features, prosaic nakedness of ideas and dearth of everything that might make for picturesque charm or elegance.”34
Under the Lodis, there re-emerged a vigorous and cathol^c spirit of design, replete with creative energy and imaginatic\n and almost reminiscent of the Khalji period. With tt^e conversion of the Mongols to Islam and the reduction of cha^& in Centeral asia, inspiration from the sources of Islamic art jn Persia was now possible in architecture (as in literature), scope for this was, however, offered unde; the Mughals, w^ replaced the Lodis.
Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 242
NOTES & REFERENCES
1. The Cambridge History of India, in, 570.
2. Originally the waiir had overall charge of this work. According to Fakhr-i Mudabbir, it fell in the domain of the wazir ”to look after the men of piety and fame and to give them stipends and to provide for the learned”. Laterespecially during the Mughal period-Sadr-i Jahan became an independent minister.
3. N. Law, Promotion of Learning in India (During Muhammadan Rule), p 84.
4. Ibid., p.81, footnote 1.
5. Ibid., p. 105.
6. For details, see Chapter 1.
7. See Hamdard-i Sihat, Karachi, November 1959, pages 3-6 for an account of Majmu’ah-i Diya’i by Hakim M. Abd al-Wahhab Zubairi.
8. For a detailed description of the book, see M.Z. Siddiqi, Studies in Arabic and Persian Medical Literature, pp. 90-109.
9. Dodwall, 7/ui/a, 1,22-23.
10. The Cambridge History of India, in, 88-89.
11. I.H. Quershi, Administration of the Sultanate ofDehlt, p. 206.
12. K.M, Panikkar, A Survey of Indian History, p. 164.
14. Ibid., p. 166.
15. Bada’uni Tr., Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, I. 333.
16. D.C. Sen, History of Bengali Language and Literature, p. 7.
17. /W,. p.10.
18. Muslim Year Book of India, Bombay, 1948-49, p. 82.
19. R.C. Majumdar and others. Advanced History of India, pp.407-08
20. The Legacy of India, pp. 318-20.
21. He was a Kashmiri, Brahman who migrated to the Deccan, and became attached to the court of the Raja of Devagiri. He is the author of Sangit Ramakar, an important work on music, which was composed towards the end of the thirteenth century, and shows the position regarding Indian music, just before it came under Muslim influences.
22. Ranade, Hindustani Music, pp. 8-9.
23. Dr.A. Halim’s article on ”Origin and Evolution of Khiyal.”
24 Ibid., p. 61.
25. R.C. Majumdar, History and Culture of the People of India, VI, 146.
26. Ibid., VI, 147.
243 Cultural Life
27. Muhibul Hasan, Kashmir Under the Sultans, pp. 234-35.
28 . Percy Brown, Indian Architecture (Islamic Period), p. 1.
29 . Ibid.
30i. Ibid., p. 2.
3L. Ibid., p.1.
32. The Cambridge History of India, ffl, 570.
33. Ibid., HI, 572-73. __ ^
34. Ibid., p. 589.
INTERACTION OF ISLAM AND fflNDUISM
Spread of Islam. We have dealt with the expansion of Muslim rule in the Tndo-Pakistan subcontinent and the work of
Muslim generals and rulers This was of a great importance, but perhaps even more lasting has been the result of activities in the spiritual field. Muslim dominion came to an end in due course, but the spread of Islam in the subcontinent had consequences which are visible and vital even today.
For a long time it was held by Western writers that Islam was spread by sword in India. This view has, however, now been abandoned in responsible circles, as, apart from lack of other evidence in favour of this view, the very distribution of Muslim population in the subcontinent does not support it. If the spread of Islam in the subcontinent had been due to the might of the Muslim kings, one would naturally expect the largest proportion of Muslim in those areas which were the centre of Muslim political power, such as Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Ahmadabad, Ahmadnagar, and Bijapur. This, however, is not so; the percentage of Muslims around these areas is very low. Even in Mysore, where Sultan Tipu is said to have forcibly converted people to Islam, the ineffectiveness of royal proselytism may be measured by the fact that Muslims are hardly 5% of the total population of the State. On the other hand, Islam was never a political power in Malabar, but, today, Muslims form nearly 30% of its population; European observers like Arnold have surmised that if, in the sixteenth century, the Portuguese had not put an end to the peaceful spread of Islam in this area, all its inhbitants would have become Muslims.1
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 246
These facts have now led even Western scholars to admit that the spread of Islam in this country has not been by the sword ”The position of the early Mohammadan dynasties,” says William Crooke:
”was too precarious to admit of any general propaganda. Even in the time of early Mughals, the emperors were too much indifferent towards spiritual affairs, too much engrossed in schemes of conquest and administration to undertaken the task of conversion in earnest. Their power in a large measure dependent on links with the Rajput princes. The native princesses whom they married brought a strain of Hindu blood into the royal line and promoted tolerance of Hinduism.”2
Sir Alfred Lyall expre^es a similar opinion in his Asiatic Studies:
”The military adventurers who founded dynasties in notheren India and carved out kingdoms in the Dekkan, cared little for things spiritual; most of them had, indeed, no time for proselytism, being continually engaged in conquest or in civil war. They were usually rough Tartars or Moghals themselves ill-grounded in the faith of Mahomed, and untouched by the true Semitic enthusiasm, which inspired the first Arab standard-bearers of Islam.”3
In the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, the heaviest concentration of Muslims is in the two areas which now form Pakistan and Bangladesh (till recently East Pakistan). The spread of Islam in these regions has been studied by two eminent non-Muslim scholars, Maclagan and Qanungo. Both of them have come to the conclusion that the spread of Islam in these areas was the work of Muslim sufis, and in the western areas the process was greatly facilitated by the fact that in the seventh/thirteenth century thousands of Muslim theologians, saints and missionaries migrated to India to escape the Mongol terror.
247 Interaction of Islam and Hinduism [ ch. 13
(Sir) Edward Maclagan writes. In the District Gazetteer of
”In one respect indeed the devastation of Khurasan and Western Iran was to benefit of this part of India, for it let to the settling of a considerable number of pious and learned men, most of whom no doubt passed on towards Delhi but many of whom stayed to bless Multan with their presence. The preliminary disturbances of Ghori times had driven the Gafdezi Syads to this district. A little later came a family of Kureshis from Khawarizm, which settled at Kot Karor near Leiah and which gave birth to the famous Shiekh Baha-ud-din Zakaria or Bahawal Haqq, who, after traversing mearly the whole Muhammadan world, chose Multan as his. place of residence. To Multan also about the same time carne Pir Shams Tabrez from Sabzawar and Kazi Kutb-ud-din from Kashan: to Pakpattan came Baba Farid Shakarganj: to Delhi (by way of Multan) came Khwaja Kutb-ud-din Bakhti ar Kaki: and to Uch came Saiad (sic) Jalal, the founder of many sacred families in Multan, Muzafargarh and Bahawalpur. In the same period arose Sakhi Sarwar, whose father had emigrated from Bukhara to Sakot in this district (Multan). These holy men, together with others too numerous to mention, would seem to have set themselves seriously to convert to Islam trie remaining Hindu agriculturists and nomads in this part of India, and’it is to their persuasion and reputation, rather than to the sword of any conqueror, that the people of the South-West Punjab owe their faith in Islam. The lukewarmness of the population in previous times was roused into a keen fervour by the pagan invasions; an emperor’s tomb was granted as the resting place of the body of the the Saint Rukn-i-Alam, and from this time forward the holy man and holy shrines of Multan bestowed upon the city a unique reputation throughout the whole Musalman world.”4 About Bengal, Professor Kalike Rar»ja.n Qanungo writes: ”The Balbani regime in Bengal was not only a period of expansion but one of consolidation as well. It was during this time that the saints of Islam who excelled the Hindu priesthood
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 248
and monks in active piety, energy and foresight, began proselytising on a wide scale not so much by force as by the fa\ our of their faith and their exemplary character The) lived and preached among the lo\\ class Hindus then as e\er in the grip of superstition and social repression These new corn erts in rural areas became a source of additional strength to the Muslim government About a century after the military and political conquest of Bengal, there began process of the moral and spiritual conquest of the land through the efforts of the Muslim religious fraternities that now arose in every corner By destroying temples and monasteries the Muslim warriors of earlier times had only appropriated their gold and silver, but the sword could not silence history, nor carry off their immortal spiritual treasure wherein lay rooted Hindu idolatry and Hindu nationalism The saints of Islam completed the process of conquest, moral and spiritual, by establishing dargahs and khanqahs deliberately on the sites of these ruined places of Hindu and Buddhist worship This served a double purpose of preventing the revival of these places of heathen sanctity, and later on. of installing themselves as the guardian deities with tales of pious fraud invented by popular imagination Hindus who had been accustomed for centuries to venerate these places gradually forgot their past history, and easily transferred their allegiance to I\\Q pirs andghazis The result of the rapprochement in the domain of faith ultimately created a more tolerant atmosphere which kept the Hindus indifferent to their political destiny It prepared the ground for the further inroad of Islam into Hindu society, particularly among the lower classes who were gradually won over by an assiduous and persistent propaganda regarding the miracles of these saints and ghazn, which were in many cases taken over in toto from old Hindu and Buddhist legends. Perhaps the most notable example of the invasion of the sites of Hindu worship by Muslim saints is the transformation of the Sringi-Rishi-kund into the Makhdum-kund at Rajgir, and the translation of the miracleworking Buddha of the Deva-dutta legend into a venerable Muslim saint, Makhdum Sahib We shall elsewhere
Interaction of blossom <^ Hinduism
[ Ch. 13
discuss in detail the process of t!he Spjrituai conquest of Bengal by Auliyas and lesser saints whcN,se tombs and asthanas lie scattered over the land.”5
But the phenomenal spres=id <\>f Islam in Bengai was not entirely due to the ability and- ef^orts of sufi missionaries. It was greatly facilitated by <=ert<\in jocal developments. In Bengal, the main factor in the s=pre^d of Is]am.
”was a reaction of the lov-sawer ^ag^g against the strict Hinduism enforced by thd^y na^ty which ^^ from the eighth to the twelfth ceanmtur^ had bthem the severe rules of Hii\duismj under which the
lower classes were su restrictions; and at the
to many onerous Of the same century,
before these restrictions hm^ad ^ecome customary. Islam arrived, preaching freedo MI i a^d cuiture for an} even if •; the equality was not alw^-ays apparent jn practice. In these circumstances, a n».ass movement towards the new creed is so inhe ^mr«nt)y probably that it is unnecessary to seek ”further afi«ld for other ’ hypothetical causes.”6
The old Bengali literatuaare c^ntajns echoes of the manner in which representatives o- f t^e Oider faiths, who were suppressed under the Senas, ^=xpr^ssed ^e^T joy at me defeat of the Brahmans at the hand oe= th^ Muslims. ”The followers of the Dharma cult, a modify eul form Of Mahayanism, could hardly contain themselves wmmth ^ee at me chastisement which their erstwhile oppressors suffered. in their sacred book entitled Sunya Purana and \=-vritten in me_ eleventh century by Rumai Pandit, there is a chabter headed. ”The Anger of Niranjan (Niranjanev Rukhn»*fc> and evidently interpolated in the Fourteenth century, which. re%s to a free flght between the Muhammadans and Brahmirmmts at jaipur.« After describing the
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 250
sufferings of the Sat-dharmis (Buddhists) at the hands of the Brahmans, D.C. Sen says: ”The Brahmins began to destroy the creation in the above manner, and acts of great violence were perpetrated on the earth. Dharma, who resided at Baikuntha, was grieved to see all this. He came to the world as a Muhammadan.”7 Popular songs like Dharma Gajan and Bada Januni, expressing the feeling of the lower classes, ”bristle with spite and jealousy against the Brahmins” and the joy at the hope that the ”caste dissensions will slowly be broken -for, behold there’s the Muhammadan in a Hindu family.” These references indicate the highly favourable atmosphere in which Muslim missionaries worked in Bengal.
It is interesting to record that Islam gained its greatest successes in areas on the eastern and western fringes of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, where Buddhism had not yet been completely wiped out by the revival of Brahmanism, and where the steel frame of the caste system had not yet gained its hold over society.
Another interesting fact about the spread of Islam in what is now Pakistan is that some of the most active missionaries in this area with Isma’ili preachers were sent from the Yeman and Iran. The modern Bohra sect has come into existence through the former’s efforts, while the Khojas were converted by missionaries from Iran. But the work of Isma’ili missionaries is not to be assessed only by the number belonging to these two sects. There is enough evidence to show that in Sind and West Punjab Isma’ili doctrienes were in an ascendancy at one time. The conquest of these areas by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni and later by Muhammad Ghuri destroyed the political basis of Isma ’ili influence, but quiet missionary work, particularly that directed from Iran, seems to have been intensified. Isma’ili believed in secret propaganda, and allowed major adjustments to local conditions. The principal Khoja missionary, Sadr-uddin, who died at Uch, on the border of the Punjab and Sind. and wrote the basic texts of the Khojas, tried to show that Hadrat ’Ali was the long expected tenth incarnation of Vishnu
251 Interaction of Islam and Hinduism [ Ch. 13
The doctrines preached by Isma’ili missionaries provi4ed a sort of half-way house between Hinduism and Islam, and when the influence of Sunni pirs and rulers increased in these areas, the Isma’ili converts gradually moved closer to orthodox Sunni Islam.
The orthodox Hindu attitude towards religion facilitated the work of the sufi and Isma’ili missionaries. Hinduism is not a missionary religion. On the contrary, with the ancient Hindus, spiritual enlightenment was a privilege of the few rather than a basic right of all. Under orthodox Hinduism, the large untouchable section of the population had no right to spiritual enlightenment and naturally they were only too glad to find somebody interested in the fate of their souls.
Social and Cultural Consequences. By the end of the eighth/fourteenth century Islam had permeated all parts of India, and the process was fully under way which led, not only to conversion of a large section of the Indian population to Islam, but also resulted in far-reaching cultural and spiritual changes outside the Muslim society. The developments in the cultural sphere-development of regional languages, rise of Hindustani and the evolution of Indo-Muslim music and architecture-have been outlined elsewhere. Here, it is proposed to deal with changess in religious activity which took place in Mediaeval India, largely as a result of the advent of Islam.
The social and cultural influence of Islam was on lines characteristic of the new religion. With its strong tradition of spiritual and social democracy, Islam presented a striking contrast to Hinduism, in which caste reigned supreme, and spiritual and intellectual enlightenment was the privilege of the higher classes. After contact with Islam, the character of Hindu society was materially changed. A new conception of human relationship began to grow, and in course of time reformers such as Ramananda, Nanak and Chaitanya arose in Hindu society to denounce the rigidity of the caste and to emphasis the importance of good deeds rather than birth. In course of
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 252
time poets and writers from the lower classes began to obtain a hearing, and although the caste system continued to maintain its hold over the Hindu society, its rigours were relaxed, and life became more bearable for the lower classes. The full measure of Muslim influence in this respect is realised if one compares the position in the extreme South, which practically remained outside Muslim rule, and where even towards the end of the British rule, the lower castes were not allowed to walk on public roads, with the positions in predominantly Muslim areas like Sind where, according to a Hindu scholar writing in
1924, caste was ”virtually absent” even amongst the Hindus.8
The other most important developments were in the sphere of religion. The best study of the subject, although admittedly incomplete, is Dr.Tara Chand’s Influence of Islam on Indian Culture. So far as South India is concerned, he has endorsed the views of European scholars like Earth and Fawcett, who held that the rise of neo-Hinduism under the great organiser Shankaracharaya was directly and indirectly influenced by Islam. Shankara was born in the ninth century on the coast of Malabar where Islam had made considerable headway through Arab traders and settlers, and some scholars see in his teachings indirect traces of Islamic influences, and even attribute his revivalist fervour to the challenge presented by the new religion. As Fawcett says, Shankara’s ”country was in peril. Her king had been converted to Islam and that religion was gaining ground. Brahminism must be revived, so Siva was reincarnated in the child of a widow.”9 Dr.Tara Chand says on this subject:
”Shankara was born at a time when Muslims were beginning their activities in India, and if traditions is correct, when the> had gained a notable success in extension of their faith by converting the king of the land. He was born and brought up at a place where many ships from Arabia and the Persian Gulf touched. If his extreme monism, his stripping of the One of all semblance of duality, his attempt to establish this monism on the authority of revealed scriptures, his desire to
253 Interaction of Islam and-Hinduism [ ch. 13
purge the cult of many abuses, had even a faint echo of the new noises that were abr«oad, it would not be a matter for gr^at surprise or utter incredu 1 ity.”10
Shankaracharaya’s 1 ife and works are wrapped in a mist, but more is known ab»ut his successor Ramanuja, who js traditionally regarded as a bridge between the Bhakti movement of the south and north . Through his influence the ideas ?md characteristic features o f the new movement were transferred! to Northern India. Ramananda, who is recognised as the gr-eat leader of the Bhakti mavement in the north, was a disciple o>f a teacher who belonged tso Ramanuja’s Sri sect. Ramananda, \vho probably flourished during the last quarter of the fourteenth and the first half of: the fifteenth century, was born at Allahabad and educated at Benares. He had an independent mind and travelled w Wely. According to Macauliffe, ”It is certain that Ramanandai came in contact at Benares with learned Musalmans.”” As a rewsult of his studies and discussions, he introduced many changes in the Hindu social system. He admitted to his new disciples from all castes and even from among the Muslims, and rejected the regulations Ramanuja about preparation and partaking of meals. Ramananda’s teaching gave rise to t-wo schools of Hindu religious thought, one conservative and o rthodox, the other radical cosmopolitan. To the first school bel onged Tulsidas and Sur Das, while Kabir is considered the best known exponent of the second. We shall discuss Kabir separately, but the influence of Islam On Hinduism can also be seen, in a varying degree, in Nanak of the Punjab, Chaitanya. of Bengal and Tukaram of Maharashtra.
Guru Nanak was born in November 1469 in Central Punjab, an area whenr-e Islam was more dominant than in the south or even in the Gangetic plains. He studied Persian as well as Sanskrit, and counted both Maulvis and Pandits among his teachers. After a. short period of service under a Muslim Nawab, he became a wandering faqir, and in the company of a Muslim minstrel. M ardanah, and a Hindu companion, Bha’i Bala, he is stated to li ave visited holy places, not only in India,
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 254
but in Persia and Arabia. About Islamic influences on his teaching, Dr.Tara Chand says:
”How deep Guru Nanak’s debt is to Islam, it is hardly necessary to state, for it is so evident in his words and thoughts. Manifestly he was steeped in Sufi lore and the fact of the matter is, that it is much harder to find how much exactly he drew from the Hindu scriptures. His rare references to them lead one to imagine that Nanak was only superficially acquainted with the Vedic and Puranic literature.”12
Chaitanya of Bengal (1486-1533) does not show any deep acquaintance with Islam, but he also encountered Muslim faqirs in the course of his wanderings, and his teachings and practices show, at least, indirect effect of Muslim ideas. Some of his disciples were well versed in Islamic lore, and two of them (Rupa and Sanatana) knew Persian and Arabic well, had held high posts at the courts of the Muslim Sultans of Gaur, and had, in the opinion of some Hindu scholars, even accepted Islam at one stage.
One would not expect any deep influence of Islam in distant Maharashtra at this period, but the writings of Namdev and Tukaram are not only full of Muslim ideas, but they also use a surprisingly large number of Muslim expressions. Namdev’s writings contain a number of Persian and Arabic words, and the way Muslim ideas had permeated the writings of Tukaram may be seen from the following translation of two of his hymns:
”What Allah wishes that is accomplished,
0 my frierjd (Baba)! the Maker is the sovereign of
Cattle and-friends, garden and goods all depart, My mind dwells, O friend! on my Lord (Sahib)
who is the Maker.
1 ride there on the back of the horse (Mind) and
the self becomes horseman.
Interaction oflslam and Hinduism
[ Ch. 13
O friend! meditate (dhikr) on Allah, Who is in the
guise of all, Says Tuka, the man who understands this becomes
”First among the great names is Allah, never forget
to respect it. Allah is verily one, the prophet (nab’i) is verily
one. There Thou art one, there Thou art one, there Thou
art one, O friend! There is neither I nor thou.”14
There were scores of other Hindu thinkers, poets, seekers after God, in whose teachings and writings the influence of Islam is clearly visible. Dr.Tara Chand has given an account of minor groups, showing these influences, but his list is far from complete. Besides, the successors of Kabir and Dadu, and sects like Satnami, Laldasi, Ram Sanehi, Shivanarayani and Swaminavayani orders, there were large number of Hindu mystics who wrote Persian and Indian languages echoing sufi thoughts.
K. M. Munshi gives some information about another Hindu sect which came into existence in the thirteenth century as a result of ”action and reaction” of Islam and Hinduism. He writes:
”Hindu and Muslim saints, not unoften, had a common appeal to both the communities and sects of both religions, by way of action and reaction, and sometimes by way of challenge, influenced each other. The Mohanubhara sect, a non-idolatrous Krishna cult, founded by Chakvadharasvami (died in A.D. 1272) about the first Sufi saints settled in Aurangabad is a case in point.”15
While tracing the influence of Islam on original leaders of the Bhakti movement, it is worth mentioning that most of the dominant elements in the teaching of Shankara, Ramanuja and Ramananda had appeared at one stage or another in ancient Hindu thought, but these elements in their totality and characteristic emphasis in Mediaeval India appear to indicate Muslim