Jadunath Sarkar

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Jadunath Sarkar

Sir Jadunath Sarkar (10 December 1870 - 19 May 1958) was a prominent Indian Bengali aristocrat and historian.

Quotes[edit]

  • I would not care whether truth is pleasant or unpleasant, and in consonance with or opposed to current views. I would not mind in the least whether truth is, or is not, a blow to the glory of my country. If necessary, I shall bear in patience the ridicule and slander of friends and society for the sake of preaching truth. But still I shall seek truth, understand truth, and accept truth. This should be the firm resolve of a historian.
    • Quoted in Meenakshi Jain, "Flawed Narratives – History in the old NCERT Textbooks" [1], And Quoted in R.C. Majumdar, The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. 7, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 1984, pp. xiii (quoted from a Presidential speech given at a historical conference in Bengal, 1915)
  • No new temple was allowed to be built nor any old one to be repaired, so that the total disappearance of all places of Hindu worship was to be merely a question of time. But even this delay, this slow operation of Time, was intolerable to many of the more fiery spirits of Islam, who tried to hasten the abolition of ‘infidelity’ by anticipating the destructive hand of Time and forcibly pulling down temples.
    • Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Volume III, Calcutta, 1928. [2]
  • Shivaji proved, by his example, that the Hindu race could build a nation, found a State, defeat its enemies; they could conduct their own defence; they could protect and promote literature and art, commerce and industry; they could maintain navies and ocean going fleets of their own, and conduct naval battles on equal terms with foreigners. He taught the modern Hindus to rise to the full stature of their growth. He demonstrated that the tree of Hinduism was not dead, and that it could put forth new leaves and branches and once again rise up its head to the skies.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar Shivaji and His Times, 1919, p. 406
  • The Historian of Shivaji at the end of a careful study of all the records about him in eight different languages, is bound to admit that Shivaji was not only the maker of the Maratha nation, but also the greatest constructive genius of medieval India . States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true “hero as King” like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for the entire human race. – The pillar of people’s hope. The center of a world’s desire, to animate the heart, to kindle the imagination, and to inspire the brain of succeeding ages to the highest endeavors.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar, House of Shivaji: Studies and Documents on Maratha History, Royal Period, 1955, p. 115
  • Meaning of Jihad is “to exert in the Path of God :” “Islamic theology, therefore, tells the true believer that his highest duly is to make exertion (jihad) in the path of God by waging war against infidel lands (dar-ul-harb) till they become a part of the realm of Islam (dar-ul-Islam). After conquest, the entire infidel population becomes theoretically reduced to the status of slaves of the conquering army (Muslims). The men taken with arms are to be slain or sold into slavery and their wives and children induced to servitude. As for the non-combatants among the vanquished, they are not massacred out right, as the Canon lawyer Shafi declared to the Quranic injunction, it is only to give them a respite till they are so wisely guided as to accept the true taith.
    • The History of Aurangazeb. Vol. 3, pp. 163-164 by Sir Jadunath Sarkar; published by Orient Longman 1972
  • Murder of non-Muslims is a merit : “The murder of infidels (even if they are innocent) is counted a merit in a Muslim. It is not necessary that he (Muslim) should have his own passion or mortify his flesh, it is not necessary for him to grow a rich growth of spirituality. He has only to slay a certain class of his fellow-beings (non-Muslims) or plunder their lands and wealth and this act is itself would raise his (Muslim’s) soul to Heaven. A religion where followers are taught to regard robbery and murder as a religious duty, is incompatible with the progress of manking or with the peace of the world.
    • The History of Aurangazeb. Vol. 3, pp. 161-169 by Sir Jadunath Sarkar; published by Orient Longman 1972
  • No peace between Mohammadan king and neighbouring of infidel states : “According to the Quranic law, there can not be peace between a Mohammedan king and his neighbouring infidel states. The latter are Dar-ul-Harb or legitimate stated for war, and it is the Muslim king’s duty to slay and plunder them (non-Muslims) till they accept the true faith (Islam) and become Dar-ul-Islam. (Land of Muslims alone), after which they will become entitled to his (Muslim king’s) protection.
    • Shivaji and his Times, pages 479-480, by Sir Jadunath Sarkar; published by Orient Longman.
  • “In addition to the poll-tax and public degradation in dress and demeanour imposed on them, the non-Muslims were subjected to various hopes and fears. Rewards in the form of money and public employment were offered to apostates from Hinduism. The leaders of Hindu religion and society were systematically repressed, to deprive the sect of spiritual instruction, and their religious gatherings and processions were forbidden in order to prevent the growth of solidity and a sense of communal strength among them. No new temple was allowed to be built nor any old one to be repaired, so that the total disappearance of all places of Hindu worship was to be merely a question of time. But even this delay, this slow operation of Time, was intolerable to many of the more fiery spirits of Islam, who tried to hasten the abolition of ‘infidelity’ by anticipating the destructive hand of Time and forcibly pulling down temples.”
    • Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Volume III, Calcutta, 1928, pp. 164-67. Quoted in S.R.Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1999) ISBN 9788185990583
  • “Under it there can be only one faith, one people and one all overriding authority. The State is a religious trust administered solely by His people (the faithful) acting in obedience to the Commander of the Faithful, who was in theory, and very often in practice too, the supreme General of the Army of militant Islam (Janud). There could be no place for non-believers. Even Jews and Christians could not be full citizens of it, though they somewhat approached the Muslims by reason of their being ‘People of the Book’ or believers in the Bible, which the Prophet of Islam accepted as revealed... “As for the Hindus and Zoroastrians, they had no place in such a political system. If their existence was tolerated, it was only to use them as hewers of wood and drawers of water, as tax-payers, ‘Khiraj-guzar’, for the benefit of the dominant sect of the Faithful. They were called Zimmis or people under a contract of protection by the Muslim State on condition of certain services to be rendered by them and certain political and civil disabilities to be borne by them to prevent them from growing strong. The very term Zimmi is an insulting title. It connotes political inferiority and helplessness like the status of a minor proprietor perpetually under a guardian; such protected people could not claim equality with the citizens of the Muslim theocracy.
    • Jadunath Sarkar, cited in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), The History of the Indian People and Culture, Volume VI, The Delhi Sultanate, Bombay, 1960, pp. 617-18. Quoted in S.R.Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1999) ISBN 9788185990583
  • “when a class of men is publicly depressed and harassed (as under Muslim rule)… it merely contents itself with dragging on an animal existence. The Hindus could not be expected to produce the utmost of what they were capable… Amidst such social conditions, the human hand and the human mind cannot achieve their best; the human soul cannot soar to its highest pitch.”
    • Sarkar, A Short History of Aurangzeb, p.153. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • Islamic theology, therefore tells the true believer that his highest duty is to make "exertion (jihad) in the path of God," by waging war against infidel lands (dar- ul-harb) till they become part of the realm of Islam (dar-ul-Islam) and their populations are converted into true believers. After conquest the entire infidel popu lation becomes theoretically reduced to the status of slaves of the conquering army. The men taken with arms are to be slain or sold into slavery and their wives and children reduced to servitude. As for the non-combatants among the vanquished, if they are not massacred outright,-as the canon lawyer Shaf'i declares to be the Qur'anic injunction,-it is only to give them a respite till they are so wisely guided as to accept the true faith.
    The conversion of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every form of dissent is the ideal of the Muslim State. If any infidel is suffered to exist in the community, it is as a necessary evil, and for a transitional period only. Political and social disabilities must be imposed on him, and bribes offered to him from the public funds, to hasten the day of his spiritual enlightenment and the addition of his name to the roll of true believers....
    A non-Muslim therefore cannot be a citizen of the State; he is a member of a depressed class; his status is a modified form of slavery. He lives under a contract (zimma, or "dhimma") with the State: for the life and property grudgingly spared to him by the commander of the faithful he must undergo political and social disabilities, and pay a commutation money. In short, his continued existence in the State after the conquest of his country by the Muslims is conditional upon his person and property made subservient to the cause of Islam.
    He must pay a tax for his land (kharaj), from which the early Muslims were exempt; he must pay other exactions for the maintenance of the army, in which he cannot enlist even if he offers to render personal service instead of paying the poll-tax; and he must show by humility of dress and behavior that he belongs to s subject class. No non-Muslim can wear fine dresses, ride on horseback or carry arms; he must behave respectfully and submissively to every member of the dominant sect.
    As the learned Qazi Mughis-ud-din declared, in accordance with the teachings of the books on Canon Law: "The Hindus are designated in the Law as `payers of tribute' (kharaj-guzar); and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should, without question and with all humility and respect, tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths wide to receive it." By these acts of degradation are shown the extreme obedience of the zimmi [dhimmi], the glorification of the true faith of Islam, and the abasement of false faiths. God himself orders them to be humiliated, (as He says, "till they pay jaziya") with the hand and are humbled. ... The Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive.... No other religious authority except the great Imam (Hanifa) whose faith we follow, has sanctioned the imposition of jaziya on Hindus. According to all other theologians, the rule for Hindus is "Either death or Islam."
    The zimmi is under certain legal disabilities with regard to testimony in law courts, protection under criminal law, and in marriage ... he cannot erect new temples, and has to avoid any offensive publicity in the exercise of his worship. ... Every device short of massacre in cold blood was resorted to in order to convert heathen subjects. In addition to the poll-tax and public degradation in dress and demeanor imposed on them, the non-Muslims were subjected to various hopes and fears. Rewards in the form of money and public employment were offered to apostates from Hinduism. The leaders of Hindu religion and society were systematically repressed, to deprive the sect of spiritual instruction, and their religious gatherings and processions were forbidden in order to prevent the growth of solidarity and sense of communal strength among them. No new temple was allowed to be built nor any old one to be repaired, so that the total disappearance of Hindu worship was to be merely a question of time. But even this delay, this slow operation of Time, was intolerable to many of the more fiery spirits of Islam, who tried to hasten the abolition of "infidelity" by anticipating the destructive hand of Time and forcibly pulling down temples.
    When a class are publicly depressed and harassed by law and executive caprice alike, they merely content themselves with dragging on an animal existence. With every generous instinct of the soul crushed out of them, the intellectual culture merely adding a keen edge to their sense of humiliation, the Hindus could not be expected to produce the utmost of which they were capable; their lot was to be hewers of wood and drawers of water to their masters, to bring grist to the fiscal mill, to develop a low cunning and flattery as the only means of saving what they could of their own labor. Amidst such social conditions, the human hand and the human spirit cannot achieve their best; the human soul cannot soar to its highest pitch. The barrenness of intellect and meanness of spirit of the Hindu upper classes are the greatest condemnation of Muhammadan rule in India. The Muhammadan political tree judged by its fruit was an utter failure.
    • Jadunath Sarkar, "The Islamic State Church in India," History ofAurangzib, vol. 3: Northern India, 1658-1681, pp. 283-97. 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. Bostom adds in a footnote: The scholar K. S. Lal records this translation, "and should the collector choose to spit into his mouth, opens the same without hesitation, so that the official may spit into it.' Lal notes further that "[a]ctual spitting in the mouth of the non-Muslims was not uncommon." Lal cites a poem by Vijaya Gupta (1493-1519 CE), which includes the line, "The peons employed by the qazis tore away the sacred threads of the Brahmans and spat saliva in their mouths." From Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, pp. 238-39n124.
  • The Hindu Bethlehem now lay utterly prostrate before the invaders. Early at dawn on 1st March the Afghan cavalry burst into the unwalled and unsuspecting city of Mathura, and neither by their master’s orders nor from the severe handling they had received in yesterday’s fight, were they in a mood to show mercy. For four hours there was an indiscriminate massacre and rape of the unresisting Hindu population, all of them non-combatants and many of them priests, Even the few Muslim residents could not always save themselves by taking their trousers off and showing that they were really followers of the Prophet. "Idols were broken and kicked about like polo-balls by the Islamic heroes." Houses were demolished in search of plunder and then wantonly set on fire. Glutted with the blood of 3,000 men, Jahin Khan laid a contribution of one lakh on what remained of the population and marched away from the smoking ruins the same night. After the tiger came the jackal. "When after the massacre Ahmad Shah’s troops marched onward from Mathura, Najib and his army remained there for three days, plundered much money and buried treasure, and carried off many beautiful females as captives.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar, "Fall Of The Mughal Empire Vol.2" p 118 ff. 'Afghan sack and massacre at Mathura' [3]

Quotes about Jadunath Sarkar[edit]

  • But his voice remained a voice in the wilderness. Fourteen years later, he [R.C. Majumdar] had to return to the theme and give specific instances of falsification. “It is very sad,” he observed, “that the spirit of perverting history to suit political views is no longer confined to politicians, but has definitely spread even among professional historians… It is painful to mention though impossible to ignore, the fact that there is a distinct and conscious attempt to rewrite the whole chapter of the bigotry and intolerance of the Muslim rulers towards Hindu religion. This was originally prompted by the political motive of bringing together the Hindus and Musalmans in a common fight against the British but has continued ever since. A history written under the auspices of the Indian National Congress sought to repudiate the charge that the Muslim rulers broke Hindu temples, and asserted that they were the most tolerant in matters of religion. Following in its footsteps, a noted historian has sought to exonerate Mahmud of Ghazni’s bigotry and fanaticism, and several writers in India have come forward to defend Aurangzeb against Jadunath Sarkar’s charge of religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that in the revised edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, one of them, while re-writing the article on Aurangzeb originally written by William Irvine, has expressed the view that the charge of breaking Hindu temples brought against Aurangzeb is a disputed point. Alas for poor Jadunath Sarkar, who must have turned in his grave if he were buried. For, after reading his History of Aurangzib, one would be tempted to ask, if the temple-breaking policy of Aurangzeb is a disputed point, is there a single fact in the whole recorded history of mankind which may be taken as undisputed? A noted historian has sought to prove that the Hindu population was better off under the Muslims than under the Hindu tributaries or independent rulers.”
  • Sir Jadunath Sarkar's Aurangzib was avidly read, and also criticised. But those were the days of a different culture not found now among Marxists and progressives. For instance, when there was criticism of some statement of Jadunath Sarkar, it was also acknowledged in and outside the class room (by R.P. Tripathi, for example) that Sarkar was the doyen of Indian historians and "head and shoulders above all of us".
    • Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
  • Sir Jadunath Sarkar's History of Aurangzeb ... has rightly earned him the position of the doyen of Indian historians.... Sarkar has been a source of inspiration for hundreds of scholars.... His History of Aurangzeb is almost a classic.
    • Lal, K. S. (2001). Historical essays. New Delhi: Radha
  • Jadunath applied the critical and scientific methodology of Ranke and Mommsen to Indian history and could only cover 150 years of its history in 50 years... his historical works... were examples of 'honest history', an epithet applied by V.A. Smith to his Aurangzeb.
    • Jagdish Narayan Sarkar in Quarterly Review of Historical Studies Vol III. Calcutta 1963-4. p. 57, quoted in Lal, K. S. (2001). Historical essays. New Delhi: Radha
  • Jadunath Sarkar was once a name every educated Indian knew...he was easily the most highly-regarded Indian historian and had a very strong public presence in late colonial India.
    • The Calling of History, Prof Dipesh Chakrabarty. quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • A group of younger scholars at Allahabad, Aligarh and Oxford were conducting research that would ensure that by the time someone like me came into the world of South Asian history as a young novice in Calcutta in the early 1970s, the name of Jadunath Sarkar would be all but forgotten among the prominent historians of India. [...] Our teachers did not teach about emperors, battles and the character of kings anymore. They did not believe in the role of heroes of history. Heroes had been replaced by “causes.” Cause was a code word for institutional analysis.
    • The Calling of History, Prof Dipesh Chakrabarty. quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • In the words of the late British history scholar, J F Richards, Jadunath Sarkar “set the narrative frame for the late Mughal period virtually single-handed.”
    • The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth: Dipesh Chakrabarty. quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • Historians (of Jadunath Sarkar’s time) who criticized Sarkar’s emphasis on “character” never stopped to ask why someone of Sarkar’s erudition, intelligence and sense of engagement with the politics of his time would be so obsessed with the role of character in political history.”
    • The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth: Dipesh Chakrabarty,
  • [when one surveys Sarkar’s life and work as a historical scholar, one cannot miss the connection between his] “insistence on the cultivation of a certain truthfulness on the part of the historian—the demand that the historian make a sincere attempt to rise above his or her own times and interests—and his ideas about historical truth.” [This also includes] “a certain cultivation of self-denying ethics in the personhood of the historian, a practice of a sense of ascesis, was therefore essential, for without that, the historican could not receive the truths the facts told.” ...[Historical research and writing, for Jadunath Sarkar, was] “a way of preparing oneself for a truth that was beyond partisan interests.” [This was] “a self- denying quality he willingly imposed on himself...It was an inextricable part of his historical method; the man was the method.”
    • The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth: Dipesh Chakrabarty,
  • Naturally, Jadunath Sarkar began to earn the ire of his contemporary academics at a time when the field of historical research was slowly beginning to acquire ideological tinges. Thus, this ire, in the hands of such ideological scholars turned into vicious enmity and single-minded witch hunt. Perhaps the definitive reason for this was Sarkar’s no-holds-barred expose of Aurangzeb in his majestic, History of Aurangzib in five volumes....The subsequent generations of historians and scholars—trained under them— carried forward this slander. Among other big names, this calumnious campaign was led by Irfan Habib, son of the same Muhammad Habib. In his scholarly work titled Agrarian System of Mughal India, Irfan Habib wrote about this subject without any reference to Sarkar’s work as if Sarkar’s volumes did not exist. Irfan Habib calculatedly chose only such themes which allowed him to reject Sarkar’s sources. The result was that he succeeded in breaking Sarkar’s image as a towering historical scholar. Which is consistent with Habib’s credentials as an avowed Marxist as we shall see. With this move, Habib killed two birds with one stone: he deflected attention away from Aurangzeb’s legendary cruelty and Islamic bigotry by presenting the fall of Mughals as rooted in a mere “revenue crisis of the Empire!”
    • S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.

External links[edit]

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