Why So Many People In India Are Still Hindus? | Mughal History

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why people in india are still hindus

Why So Many People In India Are Still Hindus even after a brutal Islamic rule?

Hindus of India were never impressed by Islam, Instead, the trend was exactly the opposite: that is, an eagerness to leave the fold of Islam to rejoin Hinduism.

On rare occasions, when a liberal Muslim ruler came to power and gave the citizens free choice in matters of religion, Islam declined and Hinduism and other local religions flourished, as admitted by Muslim historians and scholars.

This discussion gives enough evidence as to why some 80 percent of the people in subcontinental, India remained non-Muslim after so many centuries of Muslim rule. It will be noted below that the Hindus resolutely endured extreme social, cultural and religious degradation, humiliation and deprivation as well as crushing burden of discriminatory taxes and still stuck to their ancestral religion even after a millennium of brutal Islamic rule.

Also Why So Many People In India Are Still Hindus?

Another factor warrants consideration here is that, although Muslims theoretically ruled India for over eleven centuries, they hardly ever managed to secure a complete hold over the entire country. During the first three centuries after Qasim’s foray into Sindh in 712, Muslim rule remained confined to a tiny Northwest area of vast India. The fact that a huge majority of the population in those parts are now Muslims proves that Muslim rulers could impose Islam more effectively in areas, where they had strong political power over a longer period of time.

Only under the commander-ship of Akbar (r. 1556–1605), most parts of India came under the sway of Muslim rule. But then, Akbar was a apostate of Islam and did not help the cause of spreading Islam. During his five-decade reign, the Muslim population probably dwindled, instead of expanding. Following Akbar, the policy of Islamization did not get a strong hold as a policy of the state during the next fifty years, ruled by his son Jahangir and grandson Shahjahan.

When Akbar’s great grandson fanatic Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707) captured power, Islamization and forced conversion became the focus of the state. But during his reign, revolts were taking place in all corners of the kingdom. According to Bernier, during Aurangzeb’s brutal reign, the powerful and defiant Rajput and Maratha princes used to enter the courtyard of his palace always mounted on their horses, well-armed and well-attended by their men.

When Aurangzeb banned non-Muslims from carrying weapons in conformity with the Pact of Omar and Sharia laws, the defiant and dangerous Rajputs had to be exempted. Despite Aurangzeb’s dreaded policies and atrocities against his infidel opponents, defiant Hindu rebels like Shivaji and Rana Raj Singh wrote letters, protesting the re-imposition of jizyah. When his officers (amin) went to collect jizyah, one of them was killed and another was humiliated by Hindus pulling by his beard and hair before sending back empty-handed.

Also Why So Many People In India Are Still Hindus?

why people in india are still hindus

Even during the period of most firmly established Mughal rule of Akbar and Jahangir, their influence across the country remained rather fragile. Jahangir wrote in his memoir, Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi, that ‘‘the number of turbulent and disaffected never seems to diminish; for what with the examples made during the reign of my father, and subsequently of my own, …there is scarcely a province in the empire in which, in one quarter or the other, some accursed miscreant will not spring up to unfurl the standard of rebellion; so that in Hindustan never has there existed a period of complete repose.’’

Summarizing the Hindu defiance, notes Dirk H. Kolf, ‘millions of armed men, cultivators or otherwise, were its (government’s) rivals rather than subjects.’ According to Badaoni of Akbar’s court, Hindus often warded off attacks of Muslim army from their jungle hideouts. Those, who took to the forest, stayed there eating wild fruits, tree-roots and coarse grain if and when available. These examples would give one sufficient idea about how some 80 percent of the population of the subcontinental India remained non-Muslims after so many centuries of Islamic rule.

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