflagration of Vikramashila university resulted in heaps of ash the traces of which could still be found
Ruins of Odantapuri University
Tomb of Malik Ibrahim Bayyu at Badi Pahari constructed out of odantapuri ruins
Islamic tombs within Odantapuri site
People fleeing these invasions took with them their precious books to Nepal
There is, however, an old Kåvyåyana Śråddhavidhi (Nat. Arch. I 1320 gha). This ritual handbook belongs to the rare Kåvya school of the Śukla Yajurveda, otherwise found scattered only here and there in India (Nagpur, Orissa, Tamilnadu). Again, during the last part of the period described here, there was a considerable influx from Mithila, mostly caused by the Muslim conquest of Tirhut in 1324 AD. The Brahmins fleeing to Nepal brought with them such mss. as the Pårvaaśråddha25 (Laksmaa Samvat 171 = ca. 1290 AD), or the Våjasaneyinåm Vivåhapaddhati26 (La. S. 414 = ca. 1533 AD), the very title of which shows that this text belongs to the Våjasaneyi Śåkhå of the Śukla Yajurveda.
Feroz shah (c.1351) also busied himself in burning books of Hindus
Some Hindús had erected a new idol-temple in the village of Kohána,and the idolaters used to assemble there and perform their idolatrous rites. These people were seized and brought before me. I ordered that the perverse conduct of the leaders of this wickedness should be publicly proclaimed, and that they should be put to death before the gate of the palace. I also ordered that the infidel books, the idols, and the vessels used in their worship, which had been taken with them, should all be publicly burnt. The others were restrained by threats and punishments, as a warning to all men, that no zimmí could follow such wicked practices in a Musulmán country
Sultan Alla-ud-din Khilji burnt the famous library at Anhalwara Patan.
Francois Bernier, the French doctor who attended the Mughal court in the second half of the seventeenth century, reported from Varanasi that Sanskrit books were burned by the Muslims:
‘They [the Veda] are so scarce that my Agah, notwithstanding all his diligence, has not succeeded in purchasing a copy. The Gentiles indeed conceal them with much care, lest they should fall into the hands of the Muhammadans, and be burnt, as frequently has happened’
We are told the following about Aurangzeb
“Sultan Sikander (Aurangzeb) was the most zealous of the Sultans, and burnt the books of the Hindus whenever and wherever he got them.”
Multiple such citations could be produced from the primary sources. Yet, our learned scholar Pollock bizarrely and hastily brushes aside the whole primary evidence.
Further, he remarks
Sanskrit was once only confined to Brahmin rituals
Here, Pollock uses his first weapon against Sanskrit. Since not only amazing pervasiveness of Sanskrit but also its unrivalled continuity cannot be denied, Pollock tries to show that at one time it was just ritualistic language. The fact that Sanskrit was largely used in ritualistic contexts does not diminish its importance . It were elites who placed emphasis on rituals and thus remained Sanskrit an elitist language during this time. Anything which is elitist need not be known to masses to have value. Far more people know about a pornstar from USA than Pollock, does it mean Pollock’s value is any less than that of a pornstar? It is intrinsic value of anything that matters, not its spread among masses. However, it was not that Sanskrit was a Latin of India which non Brahmins did not have any clue of, used for only for some rituals by a few priests. The great Brahmin Sankskrit poet Rajasekhara(c.900) praises the Sanskrit poetry of a candAla(dalit) poet named divAkara and compares him to KalidAsa and baNa
It is obvious to us that in trying to push his theories Sheldon pollock has neglected all the evidence suggesting otherwise. Pollock wants to show that at its inception Sanskrit remained just a liturgical language confined to small Hindu priestly groups and it were the others who later broadened its horizons. Pollock argues that Sanskrit was neither important nor widespread at this stage. However, there is wholesale evidence to the contrary. The canonical Culla Vagga(5.33) says two monks requested Buddha’s permission to recast his words in Chandas. Tellingly, the adjectives applied to them were “kalyana-Vaca”(auspicious speaker) and “Kalayana-Vak-karaNa”(Maker of Auspicious speech). This clearly shows that even among early Buddhists, Sanskrit was considered auspicious and regarded highly contrary to Pollock’s assertions.
We also recall that K R norman’s extensive study of Pali canon reveals that it was increasingly sanskritized from its earliest days. The preference for sanskritic forms, absolutives mark that Sanskrit was considered an increasingly prestigious language even amongst Buddhists. At any rate, the local vernaculars were not as different from Sanskrit as non specialists would think
Most importantly, works written in Sanskrit during this time were not a few dry religious ones having no significance. Panini’s Ashtadhyayi dated by all Indologists to pre Mauryan times is written in this age. AL Basham has the following to say on Ashtadhyayi in his book “The Wonder That Was India”
“Though its fame is much restricted by its specialized nature, there is no doubt that Panini’s grammar is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of any ancient civilization, and the most detailed and scientific grammar composed before the 19th century in any part of the world“
Leonard Bloomfield(1887-1949) one of pioneers of modern day linguistics says makes the following remark on Ashtadhayayi
“While in the classical world scholars were dealing with language in a somewhat metaphysical way, the Indians were telling us what their language actually was, how it worked, and how it was put together. The methods and techniques for describing the structure of Sanskrit which we find in Panini have not been substantially bettered to this day in modern linguistic theory and practice. We today employ many devices in describing languages that were already known to Panini’s first two commentators.It was in India, however, that there rose a body of knowledge which was destined to revolutionize European ideas about language. The Hindu grammar taught Europeans to analyze speech forms; when one compared the constituent parts, the resemblances, which hitherto had been vaguely recognized, could be set forth with certainty and precision.”
Such great texts like Ashtadhyayi were written when as per Pollock Sanskrit was confined to some rituals. Can Pollock tell us some non Sanskrit works from same period which in secular fields are as important as Ashtadhyayi or Arthashastra?
To be continued
1)Fatwa-I-Jahandari, Zia-ud-din Barani. Sources of Indian Tradition(1988) p.489
2)It is also interesting to note that ziauddin barani was a friend of Amir Khusru and disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya, the Sufi par excellence of Medieval India whose glorification continues to this day
3)Khazvini, Hamdallah, Tarikh-i-Guzida
4)Utbi, Tarikh-I Yamini
5) Jain, meenakshi The India They Saw P.142
6) Mallory, Adams The Oxford Introduction to Proto Indo European(2006)
7)Essays on Ancient India(203) Pp.177
8)Levi, Sylvian Eminent orientalists(2002) pp.283
9)Somal, Bharat. World intellectuals on India (2015)
10)Sailendranath Sen. Textbook on Indian history and culture(2007)pp.4
11)Goel, Aruna .Environment and ancient Sanskrit literature(2003) pp.6
12)Masica, colin.P The Indo Aryan languages(1993)
14)Mueller, Max India:What it can teach us pp.79
15)Witzel, Michael. Bowing our heads to traditions
16)Pollock, Sheldon. The death of Sanskrit PP.416
17) Jain, Meenakshi. The India they saw. (Volume 3) PP.126
In this article, we examine how and why was Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed in c.1675 by Mughal Administration. What do we know about this incident? What were the factors behind his execution?
Now we turn to the prevalent narratives and examine them for historicity
A popular narrative circulates that Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life to prevent the forced conversions of Kashmiri Pandits. A group of Kashmiri Pandits implored Tegh Bahadur ji’s help from Mughal persecutions. Tegh bahadur travelled to Delhi to request Aurangzeb to stop persecuting Kashmiri Pandits. Aurangzeb was incensed and offered Tegh Bahadur an option of conversion or death. The Sikh guru chose the latter.
Is this narrative historically sound? According to the narrative, the head of delegation of Brahmins who went to meet Guru Tegh Bahadur was “Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt”. As the name reveals, this person, if he existed at all, should have been a Punjabi and definitely not a Kashmiri Pandit. “Dutt” surname was never in vogue among Kashmiri Pandits. Since the narrative looks suspicious at the first glance, let us examine further
Below, we examine the death of Guru Tegh Bahadurji according to earliest sources
One of the contemporary Sikh sources is the Dasam Granth(Bachitar natak) , an autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh ji(the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji ) completed by 1697. It describes the death of Guru as follows
ਹਰੀਕ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਸੁਤ ਵਏ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਤੇ ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਭਏ
Har Krishan (the next Guru) was his son; after him, Tegh Bahadur became the Guru
ਤਿਲਕ ਜੰਵੂ ਰਾਖਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤਾ ਕਾ ॥ ਕੀਨੋ ਬਡੋ ਕਲੂ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਕਾ ॥ He protected his tilak and sacred thread which marked a great event in kaliyuga
ਸਾਧਨ ਹੇਤਿ ਇਤੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਕਰੀ ॥ ਸੀਸੁ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸੀ ਨ ਉਚਰੀ ॥੧੩॥ साधन हेति इती जिनि करी ॥ सीसु दीआ पर सी न उचरी ॥१३॥ For the sake of his saints, he laid down his head without even a sigh..
ਧਰਮ ਹੇਤਿ ਸਾਕਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਕੀਆ ॥ ਸੀਸੁ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸਿਰਰੁ ਨ ਦੀਆ ॥ For the sake of his Dharma, he sacrificed himself. He laid down his head but not his creed.
ਨਾਟਕ ਚੇਟਕ ਕੀਏ ਕੁਕਾਜਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਲੋਗਨ ਕਹ ਆਵਤ ਲਾਜਾ ॥੧੪॥ The saints of the Lord abhor the performance of miracles and malpractices.
ਠੀਕਰਿ ਫੋਰਿ ਦਿਲੀਸਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪੁਰਿ ਕੀਯਾ ਪਯਾਨ ॥ Breaking the potsherd of his body head of the king of Delhi , He left for the abode of the Lord.
ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਸੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਆ ਕਰੀ ਨ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਆਨ ॥੧੫॥
None could perform such a feat as that of Tegh Bahadur.15.
ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਕੇ ਚਲਤ ਭਯੋ ਜਗਤ ਕੋ ਸੋਕ ॥
The whole world bemoaned the departure of Tegh Bahadur.
ਹੈ ਹੈ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਜਗ ਭਯੋ ਜੈ ਜੈ ਜੈ ਸੁਰ ਲੋਕਿ ॥੧੬॥
While the world Iamented, the gods hailed his arrival in heavens.
This account shows that Guru Tegh Bahadur ji died protecting his own tilak and Janeu i..e… his own dharma.
Apologists who still uphold that Guru Tegh Bahdur died defending Kashmiri Pandits translate this verse as “he died defending their tilak and dharma“. As Indologist Koenraad Elst observes 
The phrase commonly translated as “the Lord preserved their tilak and sacred thread” (tilak-janjû râkhâ Prabh tâ-kâ), referring to unnamed outsiders assumed to be the Kashmiri Pandits, literally means that He “preserved his tilak and sacred thread”, meaning Tegh Bahadur’s
It would already be unusual poetic liberty to render “their tilak and sacred thread” this way, and even if that were intended, there is still no mention of the Kashmiri Pandits in the story.
This is confirmed by one of the following lines in Govind’s poem about his father’s martyrdom: “He suffered martyrdom for the sake of his faith.”
As Elst rightly notes, there is no mention of Kashmiri Pandits even if such liberties were taken. As the next phrase “For the sake of his Dharma, he sacrificed himself” indicates, the act was done for defending his own dharma(religion), not that of Kashmiri Pandits
Apologists argue that Since Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was a Sikh, he could not have his own tilak and the phrase must be referring to Kashmiri pandits. However, such an argument is based on a flawed premise. It is clear from Guru Granth Sahib that Guru were adorned with tilak on initiation. The below verse describes how Guru Ram Das was anointed with tilak on his ascension to guruship
The Guru then blessed the Sodhi Ram Das with the ceremonial tilak mark, the insignia
of the True Word of the Shabad
All the paintings of Sikh Gurus before 1880 depict them with tilak , such as the one illustrated below
The story of Guru Tegh Bahadur meeting Aurangzeb to request him to end the persecution of Kashmiri Pandits is self-negating. As leading Sikh historian Hardip Singh Syan observes
But the narratives(of kashmiri pandits begging Guru’s help) also suggest the futility of his mission., because Aurangzeb is portrayed as dogmatic puritan who was too far from divinity to accede to Guru Tegh Bahadur’s request.
Further, he says
The major issue with this explanation of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s execution is the predominance given to the personal religious motivation of the Mughal emperor and the equally simplistic homogenisation of sikhs within the hargobind lineage… Tegh Bahadur was not the only ‘sikh’ guru of this period. Other ‘Gurus’ included Guru Harji, Guru Dhir Mal, Guru Ram Rai and possibly many other minor figures.It seems unlikely that Aurangzeb would have targeted a specific Sikh guru on purely religious grounds
The apologist stand is annihilated by the words of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji himself. Sikh sources say that when Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was summoned and asked to embrace Islam, he replied
My religion is Hindu and how can I abandon what is so dear to me? This religion helps you in this world and that, and only a fool would abandon it. God himself is the protector of this religion and no one can destroy it
This excerpt is taken from Guru Pratap Suraj Granth written by Kavi Santokh Singh(c.1800), one of the greatest ever Sikh Scholars. Its ‘Katha’ (Religious Discourse) in almost all prominent Gurdwaras is the gauge of its authenticity and popularity among the Sikh masses.
Finally, there is no mention of Tegh Bahadur ji in any kashmiri chronicle. As Elst observes, there is no record of Aurangzeb’s bigotry in kashmir(which is totally attested elsewhere) and large scale prosecution/mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits during his reign 
In any case, the story of forced mass conversions in Kashmir by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb is not supported by the detailed record of his reign by Muslim chronicles who narrate many accounts of his bigotry
We now examine another contemporary Sikh source which describes Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s execution. Sri Gursobha was written by a Sikh scholar named Sainapati (c.1700 CE). The following is its account of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Martyrdom
Then Har Rai was Guru,
Followed by Guru Har Krishan. |13|
Guru Tegh Bahadur emerged,
He covered all of creation with his protection.
He protected karam and dharam,
His eternal story was witnessed in the Kaliyug.|14|
His fame spread across the world like this,
He safeguarded all dharam.
Whose praise resounds in the three worlds,
Satiguru, protected honor in this way.|15|
Forehead mark, sacred thread, and places of worship
They became firm because of his compassion.
For the sake of dharam, he went to the abode of God,
Known as Guru Gobind Singh
It is noteworthy that Gursobha again makes no mention of Kashmiri Pandits. The same narrative is repeated in Das Gur Katha composed by Kavi Kankan and Suraj Pratap Granth by Bhai Santokh Singh that we have noted above. The above Granths refer to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji sacrificing his life for the sake of dharam(roughly religion). But what did Sikhs themselves write about the reason for Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s execution?
Sohan Lal Suri (c.1820)was a professional historian employed by Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh. His explanation of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s execution is as follows
Guru Tegh bahadur went into the country of Malwa and stayed there to give instrucion to his followers in a befitting manner.With Passage of time thousands of soldiers and horsemen used to be with him. camels and goods of all kinds remained at his disposal. Furthermore, those who were refractory towards the amils, the zamindars, the ijaradars, the diwans and the officers in general used to take refuge with Guru Tegh Bahadur. Regardless of the number of people with Guru, they were all fed by him.
Some deranged persons warned the emperor that if no notice of Guru was taken he would be an incitement to insurrection. If he was allowed to continue his activities for a long time, it would be extremely difficult to deal with him.
Upon this, the emperor sent experienced soldiers to bring the Guru to Shahjahanabad. They hastened to deliver Emperor’s message. The emperor desired a miracle from the Guru and would make him famous. The Guru replied that he was a faqir who renounced worldly ambitions and was content with his existence. But to no avail.
At Delhi, the emperor Aurangzeb insisted that Tegh Bahadur should work a miracle.
Knowing that self-sacrifice was unavoidable, he agreed to perform a miracle : he asserted that no sword would be effective against him. When the sword struck him, his head was severed from his body. A piece of paper was found tied on his neck with the following words : ‘the man gave up his head but not the secret .’
Notably, this standard account does not even mention Kashmiri Pandits. It attributes the reason of his execution to his increasing influence and his refuge to refractory groups. The Mughal officers were threatened with his influence. As historian Hardeep Syan says, Guruji was gaining supporters who were armed and disgruntled with local power. It is likely that his supporters saw him as an independent Raja and his collection of donations were seen by local Mughal powers as collection of taxes
Written in 1783 by Ghulam Husain Taba-Tabai, The Siyar-ul-Mutakharin gives a brief account of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s death
Tegh Bahadur, gathering many disciples, became powerful, and thousands of people accompanied him. A contemporary of his, Hafiz Adam, who was a Muslim belonging to the order of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, had gathered about him a great multitude of followers. Both of these took to the practice of levying forcible exactions and moved about in the land of the Punjab. Tegh Bahadur took money from Hindus and Hafiz Adam from Mussalmans. The royal news writers wrote to the Emperor that the two fakirs, one Hindu and the other Muslim named so-and-so, had taken to the practice. It would not be strange if, with the increase of their influence, they created trouble
Aurangzeb decided that the Muslim be banished, but the Sikh guru be executed.
According to this account, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji teamed up with a certain Adam Hafiz and began levying forcible exactions. This account concurs with Sohan Lal Suri’s record examined above that Tegh Bahadur Ji was seen as a threat to Mughal administration. Notable again is the complete absence of any mention of Kashmiri Pandits.
It is striking that in both the Sikh and Muslim narratives of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Martyrdom, there is no mention of kashmiri Pandits. What was the origin of this myth?
The myth of Guru sacrificing his life for kashmiri pandits first finds mention in the during the British age. Captain Murray wanted to get Sikh history recorded. He came in contact with Ratan Singh Bhangu and requested the latter to acquaint him with Sikh History. To this end, Bhangu wrote Guru Panth Prakash in 1841. This was the first book to mention this legend. In c.1909, McAuliffe`s “Sikh religion: Its Gurus, Sacred writings, and authors” was published. He states in the introduction how he had inserted an oath of loyalty to the British administration in the Khalsa initiation ritual. He is widely accredited for the translation of the Guru Granth Sahib from Gurmukhi to English
His intentions behind writing this book, in his own words, are
It seems, at any rate politic to place before the Sikh soldiery their Gurus prophecies in favor of the English and the texts of their sacred writings which foster their loyalty
It is fairly clear that Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s influence was seen as a threat by Mughal administration and this was the reason for his execution. The narrative Tegh Bhadur sacrificing his life for Kashmiri Pandits has no historical background whatsoever and is a product of colonial British writings
Dasam Granth P.131
Elst, Koenraad .”Who is a Hindu”(2002)
Sri Guru Granth Sahib P.923
Syan, Hardeep Singh. “Sikh Militancy in the Seventeenth Century” (2013)
Gur Pratap Suraj Granth VOL 12 P.467
Elst, Koenraad .”Who is a Hindu”(2002)
Sri Gursobha. 235
Syan, Hardeep Singh. “Sikh Militancy in the Seventeenth Century” (2013)
The Punjab: Past and Present: Essays in Honour of Dr. Ganda Singh
The Sikh Religion,1909, M.A. Macauliffe, Preface xxii Volume 1, By Max Arthur MacAuliffe p. 13
This silver rhyton has been discovered at Deylaman, Northern Iran.The inscription as well as leading art historians identify the artefact as representing “Durga mahishasuramardini”
Interestingly, it gives new insights into high quality production of silver icons. Its provenance is taken to be in Eastern Afghanistan. It was looted during the Arab Muslim raids on shahi and Zunbil kingdoms of Southern eastern Afghanistan in the latter half of seventh century. Its provenance beyond the Hindu Kush is not surprising as archaeology attests to the presence of Durga Icons and worship in pre Islamic Afghanistan. Arabs referred to the land beyond river Helmand in western Afghanistan as “Al-hind”. Arab Chronicles refer to the ruler of Helmand as “the king of Al-Hind, who bore the title Zunbil”. Many other Durga Mahishamardini figurines(of primarily marble) dating from c.400CE to c.800CE have been discovered from South-Eastern Afghanistan Kabul valley was strongly Hindu in religion during the Pre Islamic age. In the city of Kapisa alone, Xuanzang(c.630) talks about 10 Brahmanical temples and around a 1000 aesthetics
Xuanzang(c.630) relates that Kabul Shahis made donations of 18 foot silver images of buddha. The source of Shahi silver was the mines of panjshir . Our silver rhyton bears an imprint of “Hadda classicism” collated with a “Gupta sensuousness”. The crescent motive (chandrabindu/aad chand) on forehead is reminiscent of shaivite signs found elsewhere. Our silver rhyton could be compared to a figurine discovered under Khona Masjid in Surkh kotal The figurine is dated to early Post-Kushana period and provides an iconographical model
It is remarkable that in the Surkh Kotal inscription, Kushan emperor Kanishka explicitly identified Durga(Uma) with their native goddess Nana.
Kanishka’s worship and identification of Durga with Nana is apparent in these lines of the inscription
Then King Kanishka gave orders to Shafar the karalrang  *at this . . . to make the sanctuary which is called B . . . ab, in the *plain of Ka . . ., for these  gods, (of) whom the glorious Umma leads the *service here, (namely:) the *lady Nana and the  lady Umma, Aurmuzd, the gracious one, Sroshard, Narasa, (and) Mihr.
Such synthesis and fusion lasted well into our times. The Goddess referred to as “Hingla devi” by Indic speakers is referred to as “bibi Nani(Nana)” by Iranic speakers of Balochistan and Afghanistan. Thus, it seems that kushans played a prominent role in sprouting up the trade routes, facilitating cultural as well as material contacts and dispersing the worship of Indic gods into the heartlands of Afghanistan
It is striking that these minor kingdoms of Shahis and zunbils were able to provide stiff resistance to invading Islamic armies of saffarids and Arabs. It took the Islamic armies just 20 years to conquer all of Iran. By contrast, these kingdoms of Afghanistan resisted Islamic onslaught until Ghazni’s father Subutegin wrested Laghman(Afghanistan) from Shahi ruler Jayapala during c.990 CE. Not only that the Hindu Kabul Shahis withstood onslaughts by mighty Arab empire(which extended from Spain to Talas in china) for over three centuries , the zunbils managed to raid westwards deep into Arab territory of Nimruz
It has been argued by historians that the Hindu kingdoms of Kabul valley offered the best resistance to Islamic kingdom because these mountain tribes and militant chieftains were harder to be conquered in comparison to the dehqani farmers of Iran
Whatever the reason, it is certain that Kabul Shahis by withstanding mighty Arab and Turkish onslaughts at the gateways of Al-Hind delayed an Islamic conquest of mainland India for a few centuries
1)Martha L. Carter Artibus Asiae, Vol. 41, No. 4
3)Wink, Andre Al-hind: The Making of the Indo-islamic World V.1
4)Collections of Kabul museum
5)Beal, op. cit Vol 1 p.551
6)Walker, A catalogue of Arab-Byzantine and post reform Umayyad coins, London 1956 PP.3
7)Martha L. Carter Artibus Asiae, Vol. 41, No. 4 (1979)
8)D Schlumberger “De rhyton de Khona Masjid”(1971) PP.3
9) Kanishka Inscription at Rabatak(Surkh Kotal) 10-11. Translation by Bactrian linguist Nicholas Sims williams
10) DT Potts “Nana in Bactria”(2001) PP.23
11)Wink, Andre Al-hind: The Making of the Indo-islamic World V.1
On April 3 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted
According to oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal was the Chera King & a contemporary of the Holy Prophet.Cheraman Perumal went to Arabia and embraced Islam after meeting the Holy Prophet at Mecca.The mosque has an ancient oil lamp that is always kept burning and believed to be over a thousand years old.1
The Cheraman Juma mosque of Kodungallur now hosts a newly sculpted inscription which reads the mosque was constructed in 629 CE. If true, this tale confers upon Cheraman Juma Masjid a unique distinction of being the World’s third oldest mosque after Mecca and Medina. Below, we examine the historicity of these claims
Sources of the “oral” history
The “oral tradition” of Cheraman is encountered in an Arabic document written in Malabar called Qissat Shakarwati Farmad. The legend can be summarised as follows2
Once upon a time, Indian king Cheraman Perumal was walking on the balcony of his palace when he spotted the moon splitting into two and joining back again. Bewildered, he consulted a few astrologers, who confirmed that such an event had indeed occurred and was not a mystical experience. They were not able to give him a satisfactory explanation. However, prophet Muhammad(PBUH) appeared in a dream and revealed that it was his deed. Few months later, he got a few Arab visitors on their way to Adam’s footprint in Ceylon 2 and asked them to provide a ship to visit Mecca.The king abdicated the throne, divided up the kingdom and set sail to Mecca to meet this man. He met the Prophet and converted to Islam and lived in Arabia for a while. He married the sister of a Malik Ibn Dinar. Then to spread the religion in his homeland, the converted Perumal wanted to return to Kerala, but he died in Adan and had his tomb constructed. . Later, few of his followers reach Kodungallur and it is they who set up the first mosques, including the one at Kodungallur. According to the legend, Saraf Ibn Malik, Malik Ibn Dinar, Malik Ibn Habib, Ibn Malik and their wives and friends were responsible for establishing the first mosques at Kodungallur, Kollam (in North, not Quilon), Maravi (Matayi), Fakanur, Manjarur (Mangalore), Kanjirakuttu (Kasergode), Jarfattan (Karippat), Dahfattan (Dharmatam), Fandarina (Pantalayani Kollam) and Caliyath (Chaliyam near Beypore)
To summarise the legend
King Cheraman Perumal witnessed splitting of the moon and saw Prophet Muhammad in a dream wherein Prophet confirmed it was his deed
He asked his Arab visitors to construct for him a ship to visit Mecca
He visited Mecca, met the prophet and converted to Islam. He died in Aden(Yemen) before he could reach back kerala. The Muslims constructed his tomb
His followers built mosques at all the major towns of kerala
Besides the mythical aspects of the legend such as the prophet splitting the moon, there are historical problems too. Malik Ibn Dinar the brother in law of Cheraman Perumal who had been introduced in this story as a contemporary follower of the prophet was actually born in c.658 CE, 26 years after the death of prophet. Most of the towns of Kerala mentioned in the legend did not exist during the time of Prophet Muhammad. There is no tomb of Cheraman Perumal in Aden or anywhere in the middle east. The tale of Cheraman dividing his kingdom also betrays a late zamorin date (c.1420) when Kerala had been politically divided into three regions
In 851 CE, Arab traveller Sulaiman visited Kerala. He found no Muslims or Mosques.3
An inscription of 875 AD which records the king of kerala providing refuge to the earliest group of Arab immigrants is the earliest attested proof of Muslim presence in kerala. 4 However, we have no idea whether the immigrants stayed in kerala or returned back to their country. The Persian traveller Nakhuda Buzurg (c. 951) in his book ‘Ajaib Al-Hind’ speaks of Muslims travelling to Kollam in kerala . However, he does not mention the presence of any mosque. Ibn E Batuta visted Kerala in c.1342. He talks about the Muslims of Kerala but makes no mention of either Cheraman Perumal or his Mosque. Even the traveller Abd-Al-Razzaq(c.1442) mentions neither of them. However, he mentions two Jami Mosques only in Calicut(Calicut, not Kodungallur where Cheraman Masjid is located). Ibn-E-Batuta’s and Abd-Al-Razzaq’s testimony is the first textual reference to the presence of mosques in kerala
None of the early or medieval travellers who visited Kerala has referred to the legend of Cheraman Perumal’s conversion in their records. Thus Sulaiman, Al Biruni, Benjamin of Tuleda, Al Kazwini, Marco Polo, Friar Odoric, Friar Jordanus, Ibn Babuta, Abdur Razzak, Nicolo-Conti – none of these travellers speaks of the story of the Cheraman’s alleged conversion to Islam5.
This story of cheraman Juma Masjid is a tradition among the Mappillas of kerala. The Mapillas of kerala are a community formed by the Arab traders who inserted themselves into keralite society” by a special islamic institution known as muta(temporary marriage) with the local fisherwomen.6 The offspring were raised in sunni Islam. Thus , the ethnogenesis of Mapilla was a slow historical process which culminated only in 13th-14th centuries. This is when we encounter the presence of a community called Mapilla for the first time in history7
Historically, the Muslims in Kerala also consisted of another group called ‘paradesis’ or foreigners. These were Persian, Arab, Turk and North Indian settlers8. There was innate rivalry between these two groups, and each claimed supremacy over another. As Buchanan noted in the early nineteenth century
“Being of Arabic extraction, the Mappillas look upon themselves as of more honourable birth than the Tartar Mussulmans of North India who of
course are of a contrary opinion” … 9
This fact is borne out by subsequent history. Writing c.1510, The Portuguese author Barbosa is the first to mention the story of Cheraman’s conversion to Islam10. However, his story strikingly differs from Qissat Shakarwati Farmad in one aspect- Cheraman is dated to c.875 AD and does not meet the prophet. In this version, he was simply converted by Arab visitors to Kerala
For the source of Barbosa’s tale, we need to look no further than Sheikh Zain-Al-Din. Shaikh Zain-Al-Din(c.1580) in Tufat Al mujahiddin retells the story of Cherman Permula’s conversion to Islam, but even in this version Cheraman does not meet the prophet. He only dreams of the prophet and converts to Islam. Zain-Al-Din dates Cheraman Perumal to c.822 AD11. Talking about legend of Cheraman Perumal meeting the prophet, he says “this cannot be true12”
We see rival groups at work. The legend of Cheraman Perumal meeting the prophet is a tradition popular among Mapillas of kerala and forms a part of their folklore. It is likely that the legend came into existence in order to prove the antiquity and respectable origin of Mapilla’s community by claiming that their king was converted by the prophet himself13. Zain Al-Din was an Arab settler in Kerala and as such he belonged to the pardesi(foreigner) group. No wonder he dismissed the Mapilla legend of Cheraman meeting the prophet as the purpose of this legend was the glorification of his rival Mappillas
The Portuguese Christians used the legend to their meet their political ends. Writing c.1610, Diogo de Coutos claimed that Cheraman Permual converted to Christianity and met Jesus Christ. The Portuguese fabrication was apparently based on the Muslim legend of Cheraman’s conversion to Islam14
The earliest mosques of kerala are not older than 14th century CE15. The earliest mosque, based on architectural and inscriptional evidence is mithqalpalli mosque of Calicut (c.1339). However, it is almost impossible for these settlements to have been older because Calicut sprung into existence as an important port town only in 12th-13 th century CE. Infact, there is no reference to Calicut anywhere in history before Ibn Batuta16 It is important to note that there is nothing archaic in Cherman Juma Masjid. The Cherman mosque does not house any historical inscription or any artefact17. The extant structure can be dated to 17th century at the earliest18
The inscriptional evidence and the testimony of travellers point out to the inception of mosques in 14th century AD when the ethonogenesis of Mapilla community took place They dominated the trading business at ports, established mosques under the extensive patronage of zamorin kings and multiplied their settlements19
The Malayalam book keralolpathi narrates the legend of Cheraman’s alleged conversion to Islam. However, according to this legend, Cheraman was last in the list of twenty five Perumal kings who ruled kerala successively for twelve years each. According to this legend in keralolpathi,Cheraman was sent by vijayanagara king krishnadevaraya20.Further, Cheraman was also the companion of shankaracharya who established customary rulers for everyone in kerala including foreigners such as Dutch, French and English.21
Keralolpathi mentions the presence of such foreigners as Dutch and English in kerala. Thus, it could only be dated it to 18th century at the earliest. The date of Cheraman’s conversion is given in keralolpathi as 345 CE! 22It could safely be inferred that keralolpathi borrowed the story of Cheraman’s conversion to Islam from Islamic sources and tried to fit it within an Indic framework. In other sections of keralolpathi, Cheraman is reported to have converted to Buddhism proving without a speck of doubt that this book is a mere collection of legends. That Keralolpathi makes the great Shankaracharya (c.800) coeval with Krishnadevaraya(c.1525) and the British does not add much to its credibility.
Who was Cheraman Perumal?
The name ‘Cherman Perumal’ is first encountered in the Tevaram poems of the Great Shaivite poet Sundarar(c.730 CE). In Tevaram 7.39, also known as Tirut Tontat Kokai(‘List of the saints’), Cheraman perumal is named among the 63 great shaivite saints. He was known to be a friend of Sundarar He was also known in Tamil literature as Kalarirrarivar. The extant works of Cheraman perumal are ponuvannattantati, tiruvalur mummanikkovai and tirukayilaya nanavula.23
These works help us to understand that Cherman Perumal was born in the royal chera family at the capital city Kodungallur of Malainatu in what is today’s kerala. According to periya puranam(c.1150), Cheraman perumal spent most of his childhood in the service of Thiruvanchikkulam Shiva temple at Kodungallur24. Later, he turned out to be an able king who built ports and temples. However, at a certain age he developed greater interest in spirituality and met the great shaivite saint Sundarar 25. Together, they visited many shaivite centres of pilgrimage including Chidambaram. He became a great devotee of Lord Shiva and sang poems to him. He composed the poem tirumaraikkattantati(now lost). While Sundarar sang patikam, cheraman sang antati26.It is mentioned in Periya Puranam that he ascended to kailasha(the abode of Shiva) on a horseback along with his friend Sundarar(who was mounted on an elephant) from Thiruvanchikkulam Shiva temple of Kodungallur27. This old temple was also mentioned in Thevaram hymns of Sundarar. The day of ascension to kailasha is called Cheraman day which is an annual event since then, celebrated with pomp and splendor. 28
Even Shaikh Zain-Al-Din(c.1580) in Tufat Al mujahiddin(see above) states that Hindus believed the king cheraman Perumal ascended to the sky. They also believed that he would come down one day and that was the reason why they used to keep a pitcher of water and a pair of sandals with lit lamps and decorations at above mentioned cheraman’s native Thiruvanchikkulam Shiva temple of Kodungallur29
He continues to be celebrated as one of the greatest shaivite saints.
It is to be noted that nowhere in his works or the later biographies written after his death is there any slightest trace of his conversion out of shaivism. As PC Alexander in his book ‘Dutch in Malabar’ says, he had been a shaivite all along. Beginning c.1000, the Chola rulers constructed monumental temples in the sites associated with the nayanars. Thus, their poems were sung in carnatic music and their tales sculpted all over the walls of temples. The stories of cheraman perumal and his friend sambandar were told throughout the bhakti age. Paintings were produced depicting Sundarar reaching Kailasha followed on horse back by cheraman Perumal . .
A chola painting (c.1000) depicting the ascension of Cheraman Perumal and Sundarar to kailisa
At this point , it is important to note that Cheraman Perumal simply means ‘the great chera king’. It denoted not a single name but a royal title that was assumed by many rulers of kerala30. However, the most prominent and remarkable amongst them was the shavite saint who went by this epithet. The later kulasekhara rulers of kerala(who ruled from c.820 to c.1194), who also assumed the title of ‘cheraman perumal’, had a special reverence for this poet saint. Infact, the capital city of kulasekharas, Mahodayapuram, was built around the temple. The last of the kulasekhara rulers was Rama Varma kulasekhara, who also assumed the title of ‘cheraman perumal’. But we find that even this ruler does not show any trace of conversion to Islam, inspite of the book keralolpathi’s contention that last of cheramans converted to Islam (see above)
Thus, it becomes obvious that the story of conversion of Cheraman cannot be found in native sources. The question arises, what was the source of this legend?
Islamic roots of the legend of Cheraman’s conversion
The story of cheraman perumal’s conversion to Islam actually was actually taken from older Islamic legends. There is an Islamic tradition concerning an Indian, a commoner but not king, embracing Islamic after witnessing the miracle of splitting of moon performed by prophet Muhammad. This story is related by Muhammad Ibn al-Husayn(c.1250). On his visit to India, he passed by a village and was informed that it was inhabited by a man called Sheikh Ratan31. This sheikh Ratan had witnessed the miracle of splitting of the moon. He met the prophet and embraced Islam. He was still alive when Muhammad Husayn(c.1250). visited him!32 It is related that he could live for over 600 years because of the blessing of prophet! Thus story was widely believed and quoted in the later chronicles33
These narratives of conversion of a renowned king of the past could also be found in older Islamic sources. For instance, it is stated (Quran 10.90) that Egyptian Pharaoh(c.1300 BCE) converted to Islam
In the riyat-Al-Auliya(c.1650), it is mentioned that the illustrious king Hindu Bhoja also witnessed the miracle of splitting of the moon and was converted to Islam34. Further, he died before hijra era(c.623)35. Needless to say, this story is full of inconsistencies. First, Bhoja belonged to c.1200 AD and was not a contemporary of prophet. Further, Bhoja’s capital was located at Dhara and not Ujjain. At Abdullah Changal mosque(Madhya pradesh), there is an inscription dated to c.1436 which also talks about conversion to Islam of king Bhoja
It is clear that these traditions came into existence precisely because the late local converts to Islam wanted to prove the antiquity and respectable origin of their community36.. By depicting the first convert from Malabar as a king who was honoured and converted
by the Prophet himself, at a very early stage of his mission (before the hijra!),
was his companion for five years and died as a Muslim on his way to spread
Islam in his homeland, the tradition was likely to enhance the status of the
Mapilla community vis-a-vis other Muslim groups37.. This is especially relevant when we take into consideration the tensions between Mapillas and Paradesi Muslims as well as claims of relative supremacy38.
As Friedmann observes39.
The story of Cheraman, like that of Bhoja, is an expression of the Indian
Muslims’ desire to show that their conversion took place at a very early stage of
Islamic history. Both stories depict the first converts to Islam as kings
Taking into consideration all the aforementioned facts, a conclusion is arrived at
A ruler-saint known as Cheraman Perumal was, from the beginning of shaivite bhakti movement(c.700), highly regarded in the south and many legends arose around him. He became almost a southern counterpart of the great king Bhoja. He was famed throughout kerala and Tamilnadu. The later generations also held him in high regard
Arab Muslim immigrants first entered kerala in 875 AD. However, these were simply a few temporary merchants who did not have much impact on the society or demographics . However, some of the Arab immigrants contracted temporary marriages with the locals and the slow ethnic impact led to the ethnogenesis of a group called Mapillas by 14th century40.. The Mapillas could colonise the trade and become wealthy because the Hindus were forbidden to travels across the oceans according to Dharma shastras41. . They were also excellent fighters. For these reasons, they were highly patronised by the zamorins of calicut. By 15th century, they constructed mosques in the important cities of kerala
Although the Mapilla equalled the foreign Muslims in political and economic power, They were still looked down upon because of their Indian origins. It is for these reasons that Malayali speaking Mapillas wanted to prove their antiquity of Islam. What better way to do this than claim than their great Malayali king Cheraman was himself converted to Islam by the prophet ? Soon, a place in Cheraman’s famed hometown of Kodungallur was identified as the site where a mosque had been built by his followers. The story of Cherman Perumal could be turned upside down by substituting his visit to Chidambaram with a visit to Mecca. The foreign Muslims contested the Malayali Mappilla claims that their king met the prophet. The Portuguese, who were initially content with documenting the legend in their memoirs, claimed that Cherman was converted by Jesus Christ himself to establish the antiquity of their own religion in Kerala. In the later centuries, the legend became firmly established and was incorporated into keralolpathi, a collection of legends
It is highly probable that Malayalam calendar (c.826) commenced with what had been considered by Malayali Hindus in Medieval age as the date of ascension of Cheraman Perumal 42.
[In this article, I use ‘Asur’ to refer to a tribe in Bengal and Bihar. I use ‘asura’ to refer to the Hindu mythological beings]
Summary-The article looks into the claims that there exist Mahishasura worshipping tribes in India who mourn during Dussehra and bewail the ‘Aryan invasion’. Every single one of these claims turns out to be false
On Feb. 24 2016, India’s education minister Smriti Irani read out a pamphlet that had been circulated on ‘Mahishasura Martyrdom Day’. This ‘Mahishasura Martyrdom day’ is deliberately organised during the Hindu festival of Dussehra.
Below I reproduce contents of the said pamphlet-
“Durga Puja” is the most controversial racial festival, where a fair skinned beautiful goddess Durga is depicted brutally killing a dark-skinned native called Mahishasura
Mahishasura, a brave self-respecting leader, tricked into marriage by Aryans. They hired a sex worker called Durga, who enticed Mahishasura into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning, during sleep
Interestingly, many news outlets provided ideological justification to these utterances. They drew our attention to a lesser known tribe which calls itself ‘Asur’. References were made to an article of Shine Jacob from business standard and a piece from DNA. The argument forwarded was that the JNU students were right after all. Durga was indeed an ‘Aryan whore’ and she was hired to defeat the great native ruler ‘Mahishasura’. Further, a few native tribes of North Bengal still worship ‘Mahishasura’ and mourn during the days of Durga puja. The conclusion had to be straight forward. The evil Hindu Aryans defeated ‘Mahishashura’ the great king of Aboriginal tribes and conquered India
The first oddity in this narrative that struck me was name ‘Mahishasura’. This is an Aryan Sanskritic Hindu word meaning buffalo. Mahisha does not mean anything in the language of Asur tribes. It is actually a pure ‘Hindu Aryan’ word. The word with its feminine declension occurs from Rigveda onwards  It has cognates in other ‘Indo-European’ and ‘Aryan’ languages. One of the greatest Sanskrit linguists,Mayrhofer in his Magnum opus confirms that the sanskrit word mahisha is cognate with Iranian *Mazisha, and Greek Maiso zon
Why do the ‘Asur’ tribes not have a word for their own hero-king and resort to borrow his name, and indeed his myth, from their supposedly ‘Aryan enemies’ ? If this tale was indeed old, it would atleast retain some trace of either his name and the tale of his fight with Durga that differs from the mainstream ‘Brahmanical version’. Apart from the vulgar invectives hurled against Durga which reveal more about the mindset of JNU students, this tale has nothing of any historical value to offer. What are the other legends of this ‘Mahishasura’ the hero of ‘Asur’ tribes?
Ergo, I examine the tales of ‘Asur’ tribes. Below I reproduce some aspects of ‘Asur’ culture as reported by the aforementioned Media articles
a small community of tribals living in Jharkhand and the tea-growing belt of Jalpaiguri district in north Bengal was in mourning. These are the Asurs, a scheduled tribe of less than 8,000 members, who claim descendence from Mahishasura
The Asurs believe that the Devi Mahatmya story of the Markandeya Purana is biased. According to the Asurs, the birth of Durga from the conjoined powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva was a “crooked conspiracy” hatched because their king Mahishasura was blessed with a boon by Brahma that no man or god could kill him. “The devas are the culprits. Our king was a true warrior from the earth who defeated Indra, the king of the devas, and drove them out of heaven. They were jealous of our dynasty and our forefathers,” says Dahru Asur
“The devas are the invaders who came to the earth and killed our ancestors. We don’t like to see the Durga Puja. We have a separate puja ceremony remembering and mourning our forefathers on Mahalaya, Sashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami [the six days of Durga Puja],” says Pandra Asur, his neighbour.
During Durga Puja, the elders of the Asur community go into complete isolation so that not even a word about Durga reaches them.
. The reason members of this tribe mourn in these four festive days.These families believe they are direct descendants of Mahishasura
The day on which Durga idols are immersed, their four-day mourning ends and two-day celebrations begin. On these two days, they worship Mahishasura, sort of a counter to Goddess Durga.Their revelry includes eating meat and drinking hadia
Summarising the claims:
1)The Asurs claim descent from Mahishasura
2) They believe Devi Mahatmya is a biased ‘crooked conspiracy’
3)Their Asur king defeated Indra, but the deva invaders ‘came to earth and killed their ancestors’
4)They mourn during Durga puja and celebrate immediately afterwards by worshipping Mahishasura and indulging in meat and revelry
Considerable research has been carried out on these tribes. John-Baptist Hoffman’s monumental work of 15 volumes,’Encyclopedia Mundarica'(1928) dealt with Asur and other neighbouring Munda tribes. Anthropologist and Historian K.K Leuva was stationed at Ranchi as assistant commissioner of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. His field and library work of more than a decade on Asur tribe culminated in his book ‘The Asur'(1963). They have also been dealt with in ‘Bulletin of Bihar tribal research institute'( 1964), Land and tribal people of Bihar (Narmadeshwar prasad 1961),’Tribes of India'(KS Singh 1994) and ‘Asurs and their dancers'(joseph marianus kujur 1996). Recently, linguist GDS Anderson carried out his pioneering work on Munda languages. ‘Asur’ is classified as a North Munda language’ very closer to its cousin the Mundari(Munda)
Strikingly, not one of these works mention any of the above claims. Infact, there is no scholarly mention at all of any of these claims in any scholarly work published until now. . None of these works even mention ‘Mahishasura’ in relation to the ‘asur’. Good enough to throw JNU claims into dustbin and find out when,why and how they were manufactured
K.K Leuva’s work is the most extensive field research carried out on these tribes. It elucidates interesting aspects of ‘Asur’ religious culture. The Asurs do not kill cows.  . This is not surprising, as their neighbouring scheduled tribes who resemble them in most respects, the kharia, consider beef a taboo. The Asurs believe human race was created by Lord Mahadev and his wife Parvati . The worship Surya (Suraj devta) and Goddess earth(Dharti mai)  . They worship Chandi so to acquire ‘miraculous powers’ ;. They also worship Gowri devta . They worship Singa Bonga(literally meaning ‘sun god’). Anthropologist Kujur(1996) informs us that they celebrate Hindu festivals such as Holi, Kartika,Dussehra etc..,. The asur know of Ramayana and have their own sthala-purana like version of the tale of Hanuman burning lanka
Thus, far from mourning during Dussehra, we find in field research that the ‘Asur’ celebrated Dussehra
It is obvious from these accounts that the ‘Asur’ are worshippers of Durga and these Himalayan lies are a malicious JNU propaganda. They have their genesis in the works of Malati shengde. Malati Shengde is a PN Oak of the left and her extreme fringe theories are not taken seriously by any reputed scholar anywhere. However, Malati did not fabricate these lies. In the last ten years, a few politically charged associations of JNU roped in Asur youngsters and deliberately brainwashed them with these lies. A few Asur youngsters are now glad to embrace the JNU claim that they were once the mightiest rulers of whole of India before ‘Hindu Aryans’ usurped their kingdom. It is also possible that some of these idea could be introduced into the Asur society when they go back home. That the JNU pamphleteers have nothing to show as a reference in itself debunks these lies. However, it is a dangerous precedent because the Asur tribes unfortunately have a very low literacy rate(10% as of 1981 census) and are vulnerable to propaganda. While 71.6% of Asurs considered themselves as Hindus in census of 1961, only 48% did so in 1981. The decrease in Hindu percentage has been complimented by an increase in the percentage of ‘Asur’ adopting Christianity and of those returning themselves as ‘Asur’. Due to aforementioned social conditions, Christian evangelists have invested considerably into these tribes. Bible society translated the four gospels into Munda language by 1881. Already by 1885, Constant Lievens was sent to convert them. Ever since, missionaries have been active in the area. It is conceivable that Christian converts who have severed ties with their ancestral religious and cultural heritage will be more forthcoming to embrace the JNU propaganda.
A question needs to be answered. How did these tribes, then, acquire the name ‘Asur’? The ‘Asur’ were primitive Iron smelters . They were driven out of some lands by their cousins, the Munda tribes who are also classified as Scheduled tribe. The Asur were feared. They were known for their Iron smelting and black magic. Infact, Black magic plays a major part in the life of an ‘Asur’ person. They make clay idols of humans. The asur believe that piercing such idols could actually pierce the intended human . They were feared for their magic. The neighbouring (scheduled) tribes such as Oraon and Munda pray against ‘the evil mouth of asur brothers’  According to the neighbouring kolarian tribes, the ‘Asur’ used to be robbers . It is not hard to see why these neighbouring tribes labelled them ‘Asur’ A legend named ‘Asur kahani’ is an important part of Munda religious system. According to this legend, the spirits are widowed Asur women .
But what do the Asurs themselves have to say about their origin? They believe they were a race of divinities who attended to God ‘Bhagwan’ in heaven. However, they were inflated with pride and declared themselves equal to Gods. As a result, they were expelled from heaven and cast into lower regions and earth. Here, they took to Iron smelting and were designated as Asurs
It is important to see that the Asur legend of their origin has no mention of any hero Mahishasura and his death at the hands of ‘Aryan whore’ Durga. On the contrary, they were expelled precisely because they considered themselves equal to Gods. Thus, the Asur moral code treats with contempt any Asur historical figure who puts himself on equal footing with gods. The origin of their ethonymn is not attributed to any mythological ‘Asura figure’, but to their efficiency in Iron smelting and magic. This is the final nail in the coffin of JNU propaganda
It is sad to see that this episode has taken one ugly turn after another. Sagarika ghose tweets that “Ram vs Ravan” is a ‘dominant part of Bahujan thought’. It is sad that such gibberish passes off for intellectual discourse in India. Renowned scheduled caste saints such as Ravidas, Kabir, Namadeva,Chokhamela, Harichand Thakur, Ghasidas, Kanhopatra etc..,. were devotees of Rama and not Ravana.
Kabir has the following to say on Ravana:
जिन गड़ कोट कीए कं चन के छोिड गइआ सो रावनु काहे कीजतु है मिन भावन! किह कबीर ते अंते मुकते जन्ह हरदै राम रसाइनु :
Translation: Ravan acted as it pleased his mind. In the end, he died leaving behind his fortresses of gold. Says kabir, only those who has sublime essence of ‘Ram’ in their hearts are liberated
Says Namdeva, another Dalit saint
सरब सोइन की लंका होती रावन से अिधकाई खन मिह भई पराई तेरा नामु रूड़ो रूपु रूड़ो अित रं ग रूड़ो मेरो रामईआ
Translation:Lanka was totally rich with gold. Nobody was more powerful than Ravana but in a second it was all gone. Your Name is so beautiful! Your form is so beautiful! Your Love is so very beautiful, O Rama!!!
This was Dalit intellectual thought. ‘Your name is beautiful. Your form is beautiful. Your love is beautiful , Rama!’. All the aforementioned saints are highly revered among Dalits even today.
Even today, many Dalits are hardcore devotees of Lord Rama, sometimes of a greater degree than most other Hindus. If Sagarika does not believe her eyes, she will do well to take a trip to Dalit villages of chattisgarh
The Ramanami dalits of chattisgarh are hardcore devotees of lord Ram. They master the ‘ram charit manas’ of Tulsidas by heart and tattoo the name ‘Raam’ all over their body
These are the real Dalits outside the JNU circles. I challenge sagarika ghosh and her likes to produce one pre modern pre 1900 poem exclusively in praise of Ravana written by Dalits. So, this notion of “Rama vs.Ravana dalit thought” is an utter travesty. It was fabricated with a malicious intention of dividing Hindu society and casting further doubts into vulnerable minds. As a consequence, the dissent leads to violence and peaceful existence of society is cast in danger
Finally, it is important to stress the origins of ‘Asura’. The JNUWallahs who claim Asuras are original inhabitants of India referring to Aryan Invasion Theory are misreading it. No where does the said theory claim Asuras were original inhabitants of India. The Aryan invasion/immigration theory says that ‘Asuras’ were mythological beings worshipped outside of India and brought to India by Indo-Aryans.
One of the greatest modern proponents of Aryan Migration theory, Michael witzel remarks–
A prominent feature of Indo-Iranian religion is the emergence, probably in the Ural area, of a group of gods of law knows as Asuras
Like Michael Witzel, most if not all western scholarly proponents of modern Aryan Migration Theory place the Asuras in Urals of Eurasian steppe. The JNUWallahs who still insist Asuras were ‘Aborignal tribes’ are banking on 200 year old outdated colonial versions of ‘Aryan Invasion theory’ to suit their agenda. They are totally out of sync with its modern version. That they are clueless could be gauged from the fact they refer to Durga as a ‘fair skinned goddess’. In Hindu mythology, Durga was considered to be dark and she for this reason was once teased by Shiva. However, realistic depictions of Durga range from Gowri(=white) to Kali(=black) and most Hindu gods are not confined to any complexion
The correspondence between Vedic Asura and Germanic ‘Aesir’ has been accepted . Asuras were legendary beings of Indo-Iranian mythology and Iranian Ahura is cognate to vedic Asura. It is clearly that Asuras were gods of Aryans themselves even according to the Aryan invasion/migration theory
The word ‘Asura’ was a vedic homonym. Thus, asura(=lord) and asura(=demon) denoted two contrasting words with identical pronunciation. Another vedic homonymn was the word ‘Arya’. Sanskrit had Arya(=friend) and Ari(=enemy). The vedic homonymns were lost in classical Sanskrit only the latter was preserved in first case. Similarly Vedic rajas(=space) was abandoned for rajas(=dirt) This has given way to the whole confusion. Statements such as ‘Asuras were demonised later’ are wrong. The evolution was wrought by linguistic, not religious change. Although many gods were designated as ‘Asura’ in Rigveda, Mitra-Varuna are prominent. These deities have not been demonised. Infact, traditional srauta brahmins chant praises of these deities during sandhya ritual. The most prominent god of sindhis, Jhulelal is considered to be an incarnation of varuna.
In Puranic literature, some of the Asuras were commended for their qualities. Notable are Prahrada/Prahlada, Bali and Ghatotkacha. Some of these Asuras were venerated in regions of subcontinent with sthala-purana like tales. Thus, the veneration of Bali in Kerala during Onam does not presuppose existence of anti-vishnu animus. Infact, the malayalis who celebrate Onam also pray to Vishnu. Some JNUWallahs consider this a fault line and intend to exploit it. It could be expected that they would tone up this rhetoric in the near future
1. Rigveda 22.214.171.124
2.Kurzgefasstes Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindischen(1976)
3.’The Asur:A study of primitive Iron smelters'(1963) P.37
8. Asurs and their dancers (Joseph Marianus kujur 1996)
9.’The Asur:A study of primitive Iron smelters'(1963) P.144
11. Ibid p.130
13. Ibid p.142
14. Ibid p.132;Musical Culture of the Munda Tribe(2004)
16. Adigranth P.1104
18.Linguistic evidence for cultural exchange in pre historic Central Asia(2003)
19. The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (2000)