Had India been completely converted to Muhammadanism during the thousand years of Muslim conquest and rule, its people would have taken pride in the victories and achievements of Islam and even organised panIslamic movements and Islamic revolutions. Conversely, had India possessed the determination of countries like France and Spain to repulse the Muslims for good, its people would have forgotten about Islam and its rule. But while India could not be completely conquered or Islamized, the Hindus did not lose their ancient religious and cultural moorings. In short, while Muslims with all their armed might proved to be great conquerors, rulers and proselytizers, Indians or Hindus, with all their weaknesses, proved to be great survivors. India never became an Islamic country. Its ethos remained Hindu while Muslims also continued to live here retaining their distinctive religious and social system. It is against this background that an assessment of the legacy of Muslim rule in India has been attempted.
Source-materials on such a vast area of study are varied and scattered. What we possess is a series of glimpses furnished by Persian chroniclers, foreign visitors and indigenous writers who noted what appeared to them of interest. It is not an easy task, on the basis of these sources, to reconstruct an integrated picture of the medieval scenario spanning almost a millennium, beginning with the establishment of Muslim rule. The task becomes more difficult when the scenario converges on the modem age with its pre- and post-Partition politics and slogans of the two-nation theory, secularism, national integration and minority rights. Consequently, some generalisations, repetitions and reiterations have inevitably crept into what is otherwise a work of historical research. For this the author craves the indulgence of the reader.
10 January 1992
K. L. Lal