There is serious evidence, on going through the Quran, that its ‘as it is’ and ‘non-contextual’ (of that period and situation) interpretation can, and evidently has, led to complete intolerance of Islam over other faiths and people following those faiths. This is a certainly one of the most important causes of terrorism globally.
*There is no other true way*
One key point that comes out during discussions with orthodox muslims is the fact that they believe there can be no other true interpretation of God, and the purpose of life, than the one they have as has been offered by Muhammad. Everyone else is wrong, they say, and there is no room for Self-inquiry, with the possibility of this leading to new answers. Answers are all laid out already – and simply need to be followed.
While a lot of other religions and intra-religious faiths within hinduism as well, take such a hard stance to spiritual pursuits of other people, the trouble arises when this difference in world-views (or God-views) reaches the point of intolerance of the other, and precipitates as aggression and violence.
This has been the case in both Islam and Christianity, and from what I know, in the Jewish faith as well. This has happened in the past with some of India’s Hindu kings as well, who were completely intolerant to Buddhism and Buddhists, and ordered their persecution. However, stories of such kings found doing circles in Srilankan and Tibetan Buddhist monks “seems to be” (and I welcome my readers to help me correct my knowledge of history) at best exaggerated.
Purpose of this article
I write this to help build religious harmony and tolerance between Islam and Hindusim in India. I will attempt to show reason on why muslims need to with hard look at history, thus needing to soften their stand on Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi, Kashi Vishwanath and other such key temple complexes which are the central flash-points of conflict currently in India.
The purpose of this article is invite muslim leaders and secular thinkers, to put themselves in the shoes of hindus, and then stand in judgment of their popular sentiment about Babri Masjid and other similar examples. Then
- an opportunity for dialogue between the two communities can open up, on how to move forward
- we can say, what was done in the past was shameful and against Islam
- there will be an opportunity with muslims to soften their stand possibly, leading to voluntary relocation of some of the mosques standing in place of these temples or occupying, whether in use or not
- a message to the hindus can go – that they need not repeat the same nonsense
Aurangzeb, in this discussion, in context of India, stands head and shoulders above all muslim invaders, kings and zealots who came to India plundering its resources, people, temples, lifestyles and destroying its social and spiritual fabric.
Proof of such destruction of Hindu temples across the region
It is often pointed out that no such thing was done by Aurangzeb, and that this version of history is contrived and incorrect to push forward the saffronisation agenda.
I recently came across a blog on Aurangzeb and the mess he created in India. The research done by Francois Gautier on Aurangzeb is based on farhans (original edicts) by Aurangzeb, preserved at the Bikaner Museum in Rajasthan.
His research led to a series of paintings and sketches to visually represent the destruction of hindu temples, their forced and coercive conversions, the brutal dismemberment of his enemies, and imposing strict interpretations of Islam leading to killing of philosophers and ban on music. Here are some links of these exhibits:
Exhibit No. 2: Prince Dara Shukoh translating the Upanishads
Exhibit No. 3: Scene of Captive Dara being paraded in Delhi
Exhibit No. 4: Dara Shukoh’s farcical trial and verdict
Exhibit No. 12 i – ii – iii : “During this month of Ramzan (1080 A.H./January-February 1670) ….. the Emperor ….. The reviver of the Faith of the Prophet issued orders for the demolition of the Dehra of Keshava Rai in Mathura. In a short time the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built. ….. the idols large and small of the temple were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque of Begum Sahib” (Maasir-i- ‘Alamgiri, 95-96); http://according-to-mughal-records.blogspot.com/2008/06/exhibit-no_6075.html, http://according-to-mughal-records.blogspot.com/2008/06/exhibit-no_4763.html
Exhibit No. 14: Demolition of Somnath temple
Exhibit No. 16: Reimposition of Jizyah by Aurangzeb. (2nd April 1679)
Exhibit No. 17: “Burial of Music”. The musicians, wailing and lamenting carry the ‘bier’ of music in Aurangzeb’s presence. “Bury it so deep that no sound or echo of it may rise again”, Aurangzeb, (Muntakhab-al Lubab, p.213)
Exhibit No. 22: Destruction of sixty-three temples at Chittor. On Monday, the 22nd February /1st Safar, the Emperor went to see Chittor; by his order sixty-three (63) temples of the place were destroyed
There is also a history paper written by Rajiv Verma on Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb, which provides historical references.
A message to the readers
This is not meant to be a hate article.
This is a result of a dialogue between an orthodox muslim friend who during our series of discussions on Islam and Hindusim, denied that there was any such things done by Aurangzeb. It is such denial which leads to nonacceptance of each other’s anxieties. Gandhi used to say that the ability of hindus and muslims would be determined by the understanding they can have for each others anxieties.
I believe the Hindus have no real scars and have moved on, and moved forward with many things (which is a great thing ofcourse), yet there are some sensitive points in memory like Babri Masjid, which are a result of popular sentiment of people associated with someone who is as dear to the Hindus as Muhammad is to Muslims.
There needs to be movement forward by muslims in showing tolerance and acceptance now.