After conquering India, various officers of the (English) East India Company wrote History of India. By depicting that the Indian Muslims were the rulers in India before the English they had created a bloating in the minds of Indian Muslims leading to false pride and arrogance, intransigency, monstrous ambitions, resulting ultimately in the partition of India in August 1947.
This impression is TOTALLY FALSE. The rulers and the ruling class were foreign Muslims and they utterly despised native Indian Muslims. I had given some indications of this in my newsletter number 6 of 16 February 1982. Historian from Mumbai, Mr Setu Madhavrao Pagdi had also stressed this vital point in his article in the Diwali issue of Marathi magazine Kirloskar in November 1974. Here is the gust of the information.
Pagdi says, “ I was always puzzled by one thing when we read Indian History in school. The prescribed texts contained three periods – Hindu Era, Muslim Era and the British Era. When there were Hindu and Muslim Eras, I could not understand why the British Era was NOT regarded as Christian Era. I never got a satisfactory answer in my school days. Things were no different in my college days. When I read histories written by likes of Vincent Smith I became aware of another trick of British historians. They would extend Muslim Era till 1761, start British Era from 1603 (when the first ships of the East India company landed in Surat) and just briefly mention Maratha history.”
“ During my service under the Nizam (1933-48), I used to hear Muslims saying that they ruled India for a thousand years. I was shocked by their claim and decided to look closer at this issue.”
In the recent past we know of many Muslims who had Hindu ancestors. For example- Urdu poet Musaphi (original Rajput) Historian Shibali Nemani (Rajput) Well-known Urdu poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Kashmiri Brahmin) Sir Phirozkhan Noon – (Rajput) Zulphikhar Ali Bhutto – (Rajput) Prime Minister of Hyderabad state the Nawab of Chhatari - (Rajput) Poet Laureate of Pakistan Hafiz Jalandhari (Chauhan – Rajput) Prime Minister of Hyderabad Sir Akbar Hyderi (Hindu from Gujarat) Labour minister who recently died, Abid Ali Japharbhai (Hindu from Kutch) Revolutionary and writer, Ubedulla Sindhi (Sikh) Revolutionary Abdulkarim (brother of Acharya Kripalani)
Boharis and Momins of Gujrat, majority of Muslims of Kashmir, Jats in western Punjab, majority of Muslims of Bangladesh were undoubtedly descendents of Hindus. One can take a clue from the title Pandit, Bhat, Jutshi (astrologer) among Kashmiri Muslims, Kitchlu and other surnames give away their origin. These are without doubt Muslims who can be called Indian. That does not mean the rest are not Indians. Today all Muslims must regard themselves as Indians whatever their forefathers were.
Rulers were foreigners. Things were different in mediaeval times. Those who ruled were openly foreigners. They regarded Hindus converted to Islam and those merchants who had settled in India as Hindusthanis. Rulers, on the other hand regarded themselves as Turks or Pathans and were proud of ruling foreign land of Hindusthan. This is especially true of those who ruled from Delhi; though they were Muslims by religion by race they were Turks, Afghans or Pathans. This led to the popular concept that Muslim means Turk. In Kannad language Muslims are called Turks, in Urdu Muslims are called Turks. Same thing applies in Telagu language. In mediaeval times, in Hindi language Muslims were called Turks – for example, ‘Tum to nire Turk bhaye’ or ‘you have really become Turk’ Vagabonds or unclean people used to be called Turks in this way.
What was the extent of Arab rule? Arabs came to India as merchants. On the west coast they had their colonies but had nothing to do with politics. Arabs attacked Sindh on the orders of Caliph of Baghadad. Muhammad bin Kasim defeated King Dahir in the year 710. True Arabs tried to invade in other parts of India, but Gurjar Pratihars of Delhi, Bappa Rawal of Chitod and Chalukyas of Gujrat kept Arabs in check.. Thus Arabs ruled Sindh for hundred to hundred and fifty years ( see Godbole – Arabs repulsed Hindus regained rule ), later it was ruled by Turks. In the days of Muhammad Tugluck (1324-1350) a Arab knight established a kingdom in Tamilnadu around Madura, but within one or two generations they were over-ruled by kings of Daulatabad (Devagiri). In 1354 Hindu rulers of Vijayanagar absorbed this kingdom within their rule. Apart from these two examples, Arabs did not rule in any part of India. However, hundreds of Arab families migrated to India. We can still recognise them by their names.
Arab immigrants Take for instance, Sayyad. Muhammad Paigambar’s daughter was married to Ali. Fatima had two sons Hasan and Hussein. Their descendents are called Sayyads. Famous Sayyad brothers (in the days of the first Maratha Peshwa Balaji Vishvanath – 1707 to 1720), Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan (of Aligad movement and who encouraged Muslims to keep away from the Congress party and demand separate status for Muslims), Abul Kalam Azad and many Sufi saints were Sayyads. There were ten Gurus among descendents of Hussein. They were called Imams and their names Musa, Riza, Naki Jafar etc became surnames like Musavi, Rizavi, Nakavi, Jafari. Among the Muslim population the Sayyads were highly respected, in the same manner as Brahmins used to be respected by Hindu Kings. Turks and Pathan rulers also showed respect to Sayyads.
Muhammad Paigambar was born in Quereshi tribe, hence the surname Quereshi. They used to be traders, hence the name Hashami. When Muhammad was not strong he was driven out of Mecca and had to seek refuge in Medina. Those who befriend him were called Ansaris (friends in Arabic) Some of the descendents of Ali became Alawi, those who descended from Caliph Umar were Farukhi, and those who descended from Caliph Abu Bakr were Siddiquis. These are some of the families who migrated to India.
Thus Arab ancestry is nothing to be proud of. In India there were never any Arab Kings or Generals or Governors.
Turks Oxford English Dictionary says – Turkoman, Turkman, Turco: Member of any of various Turkish tribes in Turkestan, Afghanistan, Persia & Russia. Turks originated from Central Asia. Many confuse between Turks and Mongols. The two were bitter enemies for centuries. Mongols originated from Mongolia (north of China). Gengizkhan (1162-1227), Kublaikhan (1216-1294 first Mongol Emperor of China and grandson of Gengizkhan ) etc were Mongols, but they were NOT Muslims. At one time (13th and 14th century) Mongols controlled vast areas from Iraq and East Russia to Korea (including China) Turks, Turanis, Turkmans and Uzbeks are neighbouring tribes. They came from Uzbekistan (cities of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara) Turkmenistan, Sinkiang province of China (cities of Yarkand, Kashgar, Khohan) and Balkh and Bahrushan areas of Afghanistan.
After Arabs conquered Central Asia, Turks accepted Islam in the 9th century. Turks then joined the armies of Caliph of Baghdad and spread all over the Arab empire. In the course of time the Caliphs became rulers in name only. Turks then spread west. Today’s Turkey (Anatolia) was settled by them. Many Military officers accepted the rule of Caliph for namesake but became rulers them selves. Mahmood of Ghazni was one such ruler.
How did Turks come to India? Mahmood of Gazni was the first Turk who invaded North of India 17 times. He destroyed the famous Somnath temple in Gujarat for the last time in 1026. At the time of his death Turkish rulers controlled Punjab, North West Frontier Province and Sindh. Mahmood’s descendents ruled till 1190. By then a Turk named Muhammad Ghori deposed the Ghazni dynasty and attacked Delhi. In 1192, in the battle of Thanesar, he defeated Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Mahmood Ghori became ruler of Delhi – Ajmer. Kutubuddin Aibak, one of Ghori’s officers founded the Gulam dynasty of Delhi. These Gulams were Turks. The successors were Altmash, Razia, Nasiruddin, Balban. They were all Turks. Majority of their knights were also Turks. Some knights, though originally Turks had settled in Afghanistan for generations and had become Afghans. In history books they are called Turkish Afghans
Turks of Gulam dynasty extended their rule Eastwards up to Bengal by defeating various Hindu Kings.
The Gulam dynasty was followed by the Khiljis (1290 to 1324). The well-known Allauddin Khilji conquered Malwa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra and imposed heavy tributes on kings of Andhra, Karnatak and Tamilnadu (1296-1316). After his death there was bloodbath and many claimants to his throne were killed. Kutubuddin Mubarik khan Khilji eventually succeeded and ruled for four years.
Struggle for power In 1320, Khusro, a Hindu who was forcibly converted to Islam killed Mubarik, son of Allauddin Khilji and became king in his place. A shock to the whole of India, as Khusro declared himself to be a Hindu again!! However, within a year Giyasuddin Turk defeated Khusro and re-established the rule of Turks in Delhi. His son was Muhammad Tugluck (1324 to 1350) who once extended his rule right up to Madura in the South. But during Tugluck’s days itself his empire had started to crumble. In 1347 Alauddin Hasan Gangu Bahamani established his own kingdom in south India. Thus started the Bahamani dynasty. He was an Afghan (Turkish Afghan).
VIJAYANAGAR Harihar and Bukkarai, two Hindu youths were forcibly converted to Islam and taken to Delhi. They became so confident of Muhammad Tagluck that he sent them south for a battle in 1331. But they escaped with the help of Hindu warriors and encouragement of Vidyaranyaswami (Shankaracharya) they became Hindus and established the mighty Vijayanagar Empire in 1336. It lasted till 1565, more than 200 years
Firozshah Tagluck succeeded Muhammad Tugluck and during his time there were many independent kingdoms. There were Turks in Kashmir, in Bengal there were Turks and then Afghan, in the south Afghan Bahamani were rulers, in Malwa Dilarwarkhan Khilji (Afghan) was ruler. Farukhi rulers of Khandesh (1370 to 1599) called themselves descendents of the second Caliph Umar Farukh.
In 1489, The Bahamani kingdom disintegrated into five. Yusuf Adilshah of Bijapur was a Turk who had fled Constantinople (Istambul)Sultan Kuli Kutub (Kutubshah) of Golconda was a Turk who fled northern Iran Kasim Berid (Beridshah) of Beedar was a Turk from Georgia (Soviet Union) Nizamshah of Nagar was originally a Hindu Brahmin – Bhairavbhat Imadshah of Berar was also originally a Hindu Brahmin. (Also quoted in Raja Shivachhatrapati by B M Purandare, 1974 edition, p34)
There are other examples too. Sultans of Gujarat were originally Rajputs. In Bengal a landlord named Raja Ganesh became a King, but his sons embraced Islam and his kingdom lasted for two generations. But there is NO EXAMPLE of a native Indian Muslim ever becoming a king. When the Tuglucks were ruling Delhi, Timerlung invaded north India and committed atrocities. A Subedhar from a Sayyad family ruled from Delhi as representative of Timerlung. But in 1456 an Afghan named Bahalol Lodi ousted this ruler and gained the throne of Delhi. In 1526 Babar, descendent of Timurlung defeated Ibrahim Lodi and established the Mughal rule in Delhi. Babar was a Turk
It is true that during this time many Hindus were being forced to accept Islam by terror, but they were always kept away from political power by foreign Muslim Rulers.
The funny thing was that after two generations, descendents of foreign Muslims would despise new incoming foreign Muslims. This led to many factions, feuds, massacres and destruction of kingdoms.
What was the picture in the South? During the days of Bahamani rule (1347 to 1489) and thereafter, large number of Muslims migrated from Iran and Iraq. Khwaja Mahmud Gawan, Prime minister of Bahamani king came from Gilan in North Iran. General Valaf Hasan Basari was an Iraqi. Guru of Bahamanis, Niyamatulla came from Kirman area of Iran, their general in Belgaum, Sardar Asadkhan was an Irani. Vazir of Bijapur, Rafiuddin Shiraji was an Irani. Salabatkhan and Chengizkhan, officers of Nagar were Turks. Chief Minister of Nizam of Ahmednagar was Malik Ambar (1605 to 1626), an Abyssinian (Ethiopian). The list is endless. Such immigrants were called Afafi, those who came from across the horizon. Later day history of the Bahamani kingdom is full of bloodbath between the Afafis and the South Indian Muslims. And thus Kwaja Muhammad Gawan and Nizam-ul-mulk were killed. In the Nizamshahi of Nagar also this dispute led to bloodbaths. Famous historian Farishta was an Afafi. He had to flee for his life.
Maratha saint Eknath ( c1586) wrote- Davalmalakachi pujita gada. Varshatuni phakir hoti ekada. Maga dola hota thanda khati malida. Turkache Kharakt Meaning that people had become so despondent that they accept leftovers from dinners of Turkish rulers at the time Id. He has used the word Turk correctly. He knew that the rulers were Turks and not Indian Muslims.
Shivaji’s father Shahaji was a great warrior. In 1648 he was tricked and imprisoned by Mustaphakhan, Afzulkhan and Baji Ghorapade on orders of Adilshah of Bijapur. Shivaji sought his father’s release by intrigues with Shahjahan. But Shahaji could not forget the insult. He wrote to Shivaji about Baji Ghorapade, “ Swadharmasadhanata sodun yavan dushta turukanche krutyas anukul hovun dagabajiche hunare karun Bajine vartan kele. Tyanche vedhe ghyave.” In other words, “ My son, this Baji has joined in the conspiracy of this vicious Turks and betrayed me. I ask you to seek revenge.” Shahaji has used the words Turks, not Muslims. Clear indication that the ruler was a Turk. Shivaji killed Baji Ghorapade in a open fight in October 1664
When the native Muslims were in such hopeless position the work of preventing onslaught of Foreign Muslim invasion was carried out by Rajputs in the north and the Kings of Vijayanagar in the south.
Muslim rulers never regarded themselves as Indian Mughals- In course of time Mongols and Turks intermarried and there arose a race called Chagtai Turks or Mughals. But in the early days they were despised by other Muslims. In Delhi, Allauddin Khilji even massacred them.
Babar was a Turk from Fargana province of Central Asia (Uzbekistan). His mother tongue was Turkish. His biography is in Turkish. He addresses all communities in India (including Muslims) as Hindusthanis. Babar’s grandson was Akbar whose mother was Hamidabanu, an Irani. Akbar annexed kingdoms of Kashmir, Sindh, Malwa, Gujarat, Bengal and Khandesh even though the rulers were Muslims. In a similar manner, Shahjahan annexed kingdom of Nagar (Maharashtra). Aurangzeb annexed kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda
Mughals were foreigners, Turks. Even the kings of Bijapur and Golconda considered Mughals as foreigners. Akbar was born in Amarkot, Sindh; Jahangir in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, Shahjahan in Lahore and Aurangzeb in Dohad, Gujarat. But they all still regarded themselves as Turks. They called themselves as Emperors of Hindusthan. They never called themselves as Hindusthanis. Addressing Indian Muslims they used to say, “ We are Turks, you are Hindusthanis.” Aurangzeb had used these words on several occasions. Shahjahan wasted millions of rupees to gain territories in Central Asia (Balkh and Badashakhan) because he considered that part to be his homeland!!
Manucci tells us : Education of Mughal Princes. Teachers are appointed to princes from the age of five. They are taught Turkish language as it is considered their original language.
Wave of migrants continued. The language of Indian Muslims was NOT Farsi (Persian) but Hindusthani - pre-runner of present day Urdu. Mughals carried out state affairs in Farsi. Until the fall of Mughals, Hindusthani remained a spoken language. During the Mughal period thousands of Turks from Central Asia continued to flood India. And in addition Iranis added to this influx [In 1540, after defeat by Shershah, Humayun travelled to Iran and sought help. King of Iran sent his troops with Humayun who regained power in Delhi in 1555]. So, once again, Afghans were in control for 15 years. After return of Humayun, however we had ministers, regional governors, military officers and men in positions of authorities as Turks or Iranis. [Sher Shah’s grandfather had come to India in search of employment in the time of Bahlol Lodi. Afghan king of Delhi What about the army of Sher Shah? He invited Afghan soldiers from every part of the country and gave them highest posts in the army. Afghan contingents often consisted of a single clan or tribe. The result was that their natural loyalty was to the tribal leaders rather than to sovereign. Ref - Mughal Rule in India by V D Mahajan, 1982 p46]
Noorjahan’s father Giasbeg came from Iran and became Jahangir’s Prime Minister. Noorjahan’s brother Asafkhan became Shahjahan’s Prime Minister, her niece Mumtaz-ul-zamani was wife of Shahjahan, another niece was wife of Muhammad Jafar, another Prime Minister, her third niece was married to Aurangzeb’s Prime Minister Asadkhan. At one time Noorjahan’s relations controlled half the Mughal territory.
[Siddi Jauhar, the general of Adilshah who attacked Shivaji in 1660 was an Abyssinian, or Ethiopian. In 1665 Aurangzeb sent Mirza Raja Jaisingh and Dilerkhan, a Pathan to attack Shivaji’s territory ] * In the court of Aurangzeb more than 75 percent of officers were either first or second generation Turks or Iranis. * First Nizam – Nizam-ul-mulk (1671-1748) came from Bukhara in Central Asia (Uzbekistan) along with his father Gaziuddin Firozjang in the days of Aurangzeb. He became Subhadar of the Deccan in 1713, just 6 years after death of Aurangzeb. Distance between Bukhara and Delhi is more than 1,000 miles (1,600 Km) * First man in the family of Nawabs of Lucknow, Sadatkhan came from Mashahad in East Iran. * Nawab of Bengal Alivardikhan (grandfather of Siraj-uddaula who was defeated at the battle of Plassey in 1757) came from Iran. * Forefathers of Sir Sayyad Ahmad khan came from Hirat in Afghanistan * Poet Galib’s grandfather was a Turk from Cenrtal Asia * Forefathers of Zakir Hussein, 3rd President of India were teachers who migrated into India from Afghanistan in 1712, but by that time the Mughal Empire was rapidly losing its power.
Arrogance We see a kind of arrogance in the writings of Sir Sayyad Ahmad, Poet Latif Hussein Hali, journalist Vahibuddin Salim. They say, “ We came to Hindusthan and we ruled.”. Vahibuddin Salim in his poem says - Oh Indians, racially we are different to you, but you honoured us, gave us everything, positions of power, respect and honour. How can we thank you ?
Garche hamame miltijulti teri komiyat na thee. Hamame atha Hindosita go buye Insinayat na thee.
Tune lekin apani akhonpar liya hamako bitha.
Apani akhanopar bithakar tune ijjat kee hame
Tune apane hukmdanopar fajeelat do hame
Tune rahat dee, famarat dee hame
Tune sarabat dee, hukumad dee, riyasad dee hame
Shukra kis kis miharbanika kare to ada
The family of poet Altaf Hussein Ali, stayed in India for hundreds of years. Still he echoes the same sentiments as above. Same applies to thoughts of Sir Sayyad Ahmad. They may be true in a few cases. But vast majority of Indian Muslims are descendents of converted Hindus. They cannot share above thoughts.
Misconceptions Thus the Indian Muslims had nothing to do with the foreign Muslim adventurers who came to rule and administer Indian provinces on behalf of Foreign Muslim rulers. They only had one thing in common – Islam. But Indian (native) Muslims never enjoyed positions of authority or power (military or civil). On the contrary even the Mughal Emperors despised Indian Muslims.
It would be absurd for Indian Christians to boast that they ruled India for hundred and fifty years during the British Raj or that they ruled over Goa for more than four centuries. In a similar manner it is absurd for Indian Muslims to boast that they ruled India for a thousand years. Rulers were Turks (not from present day Turkey). Their period can be called Turkish Era. In the histories of Iran, Russia and China, historians do use the term Turkish Era, but they never call it a Muslim Era. But in India the English caused havoc by calling the Turkish Era as Muslim Era. It also created an unjustified ego and ambition in the minds of Indian Muslims. Indian Muslims rejoiced at the atrocities of Muhammad of Ghazni and Aurangzeb and feel sorry for death of Afzulkhan at the hands of Shivaji. It is very important that the Indian Muslims need to be educated and awakened to historical reality. They need to be proud of Rana Pratap, Shivaji and the Kings of Vijayanagar Empire. They got no respect of positions of authority during the Turkish Era and have no reason to praise that era.
In this context one needs to study the uprising of Bangladeshi against the rule West Pakistanis (1971), Sindhis are trying to preserve their identity & mother tongue from onslaught of Punjabis and Urdu. Muslims in Sindh have now started to consider Hindu King Dahir as their ancestor and hate Muhammad bim kasim as an aggressor.
Another fantasy British rulers created yet another fantasy. They said that they took over rule from hands of Muslims. Nothing can be farther from truth. They had to wage bloody battles with Marathas, Sikhs and Gurkhas. But the fantasy created by the British echoes in the thoughts of likes of Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan.
British propaganda The British started to tell Hindus that if the British depart, Muslims would rule over them as in the past. To the Muslims they said, “ If we leave Hindus would revenge the past Muslim rule.” And thus they created a picture of straightforward, brave Muslim but timid and businessman Hindu who is only interested in making money and has no honour. One can sense this in histories written by English authors, their biographies, storey books and novels. For example, Mother India, Verdict on India.
This impasse must end. Muslims must feel part and parcel of Indian society. The distance between Hindus and Muslims must end. This work of enlightenment is difficult but not impossible. True history must be taught. Muslims share the same history as Hindus. That truth must be emphasised all the time. That will reduce the sense of alienation among Muslims.
Travellers’ accounts : Native Muslims under Alien Muslim Rulers It is a great fallacy that Indian Muslim ruled India before the Marathas and the British. Not only the Muslim rulers and ruling class was alien to India, but they also despised native Muslims
Tavernier, the French jewel merchant, famous for his sentence “ 20,000 men worked on Taj Mahal for 22 years.” Tells us – “ Moreover the chiefs are generally fugitives from Persia, people of no birth and of little heart, who attach themselves to those who give most. “ (Travels in India by J B Tavernier – Edited by Dr V Ball, 1989, Volume I p232)
In Volume II pages 176-177 he says – “ I have elsewhere remarked that of the native Muhammadan subjects of the Great Mogul there are but few in position of command; this is the cause why many Persians go to seek fortune in India. Being clever they are successful in finding means to advance themselves in (the profession) of arms, so that in the Empire of the Great Mogol, as well as, in the kingdom of Golconda and Bijapur, the Persians are in possession of the highest posts. ….”
Bernier, the French doctor, who stayed at Aurangzeb’s court for eight years (1658-1665) tells us – “ The majority of his (Great Mogol’s) courtiers are Persians. ….Moreover, the Great Mogol is a foreigner in Hindoustan …. The court itself does now consist as originally, of real Mogols, but a medley of Usbecks, Persians, Arabs and Turks or descendents from all these people: known as I said before, by the general appellation of Mogols. It should be added however that children of third and fourth generation, who have the brown complexion, and the languid manner of this country of their nativity are held in much less respect than new comers, and are seldom invested with official situations; they consider themselves happy, if permitted to serve as private soldiers in the infantry or cavalry. (So what chance did the Indian Muslims have?) If the Omrah’s life were sufficiently prolonged he may obtain the advancement of his children by royal favour, particularly if their persons were well formed, and their complexions sufficiently fair to enable them to pass for genuine Mogols….. “ (Travels in Mughal Empire by F Bernier edited by V Smith 1914 pp 209-212)
Other sources confirm our findings
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1977 edition) tells us – Akbar’s administration (1556 to 1605) The army – Mostly foreign in personnel, Akbar’s army was originally composed of Mogols, Persians, Turks, Uzbeks and Afghans (Where were the native Indian Muslims?)
[Macropaedia Volume 9 p381]
Historian Sir Yadunath Sarkar tells us - * Gias Beg a Persian came to India in the last days of Akbar. His daughter Mehrunnisa (Nur Jahan) was married to Jahangir. His son Asaf khan became Prime Minister of Jahangir and continued in that position under Shahjahan. His second son Itiquad Khan was Subedar of Delhi in 1633.
Asaf Khan’s son Shaista Khan (whose fingers were cut in 1663 during a daring attack by Shivaji) held various high offices under Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Shaista Khan’s son Buzurg Ummed Khan was Subedar of Bihar (1683 to 1692)
* Mir Shihabuddin was one of high generals of Aurangzeb. He came from Samarkand to seek his fortune at the court of Delhi – October 1669.
* Mirza Miuza a Persian of Mashahad married to a sister of Aurangzeb’s wife. He was created Musai Khan and Diwan of the Pay Office in September 1688 and Divan of Deccan in June 1689.
* Muhammad Amu Khan came to India from Bukhara in 1687. He rose to the position of Sadr in 1698, Chin Bahadur in 1706 and a Commander of 4,000 horse in 1707.
* Mir Jumla was a similar adventurer. He became Prime Minister of Golconda. Later he betrayed the King of Golconda and joined the Mughals in last days of Shahjahan. His son Muhammad Amin Khan Hafiz was made Mir Bakshi (Chief of all cavalry) by Aurangzeb; and was later made Governor of Gujarat 1672-1682.
(Anecdotes of Aurangzeb and Historical Essays by Yadunath Sarkar, published by M C Sarkar and sons 1912)
* While describing some of Auragnzeb’s campaigns in the Deccan (1682-1707), Mr Pagdi tells us - Siege of Vishalgarh Aurangzeb’s knights were - Matlabkhan – a relation of Aurangzeb’s wife Dilrasbanu Muhammad Amin Khan – a Turk of 3,000 horse. He came to India from Bukhara in 1686. His cousin Gaziuddin Phirozjung was a General of the Mughals. Tarbiyatkhan, a relation of Dilrasbanu Fatehullakhan Khosti, a Turk from Badkhshan in Central Asia (Diwali isue of Lokasatta, 1977)
* Mr Pagdi visited the battlefield of Panipat in 1974. Writing on that occasion he tells us - Mughals and Pathans were bitter enemies. However, Aurangzeb went south to crush the Marathas and had to stay there for a long time (1682-1707). Marathas ultimately triumphed. But as a result there was no check on activities of Pathans who in thousands settled in Doab (vast area between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna). This gave rise to various lords, such as Hafiz Rahmatkhan of Baireley, Indekhan of Pilibhit, Ali Mahammad Khan, Mahammad Bangash of Farukhabad, and most dangerous of all Najibkhan of Najibgad. It was the last one who invited Ahmadshah Abdalli of Kabul to invade Delhi. This eventually led to battle of Panipat in 1761. Marathas supported the Nawab of Oudh and Shujauddaula of Lucknow. Maratha General Sadashivrao Bhau wrote, “ These Pathans despise Indian Muslims more than they despise Hindus.” ( Sobat weekly, 14 June 1977 )
Niccolao Manucci, the Italian adventurer who lived in India during 1653 to 1708 tells us – Administration of Mughals Some Muslims communities -. Pathans. They live beyond Sindhu river (i.e. on the west or north). Mughals are cautions about Pathans who believe that they were once rulers in Delhi. Therefore Mughals and Pathans do not get on with each other and do not intermarry. Of course there are divisions among Pathans too.
In his book New History of the Marathas, Historian Mr Sardesai tells us - * Nizam Ali’s minister Ghulam Saiyad Khan, called Mushir-ul-mulk came from Persia and secured service under Salabat Jang (Nizam’s Chief Minister) around 1754 and became the first minister in 1775. (Vol III pp 281-288) * Aliwardi Khan, a Turk came to India in 1726 became principal military officer and was awarded the title Mahabat Jang by the Mughal Emperor. * Mir Habib was a clever Persian of Shiraz. He rose to deputy governorship of Orissa (c 1740) ( Vol II p221)
Govindrao Kale, Peshwa’s envoy at the court of Nizam wrote to Nana Fadnavis in 1793, “ This land from beyond Attock (near Rawalpindi) to the seas in the south (Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean) is land of Hindus and NOT of Turks. [ Hindunche sthan, not Turukstahan ]” [Ref -Hindutva by Veer Savarkar pp 68/69]
Thus the Marathas were fighting against the Turks who were the foreigner rulers, not native Indian Muslims.
Examples of disastrous consequences This falsified history has affected the psyche of both Hindus and Muslims. Hindus were infested with inferiority complex whereas Muslims were made arrogant with false pride of their past. Muhammad Ali Jinnah & Poet Iqbal had Hindu grandfathers. Gandhi himself had pointed out in 1940 that Sir Sikandar Hiyat Khan’s forefathers were Hindu Brahmins. Fazul Huq, the Chief Minister of Bengal had Hindu forefathers. How could they all of a sudden start to say that, they, the Muslims are different from Hindus, have their own history, culture, values, language and identity?? No one asked this question. Indian politicians were just interested to make concessions to Muslims. Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, after cessation of Bangladesh in December 1971 had a Hindu mother. But her conversion to Islam put fantastic ideas into head of Bhutto and he said that he would wage a war with India for a thousand years.
Pagdi tells of his own experience. He was appearing for examination for entry into land revenue service under the Nizam in 1933. He came across a Muslim named Abu Turab. Pagdi did favour to him and by copying Pagdi’s paper Abu Turab passed. They met again a few years later. Abu Turab was transferred to Marathawada ( a Marathi speaking area). Pagdi said, “ You better learn some Marathi to make your life easy and understand the issues you have to deal with, in the same way as we learn Urdu and Farsee.” Abu Turab replied, “ There is no need for we (Muslims) to learn your mother tongue. It is you (Hindus) who need to understand us (Muslims).” In 1963 Pagdi wrote, “ So arrogant were the remarks of Abu Tarab that even after 25 years I cannot forget them. That reminds me of the cinema Benhur. Benhur was Jew and his childhood friend named Masala, a Roman was sent to Palestine as Governor. Welcoming Masala, Benhur said, “ It is good that you are appointed as Governor, I welcome you as someone who knows the Jews well.” Masala replied, “ What is the necessity of we Romans to know the Jews? It is they (Jews) who need to understand us.” Abu Tarab and Muslims in Hyderabad harboured and expressed same arrogance. (Vida rangato asa, by Pagdi. 1963, pp65/66 )
Dr B R Ambedkar provides two examples in his book Thoughts on Pakistan published in 1946 (pp 303/304). In a manifesto on Hindu-Muslim relations issued in 1928 Khwaja Hasan Nazami declared : “ Musalmans are separate from Hindus; they cannot unite with the Hindus. After bloody wars the Musalmans conquered India, and the English took India from them. The Musalmans are one united nation and they alone will be masters of India. They will never give up their individuality. They have ruled India for Hundreds of years, and hence they have a prescriptive right over the country. The Hindus are a minor community in the world. They are never free from internecine quarrels; they believe in Gandhi and worship the cow; they are polluted by taking other people’s water. The Hindus do not care for self-government; they squabble. What capacity have they for ruling over men? The Musalmans did rule, and the Musulmans will rule.” (Times of India 14 March 1928)
Far from rendering obedience to Hindus, the Muslims seem to be ready to try conclusions with the Hindus again. In 1926 there arose a controversy as to who really won the third battle of Panipat, fought in 1761. It was contended for the Muslims that it was a great victory for them because Ahmad Shah Abdalli had 1 lakh of soldiers while the Mahrattas had 4 to 6 lakhs. The Hindus replied that a victory to them – a victory to the vanquished – because it stemmed the tide of Muslim invasions. The Muslims were not prepared to admit defeat at the hands of Hindus and claimed that they will always prove superior to the Hindus. To prove the eternal superiority of Muslims over Hindus it was proposed by one Maulana Akbar Shah Khan of Najibabad in all seriousness, that the Hindus and Muslims should fight, under test conditions, fourth battle on the same fateful plain of Panipat. The Maulana accordingly issued a challenge to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in the following terms :
“ If you Malaviyaji, are making efforts to falsify the result at Panipat, I shall show you an easy and excellent way (of testing it). Use your well-known influence and induce the British Government to permit the fourth battle of Panipat to be fought without hindrance from the authorities. I am ready to provide … a comparative test of the valour and fighting spirit of Hindus and the Musalmans. … As there are seven crores of Muslims in India, I shall arrive on a fixed date on the plain of Panipat with 700 Musalmans representing the seven crores of Muslims in India and as there are 22 crores of Hindus I allow you to come with 2,200 Hindus. The proper thing is not to use cannons, machineguns or bombs; only swords and javelins and spears, bows and arrows and daggers should be used. If you cannot accept the post of generalissimo of the Hindu host, you may give it to any descendents of Sadashivarao or Vishwasrao so that their scions may have an opportunity to avenge the defeat of their ancestors in 1761. But any way do come as a spectator; for on seeing the result of this battle you will have to change your views, and I hope there will be end of the present discord and fighting in the country. …. In conclusion I beg to add that among the 700 men that I shall bring there will be no Pathans of Afghans as you are mortally afraid of them. So, I shall bring with me only Indian Musalmans of good family who are staunch adherents of Shariat.” (Times of India 20 June 1926)
Ambedkar was so obsessed with anti-Hindu phobia that he took for granted the Muslim boasts. What a pity that his own caste Mahars, though formerly treated as untouchables, are warriors and the Indian Army even had a Mahar Regiment. 2,200 Mahars (who are also covered by the term Marhatta) could have easily called bluff of Muslims. But Ambedkar did not do that. The much-publicised Muslim riot of 1929 was another example. Before the riot, Muslims boasted that one Muslim is superior to 29 Hindus, and that too ordinary Indian Muslim. A Pathan would easily overpower 100 Hindus. And what happened? At the very outset it was Pathans who were running away and pleading that the riot should stop!!
As for the battle of Panipat, one should only remember that just four days after the battle, the victorious Ahmad Shah Abdalli sent a letter to the Maratha Peshwa Balaji Bajirao, asking for a re-conciliation!! Why would a victor do that? The answer is simple. He knew at heart that Marathas would seek revenge and were quite capable of avenging their defeat. A few months after the battle Balaji Bajirao died and when his 16 year old son Madhavrao became a Peshwa, same Ahmad Shah Abdalli paid his respects and sent presents to Madhavrao. Ambedkar easily forgets this history, may be because he too only read the history as written by English. But we have to remember that after the battle of Panipat, Abdalli himself had expressed astonishment at bravery of Marathas and admitted that such a battle was unprecedented..
Where do we go from here? In 1977 Setu Madhavrao Pagdi was invited to attend Shivajayanti (birthday of Shivaji) function in Bhivandi, which has a large Muslim population. Muslims were invited for the celebrations and did attend. Pagdi explained the theme of this article. The reaction of Muslims was encouraging. After his lecture Pagdi took tea with Mr Gafud Said, a well-known resident. He said, “ It would have been much better if such lectures had taken places in the past.” Pagdi therefore remarked, “ Enlightenment on this subject is difficult, but possible. Yes, it can be done.”
We do not know if Pagdi delivered series of lectures, but he had shown the way.
Ambedkar Dr B R Thoughts on Pakistan, 1946
Bernier F Travels in Mughal Empire edited by V Smith 1914
Encyclopaedia Britannica 1977
Mahajan V D Mughal Rule in India, 1982
Sardesai New History of Marathas, 1946
Sarkar, Sir Yadunath Anecdotes of Aurangzeb and Historical Essays, published by M C Sarkar and sons 1912
Savarkar V D Hindutva 1926
Tavernier J B Travels in India – Edited by Dr V Ball, 1889
ITALIAN Manucci Niccolao, Storia Do Mogor
MARATHI Pagdi, Setumadhavrao, Amhala khotach itihas shikaval jato ka? (Kirloskar magazine, Nov 1974) Vida rangato asa, 1963, Ashi hee Shivajayanti (Sobat weekly 13 May 1977) Panipatachi mati (Sobat weekly, 14 June 1977) Vishalgadacha vedha (Diwali isue of Lokasatta, 1977)
Purandare B M Raja Shivachhatrapati (in Marathi)
Prepared by Dr V S Godbole on 27 January 2004.