BOOK REVIEW: "Hindu Temples - What Happened To Them" (Vol. I)
HINDU TEMPLES --What Happened to Them (Vol. I)
(A Preliminary Survey) by Arun Shourie, Harsh Narain, Jay Dubashi, Ram
Swarup and Sita Ram Goel. A Voice of India Publication. Hardcover, pp.
191+viii. US Price inclusive of postage and handling:$10.00.
The movement for the restoration of the Ramajanmabhumi Temple at
Ayodhya has brought to the fore a suppressed chapter of India's history,
namely, the large-scale destruction of temples by the Islamized invaders.
This chapter is by no means closed. The Appendix to this book provides
details of many temples destroyed by Moslems all over Bangladesh as
recently as October-November, 1989.Currently, temples, or whatever had
remained of them, are meeting a similar fate in the Kashmir valley.
This chapter, however, though significant, was only a part of the
Moslem behavior pattern as recorded by Moslem historians of medieval
India. The other parts were:
(1) mass slaughter of people not only during war but also after the
armies of Islam had emerged victorious;
(2) capture of large numbers of non-combatant men, women and
children as booty and their sale as slaves all over the Islamic
(3) forcible conversion to Islam of people who were in no position
(4) reduction to the status of "zimmis" or non-citizens of all
those who could not be converted and imposition of inhuman
disabilities on them;
(5) emasculation of the "zimmis" by preventing them from possessing
(6) impoverishment of the "zimmis" through heavy discriminatory
taxes and misappropriation of a major part of what the peasants
(7) ruination of the native and national culture of the "zimmis" by
suppressing and holding in contempt all its institutions and
Nor is this behavior pattern a thing of the past; it persisted
even after the Moslem rule was over. The Moslem revivalist movements in
the nineteenth century, particularly in Bengal, tried to repeat, as far as
they could, the performance of the medieval Moslem swordsmen and sultans.
More recently, after the Islamic state of Pakistan was carved out,
Hindus have been forced to leave their ancestral homes, en masse from its
western wing and in a continuous stream of refugees from its eastern wing,
now an independent Islamic state of Bangladesh that came into being with
the help of India. Hindu temples and other cultural institutions have more
or less disappeared from Pakistan, while they continue to be under
constant attack in Bangladesh.
How to understand this behavior pattern so persistently followed
over a thousand years under very different conditions and so consistent in
its expression? What is its deeper ideological source?
It is rooted in Islam's religious teachings, its theology and its
religious laws; it derives from its peculiar conception of momins and
kafirs, from its doctrines of Jihad, darul Islam and dar-ul-harb, and from
what it regards as the duty of a Moslem state. Hindu India is called upon
to make a deeper study of Islam than it has hitherto done. It can neglect
this task at its own peril.
The present volume makes no pretence of presenting such a study,
but by choice restricts itself mainly to the study of Hindu temples
destroyed and desecrated and converted into mosques and khanqahs.
The second volume, with the subtitle 'The Islamic Evidence' by
Sita Ram Goel, has already appeared in the Indian market and several
copies are on order for our readers in the US) It provides a list of
around 2,000 Moslem monuments which stand on the sites of deliberately
demolished temples or in the construction of which temple materials have
been used. Here and there, it also mentions other theological props and
concomitants of the iconoclastic ideology. In the book Ayodhya retains its
importance, but it does not occupy the center of discussion. In dealing
with its subject, it exercises complete fidelity to truth; unlike
secularist and Marxist writers, it does not believe in re-writing and
fabricating history. Its aim is to raise the informational level of our
people and to make them better aware of the more persistent ideological
forces at work.
India's historical study cannot be limited only in the learning
and memorizing the names of kings and dates of battles; the backbone of
Indian history lies in our heritage symbolized by our temples, vihars and
stupas, granthagars or libraries, our ancient customs and rites which have
deep meanings. "HINDU TEMPLES -- What Happened to Them," is a good
beginning for our people to learn about our ancestors and the kind of life
they had to go through under the bestial rule of the Moslems. This book is
a must for all Hindus.
Courtesy: Voice of India Publications, New Delhi, India
Brought to you in the U.S. by:
Hindu Vivek Kendra (USA)
P.O. Box 7542
Austin, TX 78713-7542