The movement for the restoration of the Ramajanmabhumi Temple at Ayodhya has brought to the fore a suppressed chapter of India’s history, namely, the large-scale destruction of Hindu temples[^1] by the Islamised invaders. This chapter is by no means closed. The Appendix to this book provides details of many temples destroyed by Muslims all over Bangladesh as recently as October-November 1989. Currently, temples, or whatever had remained of them, are meeting a similar fate in the Kashmir valley.
This chapter, however, though significant, was only a part of the Muslim behaviour-pattern as recorded by Muslim historians of medieval India. The other parts were: 1) mass slaughter of people not only during war but also after the armies of Islam had emerged victorious; 2) capture of large numbers of non-combatant men, women and children as booty and their sale as slaves all over the Islamic world; 3) forcible conversion to Islam of people who were in no position to resist; 4) reduction to the status of zimmis or non-citizens of all those who could not be converted and imposition of inhuman disabilities on them; 5) emasculation of the zimmis by preventing them from possessing arms; 6) impoverishment of the zimmis through heavy discriminatory taxes and misappropriation of a major part of what the peasants produced; 7) ruination of the native and national culture of the zimmis by suppressing and holding in contempt all its institutions and expressions.
Nor is this behaviour pattern a thing of the past. It persisted even after the Muslim rule was over. The Muslim revivalist movements in the nineteenth century, particularly in Bengal, tried to repeat, as far as they could, the performance of the medieval Muslim swordsmen and sultans. More recently, after the Islamic state of Pakistan was carved out, Hindus have been forced to leave their ancestral homes, en masse from its western wing and in a continuous stream of refugees from its eastern wing, now an independent Islamic state of Bangladesh that came into being with the help of India. Hindu temples and other cultural institutions have more or less disappeared from Pakistan, while they continue to be under constant attack in Bangladesh.
How to understand this behaviour pattern so persistently followed over a thousand years under very different conditions and so consistent in its expression? What is its deeper ideological source?
It is rooted in Islam’s religious teachings, its theology and its religious laws; it derives from its peculiar conception of momins and kafirs, from its doctrines of Jihad, Daru’l-Islam and Daru’l-harb, and from what it regards as the duty of a Muslim state. Hindu India is called upon to make a deeper study of Islam than it has hitherto done. It can neglect this task at its own peril.
The present volume makes no pretence of presenting such a study, but by choice restricts itself mainly to the study of Hindu temples destroyed and desecrated and converted into mosques and khanqahs without overlooking Muslims’ ideology of iconoclasm; here and there, it also mentions other theological props and concomitants of the iconoclastic ideology. In the book Ayodhya retain its importance, but it does not occupy the centre of discussion. In dealing with its subject, it exercises complete fidelity to truth; unlike secularist and Marxist writers, it does not believe in re-writing and fabricating history. Its aim is to raise the informational level of our people and to make them better aware of the more persistent ideological forces at work.
April 7, 1990
[^1] ‘Hindu Temples’ in the present context include temples belonging to all sects of Sanatana Dharma - Brahmanical, Buddhist, Jain and the rest.