Harsha of Kashmir

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Harsha of Kashmir, (ruled 1089-1111 AD) was a king of Kashmir.

Quotes[edit]

  • The general data on 11th-century Kashmir already militate against treating him as a typical Hindu king who did on purely Hindu grounds what Muslim kings also did, viz. to destroy the places of worship of rival religions.... Harsha was a fellow-traveller: not yet a full convert to Islam... but quite adapted to the Islamic ways, for “he ever fostered with money the Turks, who were his centurions”... All temples in his kingdom except four (two of them Buddhist)14 were damaged. This behaviour was so un-Hindu and so characteristically Islamic that Kalhana reports: “In the village, the town or in Srinagara there was not one temple which was not despoiled by the Turk king Harsha.”
    • Rajatarangini; translation by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit, Sahitya Akademi reprint, Delhi 1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple, quoting Rajatarangini.
  • In the case of their purely concocted grand theory of pre-Muslim persecution of Buddhism by Hindus, we see our leftist historians throw all standards of source criticism to the wind. Such is their eagerness to uphold this convenient hypothesis, and their care not to endanger what little supportive testimony there is. After all, from the millennia of pre-Muslim religious pluralism in India, there are not even five testimonies of such persecution, so these few should be scrupulously kept away from criticism....The allegation is simply repeated, and amplified, in all secularist history-books.....Incidentally, Hsuen Tsang's statement that his patron, king Harsha, worshipped both Buddha and the Hindu goods, is always carefully kept out of secularists' invocations of Hsuen Tsang's authority, as it is one more blow to the myth of Hindu-Buddhist struggle.
    • Koenraad Elst 1991: Ayodhya and after: issues before Hindu society.
  • Thus, the way Romila Thapar equates Mahmud Ghaznavi with Harsha of Kashmir (twelfth century) as being both temple plunderers, can be shown up to be in gross conflict with the contemporary testimonies about the two..... Romila Thapar's explanation that Ghaznavi's behaviour was essentially the same as Harsha's, can only rest on an utter incompetence in reading the source material, or in a deliberate attempt to distort history. What is more, if at all one wants to compare Harsha's behaviour with that of the Muslim rulers, one should face the connection that the contemporary historian Kalhan explicitly makes. Commenting on Harsha's temple plundering, he writes :"Prompted by the Turks in his employ, he behaved like a Turk". At face value, that seems to confirm the Nehruvians' equating of Harsha's and Mahmud's behaviour. Yet, the Nehruvians historians gloss over it (and we know by now that there is a system in their glossing-over)... Kalhana is simply saying that the very idea that a temple need not be respected, was borrowed by Harsha from the Muslim Turks. These already had a well-established reputation for temple desecration, and that is a fact to which the Nehruvian historians prefer not to draw the readers' attention..... So, here we have a case of a history professor who does not realize that the proofs he cites have hardly any logical connection with the thesis he proposes; or who is so assured about his eminence that he doesn't expect readers to notice the faulty reasoning.
    • Koenraad Elst 1991: Ayodhya and after: issues before Hindu society.
  • Harsha was a fellow-traveller: not yet a full convert to Islam (he still ate pork), but quite adapted to the Islamic ways, for "he ever fostered with money the Turks, who were his centurions".... This behaviour was so un-Hindu and so characteristically Islamic that Kalhana reports: "In the village, the town or in Srinagara there was not one temple which was not despoiled by the Turk king Harsha."
    • Raiatarangini 7:1095; translation by R.S. Pandit, quoted in Elst, K. (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism.
  • A third story, about a 12th century king Harsha of Kashmir, is apparently true but has nothing to do with religious persecution: he plundered Hindu temples of all sects including Buddhism, in his own kingdom, without bothering to desecrate them or their keepers apart from lucrative plunder. It is the one geunine case of a ruler plundering not out of religious motives but for the gold. There is no known case of a Muslim marauder who merely stole from temples without bothering to explicity desecrate them, much less of a Muslim ruler who plundered the sanctuaries of his own religion. Moreover, Kalhana's history book Rajatarangini relates this story with the comment: "Promoted by the Turks in his employ, he behaved like a Turk." This Harsha employed Turkish mercenaries (which his successors would regret, for they spied and ultimately grabbed power), and these Muslims already had a firm reputation of plundering temples with a good conscience.
    • Elst, Koenraad Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. 1992
  • Another incident of intra-Hindu persecution quoted from Kalhana's Rajatarangini, is "an earlier persecution of Buddhists in Kashmir and the wilful destruction of a vihara, again by a Shaivite king". There is an interesting little tailpiece to this incident: "But on this occasion the king repented and built a new monastery for the Buddhist monks". This proves that a substantial number, if not all, of the monks had survived the persecution. But more importantly, it highlights something completely unknown in the long history of Islamic fanaticism: remorse. This Shaivite king knew at heart that intolerance was wrong, and when he had regained his self-control, he made up for his misdeed. Such a thing has never been done by Mohammed, or by Ghaznavi or Aurangzeb. If any proof was neded for the radical difference between the systematic persecutions by the Muslims and the rare abberation into isolated acts of intolerance by Hindus, Prof. Romila Thapar has just given it.
    • Elst, Koenraad Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. 1992
  • According to the Rajatarirgini of Kalhana, King Harsha of Kashmir plundered Hindu and Buddhist temples in his lust for the gold and silver which went into the making of idols. This fact is played up by the Marxist professors with great fanfare. But they never mention Kalhan’s comment that in doing what he did Harsha “acted like a Turushka (Muslim)” and was “prompted by the Turushkas in his employ.”
    • S.R. Goel, Some Historical Questions (Indian Express, April 16, 1989), quoted in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
  • What distinguishes the Hindu rulers of Kashmir from Hindu rulers elsewhere is that they continued to recruit in their army Turks from Central Asia without realizing that the Turks had become Islamicized and as such were no longer mere wage earners. One of Kashmir's Hindu rulers Harsha (1089-1101 CE) was persuaded by his Muslim favourites to plunder temple properties and melt down icons made of precious metal. Apologists of Islam have been highlighting this isolated incident in order to cover up the iconoclastic record of Islam not only in Kashmir but also in the rest of Bharatvarsha. At the same time they conceal the fact that Kashmir passed under the heel of Islam not as a result of the labours of its missionaries but due to a coup staged by an Islamicised army.
  • A third story, about a 12th century king Harsha of Kashmir, is apparently true but has nothing to do with religious persecution: he plundered Hindu temples of all sects including Buddhism, in his own kingdom, without bothering to desecrate them or their keepers apart from lucrative plunder. It is the one geunine case of a ruler plundering not out of religious motives but for the gold. There is no known case of a Muslim marauder who merely stole from temples without bothering to explicity desecrate them, much less of a Muslim ruler who plundered the sanctuaries of his own religion. Moreover, Kalhana's history book Rajatarangini relates this story with the comment: "Promoted by the Turks in his employ, he behaved like a Turk." This Harsha employed Turkish mercenaries (which his successors would regret, for they spied and ultimately grabbed power), and these Muslims already had a firm reputation of plundering temples with a good conscience.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam.

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