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Hindu History Lesson chapter 3: 1100-1850

Hindu History Lesson chapter 3: 1100-1850

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Published by Hinduism Today
This is the third chapter of Hinduism Today's accurate portrayal of Hinduism for children, a response to America's incomplete and often wrong schoolbooks.
This is the third chapter of Hinduism Today's accurate portrayal of Hinduism for children, a response to America's incomplete and often wrong schoolbooks.

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Published by: Hinduism Today on Mar 10, 2010
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Nt t Stut, Pt  T
 This Educational Insight is the third chapter in our serieson Hindu history intended for use in US primary and sec-ondary schools. Most textbooks presenting Indian historybetween 1100 and 1850 focus on the Muslim and Britishrule. They tend to ignore the adverse material and religiousimpact of this rule on Hindus, who made up 80% of thepopulation during most of this period. This chapter is in-tended to fill this gap and serve as a supplement to othertexts, not as a comprehensive overview of all events of thistime. It is meant to explain what happened under India’sforeign invaders and protracted alien rule and how Hindus,their religion and way of life survived this violent and op-pressive time. This is a diffi cult part of history to teach, butnecessary for a proper understanding of our modern world. This lesson was written and designed by the editorialstaff of H
INDUISM
T
ODAY
in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Baj-pai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University,Northridge.
 Academic reviewers: Dr. Klaus Klostermaier, Professor of ReligiousStudies, University of Manitoba; Dr. Jeffrey D. Long, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Elizabethtown College; Dr. Anantanand Ram-bachan, Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College; Dr. T.S. Rukmani, Pro-fessor and Chair in Hindu Studies, Concordia University; Dr. Michael K. Ward, Visiting Lecturer in History, California State University, North-ridge. Research Assistant: Justin Stein, MA, University of Hawaii, and former middle school teacher in New York.
   s .  r   a  j   a  m
    E
   D
  U
 C
 A
O  
N   
 A   
L    
I   
N  
G
H
T
  S
CHAPTER
3
october/november/december, 2009hinduism today
I-1
HinduismEndures:1100 to
1850
The Rajput princess Mirabai devoted her life to the joyful worship of LordKrishna. The poet saint danced and sang throughout North India.
India responded to centuriesof Muslim invasion and ruleand later British colonizationby both armed resistance andspiritual resolve. The countryremained overwhelming Hindudespite foreign dominationand religious oppression.India was one of the veryfew ancient societies tosurvive into modern timeswith its religion and socialstructure largely intact.
 
SECTION
1
What You Will Learn...
1.
People today must cometo terms with violenttimes of the past.
2.
From the eighth to theeighteenth century, Mus-lims invaded and thenruled much of India.
3.
By the nineteenth century,the British East India Compa-ny went from being traders inIndia to being rulers of India.
Main Ideas
B
UILDING
B
ACKGROUND
:
Horses thrive in Central Asia, Iran and Arabia,but they do poorly in the hot climate of the Indian plains. Invaders onhorseback armed with swords and bows had an advantage over thefoot soldiers and even the elephants of the Indian armies. Later, Indiankings imported horses yearly for their armies at great cost.
Understanding a Violent Past
We now enter what historians call a “difficult period” of Indian his-tory. The difficulty is not due to any lack of knowledge. The Muslims’invasions of India were carefully chronicled by their own historians.The British also kept exacting records of their
subjugation
and ex-ploitation of the subcontinent. We have a great deal of information,but of a disturbing nature. Muslim historians recount in detail thedestruction of cities, sacking of temples, slaughter of noncombatantsand enslavement of captives. British accounts reveal the mismanage-ment and greed that led to
famines
that killed tens of millions of people and ruined the local industry during their rule.Nearly every country on our planet has a dark period of historyit would like to forget or deny. It is difficult to study such unpleas-ant pasts in a way that leads to understanding, not hatred. Hindu-Muslim discord has been a fact of Indian history for over a thousand years. At the same time, there have been long periods of friendlyrelationship, especially at the village level. For Hindus and Muslims,coming to terms with their collective past remains a “work in prog-ress.” True
reconciliation
comes when people honestly face the past,forgive misdeeds, learn to truly respect each other’s religious beliefsand traditions and promise to move forward in peace.
This column in each of thethree sections presents oursubject outline for India andHinduism from 1100 to 1850 ce.1. Explain the diffi culty indiscussing violent historicalevents that continueto impact us today.2. Describe successive invasionsof India by Arabs, Turksand Mughals and theunyielding Hindu resistance.3. Explore the founding of theMughal Empire, its expansionand ultimate decline.4. Explain the origins of theEast India Company and howit gained control of India.
H
INDUISM
T
ODAY
S
Teaching StandardsThe Big Idea
India’s Hindus sufferedbut survived centuries of Muslim and British rule.
october/november/december, 2009hinduism today
I-3I-2
hinduism today october/november/december, 2009
The InvasionCenturies
If YOU lv t...
Outside invaders have conquered the kingdom next to the one youlive in. The king calls for young men to join his army. Your fatherdecides to take the family and flee to another kingdom, away fromthe fighting. You may either join the army or go with the family. Yourfather leaves it up to you.
What do you do, and why?
The Gradual Conquest of India
Muslim Arab attacks upon India began in
636
ce, soon after Islam was founded. Thefirst successful conquest was of the Sindhregion in
712
, with the fall of the templetowns of Debal and Multan. By
870
, Arabsconquered the Hindu kingdoms of south-western Afghanistan, then were stopped bythe kings of north and northwest India.There were three types of conquerorsduring this time. Some simply raided a city,robbed its wealth and left. Others defeateda kingdom, reinstated the defeated king andordered him to pay regular
tribute
. Thethird and most effective conquerer annexedthe captured territory to his own kingdom.The next wave of invasions began around
1000
. These attacks were not by Arabs,but by Turks from central Asia who hadconverted to Islam. One Turkic leader,Mahmud of Ghazni, raided India
17
timesbetween
1001
and
1027
. In each city, helooted and destroyed temples, and killed orenslaved inhabitants. Mahmud’s successorsperiodically raided northern India, but gen-erations of Rajput rulers denied the invad-ers a permanent foothold.One of the great historians of India, A.L.Basham, wrote that warfare among Hinduswas governed by “a chivalrous and humaneethical code, which discouraged such ruth-less aspects of war as the sacking of citiesand the slaughter of prisoners and noncom-batants.” The Islamic invasions introduceda brutal form of warfare which destroyed,killed and enslaved enemies at will.In
1192
, Muhammad of Ghur, also Tur-kic, finally succeeded in defeating Hindurulers of the Delhi-Ajmer region and theGanga valley. This conquest led to theestablishment of the Delhi Sultanate in
1206
. By
1300
, the Sultanate had securedstable rule around their main strongholdsof the North, and sent armies to raid as farsouth as Thanjavur and Madurai. But theseregions were not annexed. Hindu rule gen-erally continued in Rajasthan, Gujarat andthrived in the entire South, notably withinthe Vijayanagar Empire (
1336
-
1665
). Areaswith natural protective boundaries, such asKashmir, Nepal, Assam, Orissa and Kerala,were less subject to raids.By
1220
, the Mongol emperor GenghisKhan had created the largest empire theworld had ever seen, conquering Asia fromChina to Iran. In
1398
, a Muslim descen-dant, Timur, attacked Delhi because hefelt its Muslim ruler was too tolerant of 
A
CADEMIC
V
OCABULARY
subjugation
to bring undercontrol by force
reconciliation
to restore friendlyrelations
famine
extreme shortageof food
tribute
payment madeby one ruler toanother
to 632to 751to 1400
Spread of Islam
India Mughal PeriodAnd Later PowerCenters
Mughal Empire Limits———1538———1605, Under Akbar———1707, At height
 JA T SA H O M O R I S SA
MAJOR POWERS
        I      n       d      u     s         R        i      v     e      r
 K E RA LA S I K H S MA RA T HA S
Pune •• Pandharpur• Udaipur
 
• ChittorSomnath •• AjmerDebal •• Multan• Kannauj• Pandharpur• Nalanda• CapitalsPatna •• Surat• Satara• Bijapur• GolgundaMurshidabad •• Mysore• Vijayanagar• Delhi• Mathura
 
 
• Agra• Lahore• Madras (British)Goa (Portuguese) •• Pondicherry (French)• Madurai• Thanjavur• KabulGhur •• Ghazni• KandaharBombay (British) •• Calcutta (British)Basra •
 
Damascus •• Mecca• Medina•Tehrana
 
• Baghdad
500 km
 RA J P U T S
 B E N GA L
Deccan PlateauRegionsSindhNepal
 M Y S O R E
• VjaynV
 
 jn
 
iy
 
)
 
e) •
 
 V I JA YA NA GA RA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Y                                   a                          m                           u                          n                          a                           R                                   i                                    v                          e                          r                          
 
 
A
 
A L
G  n   g   R  i  v  r  
 
did not go well, and following the battle of Buxar in
1764
the Company gained control of Bengal’s reve-nues. A few years later they became the direct rul-ers and ruined the region with heavy taxes, unfairtrade restrictions and corrupt practices.The Company seldom launched a direct attackto conquer a region of India. Rather, they enteredinto treaties,
alliances
and other deals with localrulers, exploiting the divisions among them. Alongthe way, they defeated several heroic kings, suchas the Muslim king Tipu Sultan of Mysore, andeventually conquered the powerful Marathas andSikhs after many battles. In this manner, by
1857
,they achieved direct rule over much of India andcontrolled the rest through
puppet rulers.
Why Did the Muslims and the British Win?
Most historians agree that the Hindu kings simplyfailed to realize the danger they faced and thusdid not mount a common defense. Historians alsoblame the caste system, saying that people re-lied solely on the warrior caste to do the fighting.Basham shows this explanation to be inaccurate,as all castes were present in Indian armies. Also,he points out, Muslim kingdoms themselves wereoverrun by subsequent invaders, such as Timurand Nadir Shah, putting up no better defense thanthe earlier Hindu kings.Basham explains that each new invader suc-ceeded by virtue of superior military organization,strategy, training, weapons, horses and mobility.With these they overpowered the large but cum-bersome Indian armies, Hindu and Muslim alike,which failed to adapt to new methods of warfare.The British also possessed great military skill andmodern weapons, a result of their wars in Europeat the time. The Indian rulers failed to recognizeand counter the brilliant British strategy and tac-tic of conquering a region by exploiting internaldivisions among its rulers and only occasionallyusing its own armed forces in an outright invasion.Hindus. In just one instance alone, he killed
100
,
000
Hindu captives. In
1504
, Babur,a descendent of both Genghis Khan andTimur, seized Kabul. This gave him a baseto attack India. He overwhelmed both thesultan of Delhi (in
1526
) and the Rajputconfederacy (in
1527
) to found the MughalEmpire. His army was the first in India touse
matchlocks
and field cannons.Babur’s grandson, Akbar, becameemperor in
1556
. He expanded the MughalEmpire over northern India and part of the Deccan by entering into alliances withHindu kings, particularly the fierce Rajputs.Akbar’s rule was noted for its religious har-mony. Unfortunately, his successors did notinherit his tolerance. Akbar’s great-grand-son, Aurangzeb, destroyed temples andreimposed the
 jizya
religious tax on Hindus.By the mid-eighteenth century, theMughal Empire had declined. The Sikhs, Jats, Rajputs, Marathas and the Empire’sown provincial governors (called nawabs)had asserted their independence, leavingno strong central government in India. Theregional Muslim rulers continued to oppressHindus, but less harshly than the centra-lized Muslim governments of Delhi had.
The Colonial Period
In
1600
a group of English merchants setup the East India Company to buy and sellgoods between Britain, India and othereastern countries. They arrived in Indiaas businessmen, not conquerors, and builtmajor trading posts at Surat, Bombay, Ma-dras and Calcutta. Over time, they
fortified
their posts and developed private armies fordefense, paid for with the immense profitsof their trade. They hired Hindus and Mus-lims as soldiers, called
 sepoys,
who servedunder British officers.Emboldened by their strength, the Britishproceeded to
meddle
in local politics. Theygained power and profit by playing one rivalagainst another. The French, especially inSouth India, did the same. If one king wassupported by the French, the Companywould back his rival as a way of weaken-ing the French position.But they wantedstill more. Robert Clive, commander of theCompany’s army, conspired to overthrow theNawab of Bengal, which led to the Nawab’sdefeat in the Battle of Plassey in
1757
.Mir Jafar, the new Muslim ruler of Bengalrewarded Clive’s support with huge gifts anda promise to favor the Company. But things
Section 1 Assessment
R
EVIEWING
I
DEAS
 , T
ERMS
 
AND
P
EOPLE
1.
Explain:
How do we know so much about thedestruction in India under the Muslims and British?2.
Describe:
What are three different ways that invadingforces could profit from their conquests?3.
Contrast:
How was the Muslim style of warfaredifferent from that of the Hindus?4.
Synthesize:
How could Indian kings have better foughtthe Muslim invaders and the British empire builders?5.
Analyze:
How can studying the history of violencein India be useful in helping to bring about a morepeaceful world today?
F
OCUS
 
ON
W
RITING
I-4
hinduism today october/november/december, 2009october/november/december, 2009hinduism today
I-5
A
CADEMIC
V
OCABULARY
matchlock 
an early typeof rifle
fortify
to build walls,towers and gatesto protect fromattack
meddle
to interfere insomeone else’saffairs
alliance
an agreement towork together
puppet ruler
a state rulerwho is actuallycontrolled byanother ruler
1193
Buddhist university atNalanda is destroyedby Bakhtiyar Khalji, aTurk; soon afterwardsBuddhism severelydeclines in India
1270
MarathaVaishnava saintJnaneshvaraand Namdevaare born
1674
Shivaji foundsMaratha Empire;frees largeareas fromMuslim control
1699
Guru Gobind Singhfounds Sikh Khalsaorder, militarizinghis followers
1398
Turkic warrior Timurconquers Delhi, killingtens of thousands of residents and carryingoff great wealthand many slaves
1541
Jesuit missionarySt. Francis Xavierarrives in Goa;eventually callsfor an Inquisitionwhich leads tomany deaths andforced conversions
1230–60
Surya Temple isbuilt in Konark,Orissa, for theSun God, Surya
1835
Lord Macaulaymakes English theoffi cial languageof schools in India;the teachingof Sanskrit wasdrastically curtailed
1834
The first indenturedIndians are sent toBritish plantationsabroad: Mauritius,Guyana and theWest Indies
1469
Guru Nanak, founderof Sikhism, is born
1350
Appaya Dikshitar,South Indianphilosopher-saint, compilesa priest manualstill used today
1398
Kabiris born;preachesunity of allreligions
1574
Tulsidasa writespopular Hindiversion of 
Ramayana
1688
Mughal EmperorAurangzebdemolishesall temples inMathura, said tonumber 1,000, andmany in Varanasi
1780–1830
Golden era of Carnatic musicunder Tyagaraja,MuthuswamiDikshitar andSyama Sastri
1221
Invading Mongolsunder GenghisKhan reach India’sborder; Mongolraids continueinto 14th century
1030
Arab scholarAl-Biruni writesextensive accountof Indian religion,science andgeography
1764
British East IndiaCompany takes directrule of Bengal; adevasating famineoccurs in 1770
700300 CE400600500800
Sun Temple OrissaGuru Nanak 
 
1
Timeline: 1100 to 1850 ce
 
15001100 CE1200140018571300160017001800
 JnaneshvaraTulsidasaTyagaraja
1857
Hundreds of thousands of Indiansoldiers revolt in widespreaduprising called India’s FirstWar of Independence or theSepoy Mutiny. After brutalsuppression, the British Crowntakes formal control of India

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