Den muslimske invasion af Indien

Tarek Fatah henviser til dette uddrag fra den yderst anbefalelsesværdige “The Story of Civilization

The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicatecomplex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. The Hindus had allowed their strength to be wasted in internal division and war; they hadadopted religions like Buddhism and Jainism, which unnerved them for the tasks of life; they had failed to organize their forces for the protection of their frontiers and their capitals, their wealth and their freedom, from the hordes of Scythians, Huns, Afghans and Turks hovering about India’s boundaries and waiting for national weakness to let them in.For four hundred years (600-1000 A.D.) India invited conquest; and at last it came. The firstMoslem attack was a passing raid upon Multan, in the western Punjab (664 A.D.) Similarraids occurred at the convenience of the invaders during the next three centuries, with theresult that the Moslems established themselves in the Indus valley about the same time thattheir Arab co-religionists in the West were fighting the battle of Tours (732 A.D.) for themastery of Europe.But the real Moslem conquest of India did not come till the turn of the first millennium afterChrist. In the year 997 a Turkish chieftain by the name of Mahmud became sultan of thelittle estate of Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan. Mahmud knew that his throne was young andpoor, and saw that India, across the border, was old and rich; the conclusion was obvious.Pretending a holy zeal for destroying Hindu idolatry, he swept across the frontier with aforce inspired by a pious aspiration for booty. He met the unprepared Hindus at Bhimnagar,slaughtered them, pillaged their cities, destroyed their temples, and carried away theaccumulated treasures of centuries.Returning to Ghazni he astonished the ambassadors of foreign powers by displaying “jewelsand unbored pearls and rubies shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, andemeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates.”

Each winter Mahmud descended into India, filled his treasure chest with spoils, and amusedhis men with full freedom to pillage and kill; each spring he returned to his capital richerthan before.

At Mathura (on the Jumna) he took from the temple its statues of gold encrusted withprecious stones, and emptied its coffers of a vast quantity of gold, silver and jewellery; heexpressed his admiration for the architecture of the great shrine, judged that its duplication would cost one hundred million dinars and the labour of two hundred years, and thenordered it to be soaked with naphtha and burnt to the ground.

Six years later he sacked another opulent city of northern India, Somnath, killed all its fifty thousand inhabitants, and dragged its wealth to Ghazni. In the end he became, perhaps, therichest king that history has ever known.Sometimes he spared the population of the ravaged cities, and took them home to be sold asslaves; but so great was the number of such captives that after some years no one could befound to offer more than a few shillings for a slave.Before every important engagement Mahmud knelt in prayer, and asked the blessing of Godupon his arms. He reigned for a third of a century; and when he died, full of years andhonours, Moslem historians ranked him as the greatest monarch of his time, and one of thegreatest sovereigns of any age.

Seeing the canonization that success had brought to this magnificent thief, other Moslemrulers profited by his example, though none succeeded in bettering his instruction.In 1186 the Ghuri, a Turkish tribe of Afghanistan, invaded India, captured the city of Delhi,destroyed its temples, confiscated its wealth, and settled down in its palaces to establish theSultanate of Delhi- an alien despotism fastened upon northern India for three centuries, andchecked only by assassination and revolt. The first of these bloody sultans, Kutb-ud-Din Aibak, was a normal specimen of his kind -fanatical, ferocious and merciless. His gifts, as the Mohammedan historian tells us, “werebestowed by hundreds of thousands, and his slaughters likewise were by hundreds of thousands.”In one victory of this warrior (who had been purchased as a slave), “fifty thousand mencame under the collar of slavery, and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”

Another sultan, Balban, punished rebels and brigands by casting them under the feet of elephants, removing their skins, stuffing these with straw and hanging them from the gatesof Delhi. When some Mongolian habitants who had settled in Delhi, and had been converted toIslam, attempted arising, Sultan Ala-ud-din (the conqueror of Chitor) had all the males -from fifteen to thirty thousand of them - slaughtered in one day.

Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak acquired the throne by murdering his father, became a greatscholar and an elegant writer, dabbled in mathematics, physics and Greek philosophy,surpassed his predecessors in bloodshed and brutality, fed the flesh of a rebel nephew to therebel’s wife and children, ruined the country with reckless inflation, and laid it waste withpillage and murder till the inhabitants fled to the jungle.He killed so many Hindus that, in the words of a Moslem historian, “there was constantly infront of his royal pavilion and his Civil Court a mound of dead bodies and a heap of corpses, while the sweepers and executioners were wearied out by their work of dragging” the victims“and putting them to death in crowds.”

In order to found a new capital at Daulatabad he drove every inhabitant from Delhi and leftit a desert; and hearing that a blind man had stayed behind in Delhi, he ordered him to bedragged from the old to the new capital, so that only a leg remained of the wretch when hislast journey was finished.

The Sultan complained that the people did not love him, or recognize his undeviating justice.He ruled India for a quarter of a century, and died in bed. His successor, Firoz Shah, invadedBengal, offered a reward for every Hindu head, paid for 180,000 of them, raided Hindu villages for slaves, and died at the ripe age of eighty. Sultan Ahmad Shah feasted for threedays whenever the number of defenceless Hindus slain in his territories in one day reachedtwenty thousand.

These rulers were often men of ability, and their followers were gifted with fierce courageand industry; only so can we understand how they could have maintained their rule among ahostile people so overwhelmingly outnumbering them. All of them were armed with a religion militaristic in operation, but far superior in its stoicalmonotheism to any of the popular cults of India; they concealed its attractiveness by making the public exercise of the Hindu religions illegal, and thereby driving them more deeply intothe Hindu soul.Some of these thirsty despots had culture as well as ability; they patronized the arts, andengaged artists and artisans–usually of Hindu origin– to build for them magnificentmosques and tombs; some of them were scholars, and delighted in converse with historians,poets and scientists.One of the greatest scholars of Asia, Alberuni, accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni to India,and wrote a scientific survey of India comparable to Pliny’s “Natural History” andHumboldt’s “Cosmos”.

The Moslem historians were almost as numerous as the generals, and yielded nothing tothem in the enjoyment of bloodshed and war. The Sultans drew from the people every rupeeof tribute that could be exacted by the ancient art of taxation, as well as by straightforwardrobbery; but they stayed in India, spent their spoils in India, and thereby turned them back into India’s economic life.Nevertheless, their terrorism and exploitation advanced that weakening of Hindu physiqueand morale, which had been begun by an exhausting climate, an inadequate diet, politicaldisunity, and pessimistic religions. The usual policy of the Sultans was clearly sketched by Ala-ud-din, who required his advisersto draw up “rules and regulations for grinding down the Hindus, and for depriving them of that wealth and property which fosters disaffection and rebellion.”

Half of the gross produce of the soil was collected by the government; native rulers hadtaken one-sixth. “No Hindu,” says a Moslem historian, “could hold up his head, and in theirhouses no sign of gold or silver…or of any superfluity was to be seen…. Blows, confinementin the stocks, imprisonment and chains, were all employed to enforce payment.” When one of his own advisers protested against this policy, Alauddin answered: “Oh,Doctor, thou art a learned man, but thou hast no experience; I am an unlettered man, but Ihave a great deal. Be assured, then, that the Hindus will never become submissive andobedient till they are reduced to poverty. I have therefore given orders that just sufficientshall be left to them from year to year of corn, milk and curds, but that they shall not beallowed to accumulate and property.”

This is the secret of the political history of modern India. Weakened by division, itsuccumbed to invaders; impoverished by invaders, it lost all power of resistance, and took refuge in supernatural consolations; it argued that both mastery and slavery were superficialdelusions, and concluded that freedom of the body or the nation was hardly worthdefending in so brief a life. The bitter lesson that may be drawn from this tragedy is that eternal vigilance is the price of civilization. A nation must love peace, but keep its powder dry.

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The Muslim Issue, hvor ovenstående billede er hentet, har mere om den muslimske invasion af Indien.

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