Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent
Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into modern Afghanistan and Pakistan as early as the time of the Rajput kingdoms in the 7th century. With the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, Islam spread across large parts of the subcontinent.
French Historian Gustave Le Bon wrote in his book Les Civilisations de L'Inde:
- There does not exist a history of ancient India. Their books contain no historical data whatever, except for a few religious books in which historical information is buried under a heap of parables and folk-lore, and their buildings and other monuments also do nothing to fill the void for the oldest among them do not go beyond the third century B.C. To discover facts about India of the ancient times is as difficult a task as the discovery of the island of Atlantis, which, according to Plato, was destroyed due to the changes of the earth... The historical phase of India began with the Muslim invasion. Muslims were India's first historians.
N.S. Mehta, in Islam and the Indian Civilization
- Islam had brought to India a luminous torch which rescued humanity from darkness at a time when old civilizations were on the decline and lofty moral ideals had got reduced to empty intellectual concepts. As in other lands, so in India too, the conquests of Islam were more widespread in the world of thought than in the world of politics. Today, also, the Muslim World is a spiritual brotherhood which is held together by community of faith in the Oneness of God and human equality. Unfortunately, the history of Islam in this country remained tied up for centuries with that of government with the result that a veil was cast over its true spirit, and its fruits and blessings were hidden from the popular eye.
Sir William Digby in 'Prosperous India: A Revelation,' p. 30.
- England's industrial supremacy owes its origin to the vast hoards of Bengal and the Karnatik being made available for her use....Before Plassey was fought and won, and before the stream of treasure began to flow to England, the industries of our country were at a very low ebb.
Hindu sage Padmanabha described in his KanhaDade Prabandha in 1456 AD the story of the Muslim invasion of Gujarat of 1298 AD:
- 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 slaves.
Tarikh-i-Yamini of Utbi the sultan's secretary wrote in the 11th century:
- The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously at Thanesar that the stream was discoloured, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultan returned with plunder which is impossible to count.
First Mughal emperor Babar wrote in his autobiography Tuzk-e-Babri
- Hindustan is a country which has few pleasures to recommend it.... Indians have no idea of the charms of friendly society, of frankly mixing together, or of familiar intercourse.... They have no horses, no good grapes, or musk melons, no good fruits, no ice or cold water, no good food or bread in their bazaars, no bath or colleges, no candles, no torches, not a candle stick
- The impact of the invaders from the north-west and of Islam on India had been considerable. It had pointed out and shone up the abuses that had crept into Hindu society - the petrification of caste, untouchability, exclusiveness carried to fantastic lengths.
M. K. Gandhi said about the spread of Islam in the 7th century Arabia:
- ...I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission. These, and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble. YOUNG INDIA, 1924
Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Presidential Address to the Fifty-fifth Session of the Indian Congress, Jaipur, 1948
- (The Muslims had) enriched our culture, strengthened our administration, and brought near distant parts of the country... It (the Muslim Period) touched deeply the social life and the literature of the land.
- History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslim, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated. ISLAM AT CROSSROADS, London, 1923, p. 8