From Goa inquisition to Moplah riots: As India debates The Kashmir Files, a look at Hindu genocides
It is now essential for Hindus to speak up for themselves and for the government to throw light on atrocities against them
My previous article with Firstpost was on Hindu killings during the violent pre-Partition 1947 riots in Bengal, and the historical 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence where the Pakistan Army wove a tale of horror leaving countless dead. Innumerable women and girls were raped, mutilated, and converted or murdered, while lakhs who were displaced and became homeless were forced to flee the country — an overwhelming majority of these victims were from the Hindu Bangladeshi community (Senator Edward Kennedy report to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, November 1971).
When the article was shared on various platforms, Instagram removed the article within a day stating it was a violent article. It was strange that Instagram, a social media platform for airing views and sharing photos, videos, etc, decided to play the judge and the jury, and ruled that a historical article on the infamous Partition of India and a war as recent as 1971 with facts and data from various government reports as violent and not tenable for its subscribers. Here, the most logical and rather obvious reason for the removal was the factual representation of Hindu genocides, a topic which didn't sit well with many.
At a time when the country is hotly debating the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, in the wake of the success of Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files, it’s the right time to ask: Why do we see this antagonistic behaviour towards people who speak about the persecution and violence faced by Hindus? why are there so many attempts at whitewashing the brutal killings and rapes that Hindus have faced and are still facing for just being Hindus?
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From organising anti-Hindu academic events and conferences that use false propaganda narratives to demonise Hinduism and Hindus, to blatant historical distortions by Left academia in order to brainwash young minds against Hindus, to media almost daily resorting to spreading misinformation and often presenting misleading click-bait titles to create a false image of Hindus as criminals, the attempts to vilify Hindus and Hinduism are countless and unending. Yet a look at history from a neutral viewing point will show that Hindus are the ones that have been facing brutal persecution and violence for many centuries.
Hinduism vs Hindutva: A planned propaganda to vilify Hinduism
One major attempt at giving a wrong perspective of Hinduism is the well-strategised attempts at creating a division between the terms Hinduism and Hindutva. The term Hindutva, coined by Chandranath Basu (1844-1910) in his essay Hindutva or the Authentic History of the Hindus (Hindutva ba Hindur Prakrata Itihas) in 1892, which when translated simply means the principles or essence followed by the Hindus. The term tattva in Hindutva, as Basu had used in his other books (such as Shakuntala Tattva), meant going back to the basic principles or essence, and he had envisaged a life for the Hindus based on ancient Hindu principles. This is somewhat akin to what Hindu-ism means in English, and has been well explained in the image below.
Thus, if one really takes care to understand the meaning of the word Hindutva, it will be quite apparent to him that Hindutva is more appropriate in describing the religion of the practicing Hindus, than the word Hinduism. The suffix –ism often refers to political beliefs (Marxism), while the suffix ‘tattva’ refers to principles or essence of a topic in consideration. So when one says Hindutva is ‘political Hinduism,’ he or she is showing ignorance, while undoubtedly playing politico-religious propaganda!
This attempt at creating a chasm between Hinduism as religion and Hindutva as political Hinduism has now turned into a small-scale industry, which the politicians, media people, and academics keep well-oiled and running so that the propaganda does not die down. From discussions on ‘academic conferences’ to popular news articles, there are regular orchestrated chants of Hindutva being “Hinduism on steroids,” “Hinduism which resists,” “an illegitimate child of Hinduism,” etc. These chants, however meaningless they are to a logical mind, serve a darker purpose — it tries to force a belief that Hinduism is a religious group with Hindutva as its political-fundamental ideological arm. Similar to what actually exists in the Abrahamic religions and their fundamentalist bodies, as for example, Islam as a religion and Islamism as its political and fundamentalist arm.
However, Hinduism has never been a monotheistic religion (one God concept) with rigid authoritative laws and formulations to dictate the lives of its followers; and right from start it stands on the foundations of multicultural beliefs and traditions. This stands out as a stark difference when compared to the Abrahamic faiths, especially Islam, which have well-defined creedal laws that define the entire faiths, including dictating lifestyle patterns of their followers. This level of religious grip or dominance has not been present in Hinduism where debates and even rebellions (example, Gautama Buddha) have always been allowed. So when there are attempts to create the fake narrative of Hindu “fundamentalism,” it is obvious that the grounds on which this propaganda-narrative stands will be remarkably thin.
These attempts at branding some Hindus as “terrorists” also have another objective: justifying and diluting the brutal Hindu genocide going on for centuries in the Indian subcontinent, and which unfortunately is still continuing unabated in the neighbouring countries of India. So it is even more imperative now that the term Hindu genocide be made mainstream and widespread discussions are held on it. It’s also essential that the government of India makes stronger demands for justice for crimes against Hindus in international forums, for the 1947 pre and post Bengal riots, the 1971 Bangladesh war killings, the Kashmir killings in the 1990s, the ongoing minority killings and rapes in the neighbouring countries; and when doing so it should use the term Hindu genocide.
Hindu genocides across centuries
Before the advent of Islamic invaders, the Indian subcontinent saw many wars, but there were certain codes of wartime conduct or war conventions formulated by the sashtras, which were strictly followed by the warring factions. From not touching the monks, priests, and women; to not attacking the civilian populace or vandalising places of worship; to the soldiers following the code of honour during fights, the rules were in most cases religiously adhered to.
So, when the Islamic invaders came in and unleashed their brutalities that followed no codes of honour or conduct, it took some time for the Indians to understand the psychology of these new invaders. As mentioned in the Kanhadade Prabandha (written in 1455 CE), “The conquering armies burned villages, devastated the land, plundered people’s wealth, took Brahmins and women and children of all classes captive, flogged with thongs of raw hide, carried a moving prison with it, and converted the prisoners into obsequious Turks.”
While this described Alauddin Khalji's Gujarat invasion in 1298 CE, the brutal religious war had started much earlier with Mahmud Ghaznavi who invaded India 17 times from 1001 CE to 1026 CE, with the objective of destroying temples and murtis, killing and converting kafirs, and plundering the immense wealth for which India was then well-known. Mahmud's son Masud, like his father, invaded India in 1037 CE, and ransacked the fort of Hansi which fell after a hard fight. As per the Tarikh-us-Subuktigin (translated by Elliot and Dowson, The History of India- The Muhammadan Period) during the Hansi raid, "Brahmins and other high ranking men were slain, and their women and children were carried away captive, and all the treasure which was found was distributed among the army."
Following the footsteps of Ghaznavis, came Mahmud of Ghori at the end of 12th century, with the same purposes, but with the added objective of establishing an Islamic kingdom in India, and for that he appointed generals to look after his captured territories. India came under the Sultanate rule from these appointed generals, and with it started brutal Hindu repression under the Delhi Sultans from Iltutmish (destruction of temples in parts of Madhya Pradesh, including the temples inside Gwalior fort), to Alauddin Khalji (he plundered Gujarat), to Firuj Shah Tughlaq (who vandalised many temples, including the shrines of Jwalamukhi in Kangra and Jagannath Dham in Puri, as recorded in Sirat-i-FiruzShahi, 1370 CE).
In 1398 CE another brutal chapter of Hindu genocide was written with the coming of Timur, and as per his own records in the Tuzk-i-Timuri (translated by Elliot and Dowson), just before his horrific Delhi attack: “I proclaimed throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners should put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghazis of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolators, were on that day slain. Maulana Nasiruddin Umar, a counselor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.”
The violence against Hindus and repression continued in a similar manner, and under almost every Islamic ruler from the Timurid Babar to the barbaric Aurangzeb, and from the Deccan Sultans to the Bengal nawabs, there are innumerable tales of vandalism and brutality during their reign time.
Another horrific form of Hindu genocide took place during the Goan inquisition under the brutal Portuguese regime that was guided by a Catholic missionary zeal and intolerance for the pagans. It started in 1560, and remained active until it was abolished in 1812. Besides the Hindus and other non-Catholics, this brutal inquisition targeted the newly converted Christians too, based on a fear of them being disloyal to their new faith. While many were tortured and killed during the inquisition, all such records were destroyed by the Portuguese in 1812; thus erasing the actual numbers of people put on trial, punished, and killed during Inquisition.
Another Hindu genocide, which has been whitewashed and the heinous crimes diluted by the Marxist historians by terming it as a mere ‘peasant rebellion’, is the Moplah riots, which took place in the Malabar region of Kerala in 1921. In one particularly gruesome incident, which took place on 25 September 1921 during a rally on a hillside between Thuvoor and Karuvayakandi in North Kerala, where Imbichi Koithangal, a Khilafat leader, led the massacre of 38 Hindus, where three were shot dead and the rest were beheaded, and all bodies dumped into the Thuvoor well.
Besides the aforementioned historically recorded persecution of the Hindus, there are many more such incidents, and some among them are globally known (though rarely condemned), such as the Kashmir Hindu killings, and the genocides in Pakistan and Bangladesh (ongoing genocide), which I have spoken of in my previous article. It is a strange phenomenon to observe the grand silence of the entire world when Hindus are openly being persecuted in Islamic majority nations like Pakistan and Bangladesh; and one wonders about the mindset of the so-called human rights activists and the various human rights bodies that don’t condemn or work towards providing justice to the Hindus.
Hindus, much like others from the Abrahamic religions, have every right to live and live with dignity wherever they are residing. The so-called ‘secular-liberals’ show outrage at every fake and mostly imaginary Hindu majoritarian persecution of Muslims in India (with even media weaving fake narratives to create this image); yet the same set of people show a complete lack of spine with their studied silence when they see the brutal persecution of Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and elsewhere.
Under such blatant anti-Hindu sentiments, it is now essential for the Hindus to speak up for themselves and for the government of India to bring the history of Hindu genocide into limelight, and forcibly start widespread discussions on it in academic circles, media debates, and various other global forums.
The author is a well-known travel and heritage writer. Views expressed are personal.
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