Happy Republic Day! Its been a while since I last blogged. Nothing extraordinary happened in that time expect that I turned 'Vegetarian' in the true sense of the word by giving up Dairy products. I will live purely on Vegetation from now. No more Animal fat!
I have been reading Indian history as told by Romila Thapar, John Keay, Kalki and Naipaul. With a research paper on Vijayanagar also thrown in. The emphasis apparently on understanding the effects of 'Muslim Invasion' of India. Or was it Afghan invasion?
On a CNN-IBN debate on the bewildering 'Saddam spectacle' last week in Bangalore, someone quipped "how can this happen in Bangalore? after all Karnataka Muslims are not UP Muslims". This unfortunate insinuation about Uttar Pradesh Muslims remembered me Thapar's views on Muslim immigration to India.
She makes a distinction between Mappila/Bohra Muslims etc and the north Indian Muslims. I reckon these 'other Muslims' can be wildly generalized to be those in Gujarat, Konkan, Malabar and Coromandel coasts who speak native tongues instead of Urdu. These coasts had extensive maritime relations with Arabia several centuries before Islam was even born.
Thapar suggests that these Arabian trade settlers who had no political motives were far more willing to adjust to Indian conditions than the latter day Afghani invaders who caused enormous damage to India's culture, economy and religion.
Kalki makes the characters in 'Ponniyin Selvan' speak highly of the 'arabian religion' which gave women the right to divorce while condemning the 'thulukars' invading from bharat's northwest as despicable barbarians!
Curiously an Outlook article last week said that the Bohra Muslims in Gujarat had apparently kissed and made up with Narendra Modi! There was even talk of tension in the riot victim camps because of the Urdu education provided there by Muslim NGOs instead of Gujarati.
Now, what am I suggesting by quoting all these random information? What would have been the image of Indian Muslims or even Muslims across the world had Islam been introduced in North India by Arabian and Persian traders instead of being forced by Afghani invaders?
What if north Indians didn't get the taste of the religion practiced by plunderers, nomads and slave kings. For all his 'greatness' Akbar was illiterate! Is it a mere coincidence that the Islam which the world loves to hate is hiding in Waziristan - the cradle of Indian Islam?!
Would the partition of the subcontinent have happened? Would I have just been a Tamil or Dravidian instead of being an Indian? Would I be living in a First World country having the finest Musalmaan minority instead of a third world country splintered by religion?
Let me stop my own theories here. Just imagine Prithiviraj stoppping Ghori for the second time. The possibilities are (were) endless.