Namaste! One of the most important conflicts between different historical camps in India today concerns Muslim rule the camp on the left wants to deny that Muslims came as conquerors that Muslims colonized that Muslims imposed harsh, you know, religion and all kinds of things against Hindus that they cause destruction and so on while the Hindu camp wants to bring these things out put them on the table as part of history and then figure out ways of amicably settling things between the two communities. Here’s Professor Thapar’s overall posture on Islamic rule. -It is commonly said by people that should know better, but obviously don’t that for the last Thousand Years Hindus have been enslaved and victimized by Muslims and now finally they are free. That is not what history tells us. In the last thousand years, if you look at the status of Hindus in the sub-continent, very interesting ideas, events, people emerge. Sanskrit learning was located at many more centres in the subcontinent than it had been before. Because Sanskrit learning spread and it had a very impressive patronage of Maharajas, sultans and wealthy landowners many of whom had the money to actually finance pathshalas, muths and places of learning. -She’s quoting isolated instances where Muslims supported Sanskrit. She’s also quoting instances where Sanskrit flourished which are nothing to do with Muslims because Muslim rule was at the top level and the Grassroots continued functioning like before in many parts of the country. So, picking here and there cherry-picking where some Sanskrit was flourishing does not prove that Muslim rule was Pro Sanskrit or pro sanskriti. -The Striking compositions in this period for example, the great Siana, who writes a fascinating commentary on the Rig Ved which is a very very interesting insight into the medieval mind and how the medieval mind of the 14th century is looking back 3,000 years on the Rig Veda and giving a commentary verse by verse of the text. -Professor Thapar is right that certain eminent Sanskrit Scholars did their work during the Muslim era, but she is silent on why they stopped doing purvapaksha, which is a critique of the other they would have; they should have been doing purvapaksha of Muslims during this entire period but they did not. That absence of purvapaksha is something important that Thapar and others should talk about. -Many texts on mathematics in astronomy are being written and Indian astronomers and mathematicians many of whom were Hindu are praised, discussed and quoted in text from Baghdad. Did these mathematicians and astronomers on both sides know Sanskrit and Arabic otherwise, how could they have these discussions? how could they be quoting each other? They must have known it. What happened to that tradition? -Professors Thapar considers the Arab acknowledgement of Indian mathematics and their study of Sanskrit as some sort of a big favour they were doing to us. The fact is, that they were digesting this knowledge into Arabic and then later retransmitting it to Europe as though it’s their own. So, what we need to do is connect all the dots end to end and not just take isolated places where Arabs came and they were studying Indian Science astronomy, etc. etc. We should also look at what happened later. What happened centuries later after they had mined India and Indian civilization for such profound knowledge, what happened? They stop referencing India. They stopped the Sanskrit, you know, studies. They then started engaging Latin and Europeans and transmitting all this Indian knowledge as though it’s made in the Middle East. The fact that Hindu Society did not capitulate and come to an end under centuries of Muslim rule is a tribute to the resilience and how the Hindu Society was an open architecture and at the Grassroots it was not elitist because you could kill a few Elitist people and finish it off. But actually, Hindu society and intellectual life was pervasive. Now what she doesn’t want to talk about is all the destruction. Temples were destroyed, universities were destroyed, Hindus were turned into infidels, taxes were imposed. All kinds of things that happened during this era, she’s not talking about. Just the fact that they were tolerant and allowed a certain amount of Sanskrit studies and cultural studies to continue does not say that they were actually in support of this. One of the richest temples, which was destroyed was the Somnath temple in Gujarat. It was destroyed by Muslim Invaders one Invasion after another and in these invasions, they bragged about how many thousands of camels were required to bring all the gold back to the Middle East or wherever they took it. So, this is an important milestone in the and a scar in Hindu memory about the Islamic plunder and Professor Thapar wants to kind of, you know, give the Muslims a pass, make it look like it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen to that extent. It was okay and maybe if it happen, so what. Maybe it was a Hindu’s fault. So, in so in the rest of this episode, I’m going to talk about professor Thapar’s treatment of the plunder of Somnath Temple. -The Somnath book. I must say that i was myself very intrigued as I went from one set of sources to another because we have grown up on the theory which comes from the Turco Persian Chronicles. That he came, he desecrated the temple, he broke the idol and that was the beginning of the Hindu trauma. That is the way these Chronicles were interpreted. When I looked at the Chronicles and I since I don’t know Persian, I asked the help of a colleague of mine who has excellent Persian and we went through them. The interesting thing was that they contradicted each other. -The Chronicles. -The Chronicles. They’re really not quite sure what he broke. Did he break a lingam? Did he break an image? Because one at one stage they talk about him piercing the belly of the image as a whole bunch of precious stones fell out of the belly. In the case of the lingam, one man says it’s on the ground, the other man says it’s suspended because they had a magnet in the ceiling. -Professors Thapar’s entire argument rests on saying that two different Muslim Chronicles about this raid and plunder don’t match in minute details. But you know, even if there were multiple eyewitnesses today about a crime that happened today, you will not find an exact match of what all the eyewitnesses say. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. So, the tone of The Chronicles the Muslim Chronicles is very similar. They are very proud. These are infidels. These Idols have to be smashed. They have lots of gold and wealth that has to be taken from the infidels. So, the motives and the basic nature of the deed is not in dispute. It’s minor details that that professors Thapar turns into some big deal. Professor Thapar thinks that citing some Sanskrit texts will support her case that the plunder never happened or if it happened, it was not that big a deal. Please watch. -So, I started looking at the Sanskrit inscriptions and they’re fascinating inscriptions because a lot of them deal with the Temple of Somnath, it’s estates. And we’re now into the 12th, 13th century, the Traders is a Persian Trader called Nuruddin who comes and has a legal contract drawn up with the local Traders about getting land to build a mosque. And some of the land is from the Somnath estate. -And it’s giving to him. -And it’s given to him to build a mosque because the mosque is referred to as a dharma sthan. -There are several flaws in her argument. First of all, this grant of Temple land to build a mosque happens 200 years after the plunder. So, we’re not talking about the same thing. The temple has been plundered but the land wasn’t taken as part of the plunder. So, the lands are now being taken and the fact that the, the temple priests and the temple officials give this land for to somebody for building a mosque, doesn’t mean that there was great harmony between the religions. Because after all the Muslims were ruling so under what circumstances and what duress and for what reasons did the Hindus give this, she doesn’t tell us. But the fact that Hindus gave shows their generosity. It doesn’t mean that the Muslims are very good to them. Professor Thapar wants to claim that there was no such thing as Hindu trauma during missile Muslims and she citing some examples from here and there trying to muster up as much evidence to support that Muslims are very good to the Hindus. But this is selective use of evidence. There is a huge amount of information available on the different rulers and what they did against the Hindus and this requires serious scholarship. It requires honesty. I don’t think we should blame today’s Muslims for what previous Muslims did because even today’s Muslims, you know, it’s not their fault. They may be the products of earlier forced conversions or something along those lines. So, I think as far as peace and harmony with today’s Muslims is concerned. I don’t think that’s going to be compromised if history is corrected and, and the historical record is, you know, shown to include all the atrocities. After all, in Germany, they teach about you know, nazi holocaust. Jews talk about the Jewish Holocaust. In the United States blacks required teaching of slavery, you know. So, people around the world have suffered in the past and it’s okay to teach it. It doesn’t mean that today’s people have to be held responsible for what their ancestors may have done. So, I think that it’s a bad idea for Professor Thapar in the name of political correctness to try to cover up what the Muslims did. I would like that Meenakshi Jane who I think is a very good scholar on the whole Islamic period and Professor Thapar should have a debate should have a face-to-face debate. I would love to see facilitate that I would love to have my own conversation with Professor Thapar on all these issues that I have raised. I hope there is no feeling that I’ve been rude to her. I respect her as an individual as a scholar. She’s a great historian, but she’s wrong on so many things and in the spirit of free-thinking critical inquiry, open debate which she champions, I would like to invite her for further conversation.