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Mleccha (from Vedic Sanskrit mleccha, meaning "non-Vedic", "barbarian"), also spelled Mlechchha or Maleccha, is a name, which referred to people of foreign extraction in ancient India. Mleccha was used by the ancient Indians originally to indicate the uncouth and incomprehensible speech of foreigners and then extended to their unfamiliar behaviour, and also used as a derogatory term in the sense of "impure and/or "inferior" people.


  • They (the Hindus) differ from us in religion… There is very little disputing about theological topics among themselves; at the most they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or body or their property on religious controversy. ... in all manners and usages they differ from us to such a degree as to frighten their children with us… and as to declare us to be devil’s breed and our doings as the very opposite of all that is good and proper, ....they call all foreigners as mleccha, i.e. impure, and forbid having any connection with them, be it by intermarriage or any other kind of relationship, or by sitting, eating, and drinking with them, because thereby they think, they would be polluted… They are not allowed to receive anybody who does not belong to them, even if he wished it, or was inclined to their religion.
    • Alberuni, I, pp.19-20. quoted from K.S. Lal, Indian Muslims who are they, 1990
  • "And the whole world will be filled with mleccha behavior and notions and ceremonies, and sacrifices will cease and joy will be nowhere and general rejoicing will disappear.[...] And, O Yudhishthira, the whole world will be mlecchified. And men will cease to gratify the gods by offerings of Sraddhas. And no one will listen to the words of others and no one will be regarded as a preceptor by another. And, O ruler of men, intellectual darkness will envelop the whole earth."[30]
    • The Mahabharata Book 3, Section CLXXXIX (189).
  • [They are] "dwellers of hills" and "denizens of mountain-caves. Mlecchas were born of the cow (belonging to Vasishtha), of fierce eyes, accomplished in smiting looking like messengers of Death, and all conversant with the deceptive powers of the Asuras".
    • Mahabharata, Drona Parva, Section 92. [1]
  • By repeatedly exterminating the Mlechhas, having once more made Aryavarta what its name signifies - victorious in the world is the lord, the guardian of the earth Visala, ruler of Sakambhari.
    • Delhi-Siwalik Pillar inscription of Visaladeva, quoted in Misra, R. G. (2005). Indian resistance to early Muslim invaders up to 1206 A.D. p.80
  • [Vigraharaja IV's victories led him to claim of] having rendered Aryavarta worthy of its name by the repeated extermination of the Mlechhas.
    • Indian Antiquary, Vol 14. quoted in Misra, R. G. (2005). Indian resistance to early Muslim invaders up to 1206 A.D. p.67

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