The ethical code and misplaced magnanimity of Hindu kings who followed dharmic tenets cost them against a barbarous enemy.
It is now an established fact that the Marxist historians of India distorted Indian history. Too many brilliant historians, authors and independent thinkers like Arun Shourie, Sita Ram Goel, Harsh Narain, Koenraad Elst, Meenakshi Jain etc. have written excellent books and articles to prove it. The Marxists portrayed everything Hindu in a bad light and everything Islamic and Christian in a light which makes them look benign, egalitarian and progressive.
But what is the true history of India? Many have attempted to write the correct history of India and some of the names given above are the most prominent ones. But these historians and thinkers wrote in an era when mainstream publishers wouldn’t entertain any non-Marxist interpretation of Indian history. Marxist historians did their part and ignored the true history and historians of India, killing them by silence.
But truth has a way of finding the light of day. The work that was suppressed by the Marxists did manage to find an audience. The work of Sita Ram Goel created a generation of brilliant intellectuals who did not see the history of India through any ideological prism, but as it truly is. This generation is now coming of age, of which Sandeep Balakrishna is one brilliant representative. This generation of authors and historians is writing the history of India as it is, without any ideological slant.
Taking forward the legacy of Shri Sita Ram Goel, author and historian Sandeep Balakrishna writes a wonderful first book in a series discussing the history of Islamic invasions in India and their impact on Hindu society: Invaders and Infidels: From Sindh to Delhi – The 500 Year Journey of Islamic Invasions.
Not suffering from any ideological bias, Sandeep Balakrishna tells the history of India during this period in all its ruthless brutality. He portrays this period as the worst time in the history of Bharatvarsha in which its individuals, their heritage all suffered. It was a period when an unprecedented enemy, the Muslims invaders established an empire in India, destroyed Hindu temples, killed Brahmins and cows, ravaged Hindu women and sold Hindu children and women in international slave markets. It was a period in which thousands of years of Hindu institutions were destroyed repeatedly. It was a period in which not only did the politics of India suffer a setback, but its arts and science also suffered as the barbarian invaders like Mahmud Ghazni and Ghauri could seldom think beyond loot and destruction.
What is wonderful about Sandeep’s book is that not only does he tell us what happened during the Delhi Sultanate, he also tells us why it happened. He tells us what inspired these Islamic invaders. He tells us how the Quran and the Hadis justify the destruction of Hindu temples and the conquest and total annihilation of a pagan dharmic society like Bharatvarsha. He traces this iconoclastic and annihilating tendency to the very career of Prophet Muhammad who did the same to the pagan tribes of Arabia in the seventh century.
He tells us in riveting prose how the Islamic invaders tried to quickly complete a conquest of India as they defeated Persia, Byzantium and other great powers of that age but failed spectacularly in Bharat. The Arab Muslim armies started trying to attack India as soon as Islamic armies spilled out of Persia during the reign of Umar, the Second Rightly Guided Caliph. But it took them many centuries of failed conquests to find first footholds in what is now Sindh and Baluchistan.
This story has been told before in brief by Ram Gopal Sharma in his work “Indian Resistance to Early Muslim Invaders upto 1206 AD” but without any mainstream publisher, its reach was limited. Sita Ram Goel then wrote another work based on this book called “Heroic Hindu Resistance to Islamic Invaders”. This book was read by many more than Ram Gopal Mishra’s book but still not as much as it should have been.
Sandeep has taken the same subject matter but has added many layers to it. He has added incisive analysis on historical intentions and civilizational imperatives. He tells us the difference between the value systems and thought processes of the Islamic invaders and the Hindu kings. The Islamic invaders did not have any moral or ethical code and on the other hand, the Hindu kings foolishly abided by ethical code against an enemy who took advantage of it. The Hindu thus did not just lose the individual battles but also the larger civilizational war of Bharatvarsha vis-a-vis Islamic invaders.
Correcting the ideological biases of Marxists he tells us how it took almost 500 years for the Islamic invaders to establish an Islamic empire in India. Even invasions weren’t made possible before 300 years of their attempts. Sandeep calls it “the Imperial Islamic Frustration of Three Centuries”. Hindu kings and empires gave stiff resistance to them. The kind of valour and chivalry that these invaders encountered in India is unparalleled in history. But eventually, after 500 years of continuous assault the Hindu kings lost and the Islamic empire, the Delhi Sultanate, was established in India. Sandeep tells us the reasons: misplaced magnanimity and the lack of a longer civilization vision among the Hindu kings.
Hindu rulers like Prithviraj Chouhan would show pity as is expected of a Hindu ruler. Their fault was that they showed pity for barbarian Muslim invaders. Prithviraj Chouhan failed to see, along with many other Hindu kings that the Islamic invaders are persistent and follow no ethics and when a Hindu ruler was captured, no mercy was shown to him, his family or even his subjects.
The most important point that Sandeep makes in the book is that how Islamic invaders won the civilizational war even when they lost individual battles and how Hindu kings lost the larger civilizational war even when they won individual battles. The fault lay in not understanding the true nature of the Islamic invaders and the alien religion that they introduced to India.
Invaders and Infidels tells us how the very soul of Bharatvarsha was changed forever once the Delhi Sultanate was established in India. Sandeep tells us that with the establishment of the Sultanate, ancient India was obliterated forever, never to make a comeback and the very soul of India underwent a deep change for the worse.
Dynasty after dynasty and king after king suffered through the horrible destruction that these Islamic invaders wreaked upon the Hindu society, Hindu temples, Brahmins, women and children. It is the same story repeated year after year. Every single one of these Islamic invaders was a ruthless tyrant who followed no ethics, showed no mercy to his Hindu subjects, and was a fervent believer in Islam. These iconoclastic tyrants were the true believers of Islam and literally followed the religious instruction given to them in the Quran and the Hadis.
Forced conversions accompanied the destruction of Hindu temples wherever Islamic invaders went. Enslaving Hindu women and children became the norm. Internal migrations started which deeply disturbed the Hindu national psyche. The worst thing is that by converting a sizeable proportion of India’s population to Islam, a permanent fifth column was created inside India which is still the cause of the communal fault lines that plague it.
His prose is riveting and, his style passionate, and yet his commitment to the truth is so deep that he does not hesitate in pointing out the faults of the Hindu society. To repeat it once again, misplaced magnanimity and a lack of long civilizational vision led to the eventual Hindu defeat which changed the soul of Bharatvarsha inalterably. The only possible issue is that it too much information seems to have been put together in a slender volume. I believe someone with Sandeep’s narrative capabilities can play on the story a little more to make the future editions less data-heavy. But otherwise, it is a wonderful, informative and racy read.
Invaders and Infidels by Sandeep Balakrishna is a passionate and racy ride through the most turbulent period of India’s history. It is a painful read for anyone who identifies with the cultural soul of Bharatvarsha but at the same time, it is a necessary read for anyone who is even remotely concerned with the culture and civilization of Bharatvarsha and its future in India. Because the forces that Sandeep describes in this book about medieval invaders are still at work in modern India.
The book does not suffer from any political bias. It does not try to explain the Islamic invasions of the medieval era through an economic lens. It does not try to demonize the victims of these Islamic invasions – the Hindus. It does not try to portray Islam as egalitarian and Hinduism as riveted with caste and cultural discrimination. It does not try to portray the Islamic conquest of India as a cakewalk. It also does not hide the fundamental mistakes that the Hindu kings made while fighting the invaders. It does not hide the trail of death and destruction that these invasions meant for the Hindu society. And it shows what lasting changes it brought in Hindu society and how these invasions changed Bharatvarsha forever.
Anyone who has read this work will wait with bated breath for the next four sequels in the series.