Chach Nama

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The Chach Nama (Sindhi: چچ نامو‎; Urdu: چچ نامہ‎; "Story of the Chach"), also known as the Fateh nama Sindh (Sindhi: فتح نامه سنڌ‎; "Story of the conquest of Sindh"), and as Tareekh al-Hind wa a's-Sind (Arabic: تاريخ الهند والسند‎; "History of India and Sindh"), is one of the main historical sources for the history of Sindh in the seventh to eighth centuries CE, written in Persian.

Quotes[edit]

  • "The Chachnama is Arab or Muslim genre writing, a `pleasant story of conquest,' the conquest of Sindh. But it is a bloody story, and the parts that get into the school books are fairy tales.
    • -V. S. Naipaul, Among the Believers-An Islamic Journey, 1981 also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
  • Qasim's instruc- tions were to "bring destruction on the unbelievers . . . [and] to invite and induce the infidels to accept the true creed, and belief in the unity of God . . . and whoever does not submit to Islam, treat him harshly and cause injury to him till he submits."
    • Chac Nama . Chachnamah. An Ancient History of Sind. Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg. Karachi, 1900. p. 155, quoted in Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a muslim, 1995. p 220
  • My dear cousin, I have received your life-augmenting letter. On its receipt my gladness and joy knew no bounds. It increased my pride and glory to the highest degree. It appears from your letter that all the rules made by you for the comfort and convenience of your men are strictly in accordance with religious law. But the way of granting pardon prescribed by the law is different from the one adopted by you, for you go on giving pardon to everybody, high or low, without any discretion between a friend and a foe. The great God says in the Koran [47.4]: "O True believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads." The above command of the Great God is a great command and must be respected and followed. You should not be so fond of showing mercy, as to nullify the virtue of the act. Henceforth grant pardon to no one of the enemy and spare none of them, or else all 'will consider you a weakminded man. Concluded with compliments. Written by Nafia in the year ninety-three... My distinct orders are that all those who are fighting men should be assassinated, and their sons and daughters imprisoned and retained as hostages."
    • Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq, to bin Qasim. Chac Nama, Chachnamah. An Ancient History of Sind. Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg. Karachi, 1900. quoted in Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a muslim, 1995. p 220 ff
  • The Chachnama is in many ways like The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the Spanish soldier who in his old age wrote of his campaigns in Mexico with Cortés in 1519 and after. The theme of both works is the same: the destruction, by an imperialist power with a strong sense of mission and a wide knowledge of the world, of a remote culture that knows only itself and doesn’t begin to understand what it is fighting. The world conquerors, the establishers of long-lived systems, have a wider view; men are bound together by a larger idea. The people to be conquered see less, know less; their stratified or fragmented societies are ready to be taken over. And, interestingly, both in Mexico in 1519 and in Sind in 710 people were weakened by prophecies of conquest.
    • Naipaul, V. S. (1981). Among the believers: An Islamic journey. New York: Knopf.
  • There is this difference between The Conquest of New Spain and the Chachnama. Bernal Díaz, the Spaniard, was writing of events he had taken part in. The Chachnama is Arab or Muslim genre writing, a “pleasant story of conquest,” and it was written five hundred years after the conquest of Sind. The author was Persian; his source was an Arabic manuscript preserved by the family of the conqueror, Bin Qasim.
    The intervening five centuries have added no extra moral or historical sense to the Persian narrative, no new wonder or compassion, no idea of what is cruel and what is not cruel, such as even Bernal Díaz, the Spanish soldier, possesses. To the Persian, writing in 1216, the Arab conquests—“the conquests of Khurasan, Ajam [Persia], Iraq, Sham [Syria], Rum [Byzantium] and Hind”—are glorious; they are the story of the spread of true civilization. Conquest is pleasant to read about because conquest is “based on spiritual rectitude and temporal excellence ... of which learned philosophers and generous kings would be proud, because all men attain advancement to perfection by acknowledging as true the belief of the people of Arabia.” There is an irony in this praise of conquest: not many years after those words were written, the invading Mongols were to arrive in Persia and Iraq, and the Arab civilization which the Chachnama celebrated was to be shattered, stupefied for centuries.
    • Naipaul, V. S. (1981). Among the believers: An Islamic journey. New York: Knopf.
  • The Chachnama shows the Arabs of the seventh century as a people stimulated and enlightened and disciplined by Islam, developing fast, picking up learning and new ways and new weapons (catapults, Greek fire) from the people they conquer, intelligently curious about the people they intend to conquer.
    • Naipaul, V. S. (1981). Among the believers: An Islamic journey. New York: Knopf.

External links[edit]

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