Monday, March 15, 2010

The multiple facets of Islams in India

Human beings are complex entities. Anything involving them is complicated. When there are millions of them — as in the case of In the Name of Allah: Understanding Islam and Indian History, which considers the way Islam spread and gained sustenance in Indian society and polity — the complications riddle every aspect of the discourse.

In the preface, Raizuddin Aquil, who has written a tome on a similar subject, Sufism, Culture, and Politics: Afghans and Islam in Medieval North India, states that “the aim of the project was to move away from the rather constricted framework of the agenda-driven conventional history of medieval India to think of the larger questions on Islam and medieval Indian history…”

He attributes the spread of Islam in India to “cultural accretion over centuries and not to the use of political power for forced conversion” and brings into dispute the contention that mostly lower-caste Hindus converted to Islam. The demolition of Hindu temples to promote the cause of Islam is also questioned on the premise that it was more an act of demonstrating political/military than religious superiority. This is an important distinction and could serve as a guiding light in view of the popular — made more so by the right-wing forces — perception in India that the aggressive spread of Islam was paramount to the designs of Islamic reign in India. Nevertheless, the counter-view offered by the author needs to be bolstered with relevant proofs.

Full report here Express Buzz

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