Three articles cover India: Part I concentrates on slavery while parts J and K examine the Islamic jihad against India not as a list of battles but as a record of the need by pious Muslims to exterminate idolatry and polytheism and make India ‘Muslim’ as expressed in their own memoirs and the writings of Muslim historians.
The Muslim conquest of India was probably the bloodiest in history:
Slavery: Initially ‘India’ included part of today’s Pakistan (Sindh), Bangladesh/Bengal and Kashmir. Hinduism and Buddhism flourished in Afghanistan pre the Islamic takeover (7th century). In the 16th century Afghanistan was divided between the Muslim Mogul (Mughal) Empire of India and the Safavids of Persia.
Often actual numbers aren’t given, just comments like ‘countless captives/slaves,’ or ‘all the women and children were taken.’ Where numbers are recorded, they are terrifying. Along with people, the Muslims took everything they could—coins, jewels, cloths, clothes, furniture, idols, animals, grain etc or destroyed it.
Muslim rulers were foreigners. Until the 13th century, most slaves were sent out of India but following the Sultanate of Delhi (1206) they were retained to work for the sultanate, sold in India or sent elsewhere. Slaves from elsewhere were imported and Muslim armies were composed of a wide array of foreign slave groups ‘converted’ to Islam and ‘Hindus’ and Indian ‘converts.’
Slaves were the promised booty from allah and obtaining them was a strong motivation for jihad.
Many raids taking slaves were carried out under various caliphs in the 8th and 9th century.
The Ghaznivids-Turks from Ghazni, Afghanistan (997-1206) who subdued the Punjab.
From 17 raids (997-1030) Sultan Muhmud Ghazni (Turk from Afghanistan, 997-1030) sent hundreds of thousands of slaves to Ghanzi (Afghanistan) resulting in a loss of about 2 million people via slaughter or enslavement and sale outside India (Khan p 315). Chroniclers (eg Utbi, the sultan’s secretary) provide some numbers eg -from Thanesar, the Muslim army brought 200,000 captives back to Ghazni (Afghanistan). In 1019, 53,000 were taken. At one time the caliph’s 1/5th share was 150,000 suggesting 750,000 captives. 500,000 were taken in one campaign (at Waihind)(Lal [c] p 551) Mahmud’s secretary al-Utbi records:
The Gaurivid invasion: The Delhi Sultanate 1206-1526) Turks who conquered northwestern India, and the Gangetic valley.
1)Under the Ghaurivid rulers (Turks) eg Muhammad Ghauri (Afghani) and his military commander then ruler, Qutbuddin Aibak (r1206-1210), the Delhi sultanate was set up. Mass beheadings, enslavements, forced conversions, plunder and the destruction of temples continued. Slaves were incredibly plentiful. In 1195, Aibak took 20,000 slaves from Raja Bhim and 50,000 at Kalinjar (1202) (Lal [c] p 536).
2) Sultan Iltutmish (d 1236) continued to enslave and force Islam onto slaves (Lal [c] p 538). The ‘slave’ commander Ulugh Khan Balban (1250s-1260s) took so many captives they ‘couldn’t be counted.’ A chronicler records –
Throughout ‘Hindustan’ towns and villages were raided, people enslaved in droves. Hindus returned to villages decimated by fire and sword but the Turkish Muslim armies returned (Lal [c] p 539). Slaves were lost forever!
3) Rule by the Kiljis (1290-1320) and Tughlaqs (1320- 1413).
Through the 13/14th century ruled by the Khilji (Khaljis) and Tughlaq’s, slavery grew as Islam spread. Thousands of slaves were sold at a low price everyday (Khan p 280). Alauddin Khilji’s (r 1296-1316) capture of slaves was stupendous and he shackled, chained and humiliated slaves (Lal [c] p 540). In the sack of Somnath alone he:
Women practised Jauhar (burning or killing oneself to avoid enslavement and rape) and sati.
The Sufi Amir Khusrau notes “the Turks, whenever they please, can seize, buy or sell any Hindu” (Lal [c] p 541)
The slave markets had a continuous supply of slaves eg Delhi. A Hindu chronicle of the end of the 13th/early 14th century notes violent campaigns across extensive areas which resulted in death or enslavement of perhaps millions of Hindus. It reports instructions to Turkish Muslim invaders (ie to Gori Malik in the sack of Bhinmal) to spread terror, cut down the Brahmanas, and kill cows. The Turks enslaved, ransacked and burnt (Bostom p 643-4)
Muhammad Tughlaq’s (r 1325-1351) enslavement of others outstripped Alauddin Khilji.
Shams Siraj Afif, a contemporary historian notes: “slaves became too numerous.” “The
Traveller throughout India, Ibn Battuta noted that villages after villages were deserted (Lal [c] p 544).
Slave trading centres for Indian slaves outside India were Khurasan, Ghazni, Samarkhand (Central Asia) and Kabul and Kandahar. Caravans also arrived there from Istanbul, Iraq, and China..(Khan p 318). Foreign slaves were also bought by ‘Indian’ Muslims as they were less likely to cause uprisings. Even in Akbar’s court (1556-1605), where some Hindus were employed, most were foreign (Khan p 318).
Timur/Tamerlane 1398/99. Destroyed the Delhi sultanate:
A raid by pious Timurlane (Amir Timur –a Turkic/Mogul from Central Asia) in 1398/99 saw 100,000 slaves slaughtered in cold-blood before he attacked Delhi and possibly 200,000-250,000 (or more) plus craftsmen enslaved and taken out of India (to Samarkand, Central Asia).(Khan p 282, Lal [c] p 544). In his memoirs on the attack on Delhi, Timur claims his 15,000 Turks EACH “secured from 50 to 100 prisoners......there was no man with less than 20” and that was on just one day, the 17th! “The other booty was immense”...”women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all count.” The areas of Delhi occupied by Muslims weren’t sacked. The slaughter, mass enslavement and plunder continued as he headed towards his home Samarkand, Central Asia. (Timur’s memoirs, Bostom p 648).
The Sayyid and Lodi dynasties (1400-1525)- returning the Delhi sultanate
Following Timur’s destruction of Turkish Muslim rule in Delhi, he installed others that paid tribute to him till 1506.
Then the Lodi Sultans (1451-1526) restored the sultanate. Nothing changed for the Hindus. Enslavement and slaughter by Sultan Bahlul depopulated Nimsar. Sikandar Lodi repeated this in Rewa and Gwaloir (Khan p 282).
Mughal rule 1526-1707.
1) Jahiruddin Shah Babur (1483-1530) defeated Lodi. Babur, known for his quotes from the Koran, jihad and piles of heads also enslaved women and children (Khan p 282-3, Lal[b] p 438-459). Leadership contests ensued.
2) Akbar the great (1556-1605) –Babur’s grandson
Raiding a village without reason and enslaving the inhabitants became common and, although Akbar (1556-1605) tried to stop this practice, it continued unabated. Most parts of India came under Akbar’s control. Illiterate Akbar is considered tolerant and many of his acts are contrary to Islam eg he rejected Islam, allowed others into his court and attempted to synthesize a new composite religion called Din-i-Ilahi –religion of god (Khan p 152). He adopted Hindu and Zoroastrian festivals and practices (Trifkovic p 112). He stopped the jizya though other taxes remained. Yet in many ways he remained ‘Islamic.’ While declaring independence from foreign Islamic overlordship he still sent ‘gifts’ to Mecca, Medina and elsewhere (Khan p 163). He owned slaves including thousands of women. He hated ‘paganism.’ (Note in his memoirs –‘Barburnama- Sultan Babur [1483-1530] noted that most of Hindustan’s inhabitants were pagans; “they call a pagan a Hindu”!! Bostom p 80). Thousands of peasants (30,000)(lower caste Hindus) in Chittor who took up arms alongside their Rajput rulers (8,000 Rajputs) were put to the sword or enslaved and their property taken. (Khan p 88, 113, Trifkovic p 112)
While Akbar supposedly attempted to halt mass slavery in battle, it vigorously continued under his commanders. Chroniclers and reports record that raiding villages without justification and enslaving people was fashionable. (Khan p 283). Children were stolen, kidnapped and purchased then males were castrated (Islam’s famous eunuch slavery), particularly in Bengal. Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, one of Akbar’s generals boasted,
3) Jahangir (1605-27CE Akbar’s son) wrote that 500,000-600,000 people were slaughtered during the combined rule of his father –Akbar- and his own!!! (Lal [b] p 459, Khan p 200). In 1619-20 alone he sent 200,000 Indian slaves to Iran for sale. Children were castrated and given as slaves to pay tax collectors (Khan 285)
4) Shah Jahan (1628-58, Akbar’s grandson) The condition of Hindu peasants became unbearable—adults and children were enslaved to pay taxes (Khan p 283-4). Yet you will read of this as the Mughal period’s greatest prosperity—while non-Muslim Indians were reduced to destitution. Shah Jahan’s religious violence; destruction of Hindu and Christian sites; offer of death or Islam to 4,000 at Agra while young females were sent to harems; slaughter of 10,000 at Hugh and INCEST with his daughters is reported in part K and Trifkovic p 112. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal to his 3rd wife who died bearing her 14th child in 19 years! (What a romantic!!)
Slaves from foreign nations also flowed into India –eg Sultan Aurangzeb purchased Tatar and Uzbek women as harem guards (war-like) and European women as sex–slaves .(Khan 317)
5) Aurangzeb (Akbar’s great grandson, r 1658-1707) aimed to conquer, enslave or convert all of India (Khan p 104). He revived Islam. Temples and schools were destroyed and infidels slaughtered. Islam’s dhimmitude laws were applied with a vengence. (Khan p 98). Hindus revolted against paying the jizyah. In a campaign against the Rajputs, his generals
“employed themselves in laying waste to the country, destroying temples and buildings, cutting down fruit trees, and making prisoners of the women and children of the infidels ..” (Sookdheo p 265 –complies with jihad laws eg Reliance of the Traveller; Laws o9.13 – enslave women and children and o9.15 p 604 –OK to cut down trees and destroy buildings ).
A French Physician living in India noted that children “were carried away as slaves” to pay taxes (Khan p 284)
Slavery continued from within India and outside even though the British, who halted slavery, had begun to enter India in the 18th century:
In 1713-1719: Mughal Furrukhsiyar, attacked the Sikh fortress of Gurdaspur in Punjab, killing thousands and sending others in collars and chains to the emperor (Sookdheo p 265)
In 1738, Nadir Shah of Iran invaded India, slaughtered 200,000, plundered and enslaved, returning home with thousands of slaves, including a few thousand beautiful girls and immense treasure (Khan p 104, p 199).
Afghani, Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked 3 times (1757, 1760, 1761) around Mattra, Delhi, Luni, winning the Third Battle of the Panipat against the resistant Marathas in 1761. He slaughtered hundreds of thousands, beheaded and burnt people alive and looted, all in accordance with Islam. Massacres occurred in cold blood after the battle. Severed heads were piled up and people enslaved -22,000 in one case. Victims were humiliated, abused and suffered atrocities. His prisoners were deprived of food and drink and paraded in long lines before being beheaded . (Khan p 104, Bostom p 657).
Islamic violence and enslavement of others continued to the end. The last independent Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), a nationalist hero for standing up to the British, killed 10,000 Hindus and Christians and enslaved 7000 in his wars against Travancore. The enslaved were forced into Islam. A Muslim chronicler notes 70,000 Coorgis were forced into Islam. (Khan p 200)
The East India company passed the Indian slavery Act V banning slavery in 1843—at the time slavery existed in Bengal, Madras, Bombay (Khan p 335)
In reality there were continued attacks, abductions and rapes by Muslims. During the partition of India into India and Pakistan 1947, (a Muslim land grab), Muslims kidnapped hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Sikh women and married them to Muslims. In November 1947, Muslim Pathan raiders enslaved Hindu and Sikh girls in Kashmir and sold them in Pakistan markets (Jhelum) (Khan p 284). Women committed Jauhar—jumping into fires, jumping into a well, or taking poison in preference to abduction, slavery and rape. (Khan p 252). Non-Muslims fled to ‘India’. In an ‘ethnic/religious’ cleansing attempt, Muslims slaughtered, forcibly converted and enslaved particularly in the area that would become and became Pakistan in an effort to create a pure Islamic state free of polluting others. Pakistan means ‘land of the pure’ and of course, only Muslims are pure! (see detail, part K)
Today in Pakistan and Bangladesh (separated from Pakistan in 1971, formerly East Pakistan/East Bengal), Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian girls etc are abducted, raped and forced into Islam. Literally millions of non-Muslims have fled to India.