In India’s context, I have reasons to believe that our spiritual and cultural heritage from millenia ago continues in the present. So does much of all that we have experienced in the nature of character specific to respective communities that have interacted with us over the centuries. The Jews and Parsis remain friendly, still Christians are inferior specimens and followers of Islam the same subhuman in their behaviour towards their human contemporaries. The undercurrents of what Will Durant spots in his Story Of Civilisation about the Mohammedan conquest of India, being “probably the bloodiest story in history”, continues to flow even today.
There were many more angry outbursts and intense resistance against Muslim vandalism and several uprisings against the European rulers… instances which did not make into the official records of the Mughal state calligraphers and British log keepers. Just a few recorded instances of armed opposition by outraged Hindus are known today, if scant remembered … Vijainagar, Rana Pratap, Maratha, Bundels, Goner (near Jaipur), Ujjain, Udaipur, Khandela. Guru Gobind, Banda Bahadur, 1857 rebels, Moplah… Which is understandable in the era of deceit and intrigues, under emperors and rulers who were known to be weak of the ear, suspicious, vindictive, least respecting of truth, and brutal. Most of the Hindus took their fate philosophically, considering these as acts of ignorance and folly, in vain and futile. They regarded it as a matters in accord with the little understanding of Firangis and Musalmans, their poor intelligence that left them incapable of comprehending the truth of the matter behind the Sanatan values and way of life, idol worship or the fundamental oneness of saguna and nirguna modes of worship.
Before the advent of Islamic imperialism, India was not exactly a zone of peace. There were plenty of wars fought by Hindu princes. But in all their wars, the Hindus observed some time-honoured conventions, Sanatan values, sanctioned by the cultured codes to life : brahmins and mendicants were never molested; cows were not killed; temples were left intact; the chastity of women was never violated; non-combatants were not affected; and human habitats was not attacked unless it was a fort. The civil population was not plundered. The thought of booty or spoils from war did not arise in the minds of conquerors. The martial classes who clashed, mostly in open spaces, had a code of honor. Sacrifice of honor for victory or material gain was deemed worse than death.
The Islamic ways, by the codes in the Sunnah of the Prophet, were different. They required their warriors to fall upon the helpless civilians after a decisive victory had been won on the battlefield. It required them to sack and burn down villages and towns after the defenders had died fighting, or had fled. Cows, brahmins and fakirs were especially massacred. Temples and monasteries were their specialyl targeted in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those who were spared were captured and sold as slaves. The magnitude of the booty looted, even from the bodies of the dead, was a measure of the success of a military mission. And they did all this as mujahids (holy warriors) and ghazls (kafir-killers) in the service of an wholly immoral Allah and his ethically blind Prophet.
Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader. For the first time in their history, Hindus were witnessing a scene which was described by Padmanabha in his Kanhadade Prabandha (1456 AD) in the following words :
” The conquering army burnt villages, devastated the land, plundered people’s wealth, took Brahmins and children and women of all classes captive, flogged with thongs of raw hide, carried a moving prison with it, and converted the prisoners into obsequious Turks.”
That describes Alauddin Khalji’s invasion of Gujarat in the year l298 AD. But the gruesome game had started three centuries earlier, when Mahmud of Ghazni had vowed to invade India every year in order to destroy idolatry, kill kafirs, capture prisoners of war and plunder the vast wealth for which India was well-known.
The behaviour of the Europeans ‒ Portuguese, Dutch for a brief period, French and British ‒ was not much different if a little less mass-scale. They all moved about with a superiority obtained of the might of firearms in their hands and the sense of “white man’s burden” in their mind.
History is not done and gone. Muslims and Christians, followers of the Book and their clergy, are still as inferior and subhuman, as lacking in intelligence and understanding for the Sanatan way !