Reading a paper on Yemen made me realize something that is quite bizarre upon reflection: the greater the evidence of Islam’s transformative power, the greater the miracle and robustness of Indian religion in the face of its expansion. To me, Islam’s demographic impact is clear when it comes to Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Though some of the admixture into Near Eastern and Mediterranean populations predates the Islamic era, most of it always seems to date to the last 1,000 years.
Whatever the ideological merits of Islam, the Islamic civilization had massive economic, social, and demographic consequences as seen in the genes. It took the culture of Iran and transformed its religion.
Which takes me to India: the more impactful Islam seems to me, the more amazing it is that India remained 75% non-Muslim on the eve of partition. The most Islam-skeptic Indians tend to be pro-Hindu, but historical evidence of Islam’s power and influence actually suggest that Hinduism is something very special as a cultural complex.
Note: I say “Indian religion” to side-step semantic arguments about Hinduism. Ironically, I think modern elite Hinduism probably emerged and developed around the same time as Islam itself, though proto-Hindu beliefs are clearly very old.