ChAPTER 12 -- Part 6: Abbasid Decline and the Spread of
The Hindu rulers reconquested parts of the lower Indus valley.
The Turkish slave dynasty in Afghanistan, legendary wealth of the subcontinent and zeal to spread the Muslim faith led to the invasions of northern India by Mahmud.
He defeated one confederation that had sacked one of the wealthiest Hindu princes, and then drove deeper and deeper into the subcontinent in the quest of hindu temples in northern ever richer temples to loot.
The raids mounted by Mahmud of Ghazni and his successors gave way in the last decades of aggression and intolerance.
In the 12th century, campaigns were waged to seize political control in north India.
After barely surviving several severe defeats at the hands of Hindu rulers, Muhammad put together a group of people who ruled small mountain and began control of Afghanistan.
In the following years, Muhammad's conquests were extended along the Gangetic plain as a process of conquest to establish far as Bengal and into west and central India.
The capital of the new Muslim empire was at Delhi along the Jumna River.
A succession of dynasties ruled the north and central India for the next 300 years.
They fought India.
Although the Muslims fought their way into India, their interaction with the indigenous peoples soon came to be dominated by accommodation and peaceful exchanges.
Muslim communities developed in different parts of the world when the north was ruled by dynasties.
The largest of these were in Bengal to the east and in the northwestern part of India, where most of the Muslim people who migrated into India did so.
Most of the converts were not forcibly won.
Merchants played a growing role in both coastal and inland trade, but were the main carriers of the new faith.
Both style and message were shared by the latter.
Belief in the Sufis' healing powers increased their stature.
The mosques and schools were often centers of regional power.
Sufis organized their devotees in militias to fight off bandits, oversaw the clearing of forests for farming, and welcomed low-caste and outcaste Hindu groups into Islam.
The tombs of Sufi mystics became objects of veneration for Hindus and Buddhists after their deaths.
The majority of the Muslims in India are from specific regions and social groups.
Surprisingly small numbers of converts were found in the centers of Muslim political power, a fact that suggests the very limited importance of forced conversions.
The majority of Indians who converted to Islam were from low caste groups.
In areas such as western India and Bengal, where Buddhism had survived as a popular religion until the Muslim invasions, eschatological rituals and corrupt practices had debased Buddhist teachings, the monastic orders were undermined.
The decline was accelerated by Muslim raids on Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Local congregations went further into orgies and experiments with magic without supervision.
The Buddha's social concerns and religious message were opposed by all of these trends.
The new religion the Muslim invaders carried into the sub continent was no match for Indian Buddhism.
The Sufi mystics had the charisma and organizing skills of those who were spreading the new faith.
The majority of Indians who converted to Islam were Buddhists.
Untouchables and low-caste Hindus, as well as tribal peoples who were animists worshiping spirits found in the natural world, were attracted to the more equitable social arrangements promoted by the new faith.
Group conversions were necessary because those who remained in the Hindu caste system would have little to do with those who had changed religions.
The Muslim rulers levied a head tax on unbelievers, so some Hindus or Buddhists decided to convert.
Intermarriage between local peoples and Muslim migrants was the reason for them.
The Islamic community in the subcon tinent is large.
In times of crisis in central Asia, this was true.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, theTurkic, Persian, and Afghan peoples retreated to India in the face of theTimurid conquests, which are examined in detail in Chapter 19.
Islam did not make much of a difference on the Hindu population as a whole.
Despite military reverses and Muslim political rule over large areas of the subcontinent, high-caste Hindus saw the invaders as the bearers of an upstart religion.
The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, and no religion like theirs, which is why Al-Biruni complained openly about the Indian disdain for the newcomers.
They are self-conceited and stolid.
Many Hindus were willing to take positions as administrators in Muslim overlords or as soldiers in their armies in order to trade with Muslim merchants.
They were not close to their conquerors.
There were separate living quarters for Muslims.
Sexual liaisons between members of high-caste groups and Muslims were very rare.
The Hindus were convinced that the Muslims would be absorbed by the superior religions and more sophisticated cultures of India during the early centuries of the Muslim influx.
There were many signs pointing to that outcome.
The armies of the Mus lim rulers were staffed by Hindus.
Muslim princes adopted Hindu-inspired styles and practices that were contrary to the Qur'an.
Some Muslim rulers have declared themselves to be of divine descent, and others have decorated their coins with Hindu images such as the bull associated with Shiva.