The First of Islamic Invasions of Bharatavarsha

From here onwards we shall specifically focus on the nature of the barbaric assault on India by the Islamic forces from West Asia and its unfortunate results; in the light of this we shall observe how our awareness of kṣātra helped in both the protection of the land as well as the preservation of our culture.

There have been a lot of discussions on this topic and a wealth of information is available to us. Even so, often we find them not to be satisfactorily presented. The reason is that most of those discussions have been one-sided and incomplete. And in today’s information age, all the primary sources with the dates, events, and other factual data are easily accessible to everyone. In a sense, we can say that there is a deluge of information today. Although this is the case, many details are unavailable. It becomes difficult to obtain information particularly with respect to how the kṣātra of the adherents of Sanātana-dharma marched forward with aplomb against the rising tide of Islamic invasions. The reason is simple: Islamic chroniclers have written far more about this period than anyone else. Not only that, Islamic kings like Babur, Jahangir, and Aurangzeb have themselves recorded their evil deeds (in their memoirs) without the slightest shame or hesitation. They have written in great detail about the atrocities they committed and the places they looted; they write with brazenness and self-pride. We also have the history as recorded by a few European travellers, traders, and officers either based on their own experiences or based on their research and recording of local legends. There have been scholars who have doubted the veracity of these accounts, accusing them of being too colourful to be true. The irony is that in modern India, particularly in post-Independence India, those who toed the line of the government majorly covered up all the records that showed the wicked acts of muslims and tried their best to whitewash all the atrocities committed on Hindus by the Islamic invaders. But truth is unafraid of fraudulent machinations.

If we keep aside the records of the Europeans as well as the numerous Islamic chronicles that jubilantly record the cruel deeds of the muslims in India[1], we don’t get much details (from local records) about how the adherents of Sanātana-dharma faced the invaders and bravely resisted them. We get details about our kṣātra-tradition from a few poems, lāvaṇis, folk songs, vīragāthas (stories of great heroes), and traditional stories. A few muslim chroniclers have also given a few details about Hindu valour in their records, when they faced extraordinary defeat at the hands of Hindus and when they were forced to accept the superiority of the Hindu forces. However, historians take written records to be legitimate sources of history and ignore the folk history as well as the oral history of the people, captured in songs like the lāvaṇis. Even because of this, there has been injustice meted out to the tradition of kṣātra of Sanātana-dharma.


[1] Time and again we have to reinforce this aspect of our history. The reason for the perversion of our history is based on a gamut of factors, of which a few important ones may be summarized in this lengthy footnote.

Mahmud Ghazni, whom Nehru shamelessly praises (The Discovery of India, p. 325), looted around hundred million rupees and destroyed the entire Mathura temple premises that was built over a two-hundred-year period; he not only set the temple ablaze, he also stole the golden idol of the temple that weighed a maund (around 37 kg) and had it melted. All this is recorded by his secretary Al ’Utbi in his chronicle. Wherever he destroyed temples, he had mosques constructed. The entire Yamuna was red with the blood of Hindus. The same thing happened in Kānyakubja (Kannauj) as well. And as for the Somanātha temple, it is a sacred pilgrimage spot supported by ten thousand villages and on special festive days sees an attendance of hundreds of thousands of devotees. Ghazni fought with the Hindus in a gory battle, captured the temple and looted assets worth over two million dinars. He killed fifty thousand Hindus in a single day. With his own hands, he destroyed the jyotirliṅga of the Somanātha temple with an axe and used it to build the staircase to the Jama Masjid in his hometown. The devotees were willing to save their temple by offering a huge monetary reward but he refused it and destroyed the temple out of his religious fanaticism. When the devotees built the temple again, he sent a huge army to destroy it once again. And when the temple was built again, Tughlaq’s general Muzzafar Shah attacked it twice and finally had a mosque built there. Scholars have said that all these details are contained in Islamic chronicles such as Tarikh YaminiKamil ut-Tawarikh, and Tarikh-i Alfi. (And finally when the Somnath Temple was rebuilt in 1951, Nehru actually objected to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel going to inaugurate it!)

Ibn Batuta has recorded in great detail all the atrocities, religious extremism, and utter foolishness of the entire Tughlaq lineage. Since the relevant details from this have been included in the main text of this book, it is unnecessary to repeat it here.

Akbar went with a huge army and attacked Mewar, engaging in a terrible bloodbath; the upavītas (sacred threads) of the defeated Rajputs and all the townsfolk were forcibly cut off, making a huge pile of them, which weighed over seventy-four maunds (2,738 kg) records Abul Fazl. There are records to show that he was proud of the fact that he was a descendant (from his father’s side) of the barbaric Taimur; the blood that flowed in his veins had the blood of Taimur – this was a great source of pride for him. Akbar also destroyed the temple of Ekliṅgaji, the family deity of the Sisodia Rajputs, and used it to build book-stands for Qur’ans in various mosques. In his statement of victory, Fatehnama-i-Chittor, he writes proudly about many such instances of religious bigotry and his blind adherence to Islam.

Akbar’s unbridled lust is well known. In the Mīnābazār event that he would organize, all beautiful women of the land (irrespective of whether they were married or not; irrespective of social class) were forced to participate. When they came to the palace without their veils or headscarves, Akbar would secretly move about with him and select the most beautiful ones for his harem; such was his fraudulent scheme. Several Mughal kings continued this without any restraints.

Steadfast and unapproachable women like Rani Rupamati, Rani Janavanti, Rani Durgavati, and others were burnt in the fire of Akbar’s lust; such stories have been recorded by people from Abul Fazl to Vincent Smith in a multitude of ways.

Shah Jehan was notorious for his Hindu hatred, cruelty, avarice, and uncontrolled lust. François Bernier records that he had sexual relations with his own daughter Jahan Ara and cruelly had all her secret lovers killed. Not only that, he forcibly used her as a pimp to trap two high born women whom he fancied. This is recorded by the foreign traveller Niccolao Manucci.

Shah Jehan was responsible for destroying seventy-six temples in Varanasi alone; apart from that he imposed the jaziya tax on Hindus and tortured them without a break. He tried to forcibly converted hundreds of Christians to Islam and when they resisted, he inflicted torture of the worst kind on them. All these details are recorded in the Badshahnama, a huge work that he commissioned himself.

And as for Aurangzeb, he relentlessly tortured his father, his teacher, his elder and younger brothers, his sister, and his own children (without distinction of sons or daughters). He also had quite a few of them killed. When such was his dealing with his own family, what to say about the rest?

One has to just take a look at Jadunath Sarkar’s five-volume History of Aurangzib to know the thousands of inhuman atrocities of this lowly Mughal. It is shameful that even today there are people in our country who take his side (instead of calling him out for gross human rights violation!) He was responsible for destroying music, literature, and all fine arts; he proved detrimental for trade, commerce, and agriculture. His soldiers were constantly forced to wage wars, without a break, all his administrative and military structures, particularly in the Deccan, crumbled. Not only did he ransack the temple towns of Varanasi and Mathura, he also openly declared jihad on Hindus. He razed to the ground one hundred and twenty-three temples in Udaipur, sixty-three temples in Chittor, and sixty-six temples in Amber. All these have been recorded in Vincent Smith’s writings. Ignoring the famines and droughts, he mercilessly imposed jaziya on the Hindus and apart from that levied taxes under several heads; not only that, he made several Hindus lose their jobs and stopped all means of their livelihood, forcing them to convert to Islam or else face torture and death. This was the deadly choice offered to the Hindus by this cruel muslim ruler and when the people, helpless and unable to tolerate his cruelty, came to him with a petition for mercy, he sent an army of elephants in rut to trample them, thus killing hundreds of thousands of peaceful Hindus – words cannot suffice to describe the wickedness of this Islamic ruler. All this has been recorded in the Muntakhab-ul lubab, a chronicle by Khafī Khan, who was a contemporary of Aurangzeb. We can get all such details in the eight-volume treatise The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The writers of this great work, H M Elliot and John Dawson have toiled to collect the records of muslim chroniclers starting from Alberuni until the recent historians of the late Mughal period. Jadunath Sarkar, R C Majumdar, and other historians have gone through several records and have written about more than thousand years of Islamic barbarism in India starting from Mohammed bin Kasim all the way up to Aurangzeb. They have written about Islamic fanaticism of more than a millennia, which in a sense continues even today, and the resultant violence, imperialism, and destruction of native culture. When we observe the Islamic atrocities on Hindus, it is far more diabolical than Hitler’s atrocities on the Jews. It would not be incorrect to call it the Hindu Holocaust. Further, such unparalleled cruelty and violence on a people should be universally condemned.



Dr. Ganesh is a 'shatavadhani' and one of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars. He writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. He is a master of the ancient art of avadhana and is credited with reviving the art in Kannada. He is a recipient of the Badarayana-Vyasa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.



Sandeep Balakrishna is a writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. He is the author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore" and "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History." He translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.


Hari is a writer, translator, editor, violinist, and designer with a deep interest in philosophy, education pedagogy design, literature, and films. He has (co-)written/translated and (co-)edited 35+ books, mostly related to Indian culture. He serves on the advisory board of a few educational institutions.

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