08 August 2007

Rape Of Temples

Apropos the point made by Naipaul, here is a list of the major temples plundered and/or demolished by Turks and Mughals.
PlaceYearAttacked By
Mathura1018Mahmud of Ghazni
Kanauj1018Mahmud of Ghazni
Somnath1025Mahmud of Ghazni
Varanasi1192Muhammad of Ghor
Varanasi1194Qutb-ud-din Aibak
Devagiri1296Alauddin Khalji
Somnath1299Alauddin Khalji
Devagiri1307Alauddin Khalji
Warangal1309Malik Kafur
Madurai1311Malik Kafur
Srirangam1311Malik Kafur
Chidambaram1311Malik Kafur
Puri1361Feroze Shah Tughlaq
Ayodhya1528Mir Baki
Hampi1565Bahmanid Sultans

The data is from John Keay's 'India: A History'. Keay, a British writer, isn't exactly an RSS supporter. But facts are facts. The remarkable thing is none of this was mentioned in our school history textbooks. Why? In the interest of 'communal harmony'? It is nobody's case that today's Indian Muslims be held responsible for these atrocities. But a nation that buries inconvenient parts of its history is asking for trouble. It is only by confronting and coming to terms with our painful past that we can move forward and build a new tomorrow - one that is based on honesty, not on denial. As Santayana said,"Those who forget their history are condemned to relive it".

Why make such a fuss over a few broken temples? It is important to remember that in traditional India, temples were not just places of worship. They were social, cultural and educational centres as well. Thus the attacks on them were an attempt to destroy our very civilisational fabric.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is true that the "Founding Fathers" of our history textbooks, to safeguard minorities, have in their wisdom assumed that if this truth is exposed, Bharat will want revenge from today's muslims..

However, the possible reason for this assumption might be that those people were themselves too far removed from Hindu philosophy that it was beyond their imagination.

Nobody wants retribution blaming present day Muslims for what the Turks did, I think the country should however, seek to heal its own wounds. And truth be told what happened.. that the Mughals were not paragons of multi-culturalism as they are made out to be.

Also, we need to realize that we had 1000 years of different degrees of foreign rule, not just 200 years and work to heal ourselves and go forth into a new era, recognizing our identity as a nation not denying it.


Kiran said...

As far I can recall, our texts did talk abt Muslim invaders destroying idols and plundering temples. In addition to what invaders do in general, they (i.e. those who did) also showed intolerance towards other religions and philosophies.

The point you make about concealing from students, I don't understand. Is a child better served by teaching him/her the generally accepted 'good' morals, or by way of gory details, negative examples and guilt trips? How are you going to address this topic to your students if you were teaching this piece of history?

Sorry, I don't understand this either: 'confronting and coming to terms with our painful past'. How does one come to terms with the kinds of things you have listed?

Psomax said...

If your textbooks did mention these incidents it's a good thing, and addresses the concern raised above. My own textbooks (Karnataka state syllabus) did not. One of our history teachers did talk about Somnath, but I dismissed it as an old wives' tale. I was blissfully unaware of this aspect of our history till my adulthood, when I started reading history books. Is this how we want the whole country to be? A bunch of amnesiacs?

When a child is mature enough, he/she should be taught both good and bad parts of our history. "Gory details, negative examples and guilt trips" are not needed; all we have to do is stick to the plain facts (Just a list like the one above might do).

By 'coming to terms' I meant being aware of what has happened and keeping in mind that it might happen again - if we repeat our mistakes.

Anonymous said...

About Somnath:

(not an old wives tale :-))

You can read the Islamic accounts of attacks on Somnath. They will make your blood boil.