Why Turks ruled India for so long

By Razib Khan 117 Comments

After finishing Escape from Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity I continue to believe that geography and economics explain the basic reason for the very long ascendance of Turkic people in the Indian subcontinent, and, their eventual eclipse.

The context for this is the fact that many Indian and Indian American friends have posited cultural rationales for the Turkic hegemony. That is, there was a passivity and disunity in Hindu society which made it vulnerable to the Turks, who were also adherents to a separatist hegenomic ideology in the form of Musim. All this may very well be true, but I have always held that the key factor was that Turks and Muslims more general had ready and easy access to warhorses.

Between 500 A.D. and 1500 A.D. was the heyday of the nomadic pastoralist as a geopolitical force in Eurasia for various reasons. Even in the centuries after 1500 A.D. horses remained critical for mobility. The problem is that in much of agricultural Eurasia there is not sufficient pasturage to raise large numbers of horses.

Pretty much every Eurasian society within reach of the steppe (so basically every society except for those in Western Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia) had to deal with the menace of armed nomads. Sometimes they paid them off. Sometimes they mobilized enormous armies which incurring crushing costs. And sometime they were conquered.

Between 1700 and 1900 this spectre faded. Improvements in military technology, transport, and mass national mobilization, leveled the gap between the steppe and the settled peoples, to the point where by 1900 the steppe was a marginal factor.

Note: the author of Escape from Rome attributes the rise and fall of Vijayanagara explicitly as a function of its access to horses.

4+

117 Replies to “Why Turks ruled India for so long”

  1. ” All this may very well be true, but I have always held that the key factor was that Turks and Muslims more general had ready and easy access to warhorses.”

    Agree. Isn;t there a Bengali ballad or something of Khilji winning Bengal with 20 horse-men or something.

    ” the author of Escape from Rome attributes the rise and fall of Vijayanagara explicitly as a function of its access to horses.”

    Dont; know about Vijayanagara but its rival Bahmanis rise and fall can be attributed to horses it could procure from Iran. Being a Shia polity with little help from the Sunnis rulers to its North, Bahmanis still had an upper hand over VJ due to horses, so much so that VJ had to move their capital to a more ‘rougher’ terrain. But once they lost the western Ghats to VJ, VJ beat them into a pulp.

    1. My understanding is that Vijayanagara only got an upper hand over the Sultanates mostly after the Bahmani disintegrated because the Sultanates were much smaller (there is the counter-point that Krishna-deva-raya had exceeded the Sultanates expectations substantially). I am tempted – take everything I say with lots of salt – to suspect that Bahmani was a victim of its own success under the Iranian-born (polymath?) minister Mahmud Gawan who struck terror among Hindus with spectacular successes and sack of Kanchi etc, whom jealous Indian-born nobles (apparently there was an Indian born noble – Foreign born noble factionism among the Bahmanis) got executed by persuading the king when he was drunk.

      But one thing that puzzles me is why mercenaries interested in business wouldn’t sell horses to Vijayanagara. In the 1440s or so, Praudha-deva-raya was bothered by how the Bahmani could kick their ass while having smaller territory and revenue, and of the two reasons given – horses and archery – Praudha-deva-raya only bothered to address the latter (hiring Muslim archers, keeping Koran by his throne so they could bow to it under the pretext of bowing to the king). Right-wingers often blame Vijayanagara for hiring Muslims given how Muslim soldiers switched sides during Talikota, but probably they were hired because they had to be. But then why wouldn’t similar mercenary factors apply to horses? (Aside: there is at least one, possibly apocryphal, story of an Arabian horse involving Tenali Rama.)

      Razib: how did Ming throw out the steppe-originated Yuan (sorry if the question is stupid)?

      1. “Right-wingers often blame Vijayanagara for hiring Muslims given how Muslim soldiers switched sides during Talikota”

        VJ or the battle of Talikota will never be pure bred right wing cause, since it was cosmopolitan (non -Hindu) enough. But again being the only “Hindu” power in the South, it cannot be appropriated by the left-liberal as well. A bit like Kannada politics, BJP can win, but its not really game over for left-liberals in that state there. VJ is also the reason perhaps Karnataka is the only “more-Hindu” space in the South in my category.

        Different than Marathas whose left liberal appropriation is so cosmetic that even they don;t believe it. I doubt after Pawar if left-liberals can stop the right to fully appropriate Maratha history.

      2. Froginthewell, there’s no ambiguity whatsoever in the historical record that VJ was importing horses on an epic scale, to the extent of it defining it’s foreign trade (30,000 a year at some point). The only question is it’s fluctuation in trade value over the years, and the drain of wealth from not being able to maintain stocks, and periods of disruption. By the 1700s, there were breeding areas established in mysore and near pune which probably allowed for more autonomy.

        1. @girmit Thank you. So why so much asymmetry regarding horses with the Bahmanis, when Vijayanagar got more revenue from their land (both larger and more arable as far as I know)?

          1. As far as I know, during the Bahmani domination there were neither Muslim mercenaries nor horses available for VJ. The horses which Bahmanis could procur were also because of Shia connection thru Iran and not from their Sunni neighbors. So VJ was out of reckoning anyways

            Both the procuring of Muslim mercenaries and horses later was the function of Weakening of bahmani sultanate and desertions. And once VJ could play one sultanate against other, there was no dearth of mercenaries or horses. The period which u account was the start of bahmanis weakening so perhaps only mercenaries were available initially.

          2. I could only guess. They were both post-tughluqid polities that co-existed for hardly 150 years, and perhaps the early VJs, the sangama/saluva dynasties, hadn’t yet consolidated land revenue and maritime trade yet. Noteworthy is that VJ, the capital, was located on the far northern frontier of their empire, whereas gulbarga/bidar and bijapur the capitals of the bahmanis and later adil shahs, were in the south of their own territory, just a short march away. The highest revenue land tracts in the raichur doab lay between them, and were held longest by the shahs. The distant upper and lower kaveri basins may have exceeded them in revenue, but it may have been a dwindling share once it reached the treasury.

  2. > The problem is that in much of agricultural Eurasia there is not sufficient pasturage to raise large numbers of horses.

    This is certainly one of the standard explanations for why the Huns, Magyars, Mongols (etc) never sustained a presence further west than the Carpathian Basin

    (Although see also “composite bows fall apart in damp climates” hypothesis)

  3. Agree with the thesis. Though the Turks Light cavalry and over- reliance of Indian states on sluggish elephant warfare can’t be emphasized enough I guess. Almost every defeat of Indian ruler to the Turks/Afghans has an elephant angle.

    On the geography part – the Entire Maratha resistance to the invaders was based on Hill and Fort warfares. Some have even called Sahyadri the Eternal Senapati/protector of the Marathas.

    And when Indians did manage to beat the Turko/Afghans – especially Bajirao & Marathas it could be attributed to use of rapid moving cavalry against the Heavy artillery and infantry of the North powers. Again Horses are instrumental their. Haven’t read in detail about the war of VIjayanagar wih the Bahamanis except the final fatal battle the Vijayanagar lost.

    1. Indian history has the same cycle.

      N-Indians rulers get rich and comfy—> An upstart from outside invades with lesser resources, since less resources so better management and use of terrain/horses etc—> The upstart now is the Ruler and get gets comfy. Cycle continues.

      Rajputs—>Afghans—>Mughals—>Marathas—>Brits

  4. “…but I have always held that the key factor was that Turks and Muslims more general had ready and easy access to warhorses.”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Very interesting angle of looking at historical events and excellent conclusion.
    Let see another situation. ‘Ancient’ Greeks (who still did not have this name) lived in crowded cities-polises and did not have any fertile land. They did not have any horses. Because they were vassals to the Macedonian kingdom, they asked Filip (Alexander’s father) to conquer some land for them to send thousands of unemployed Athenians who were involved in all sorts of crimes.

    And, at that time we have battles against Persians. Some falsified versions of history say that Alexander’s warriors were Greeks. How it is possible if ‘Greeks’ did not have any fertile land, no agriculture and did not have horses. How they, without any land, could provide 40000 horses for the army? Simply, they were no horse riders. However, some versions write correctly that Alexander’s warriors were Illyrians and Thracians (future ‘latin peasants’ from today’s central Serbia) who were good warriors and had well developed horse breeding industry. Illyrian legions were the iron feast cavalry of the Roman Empire.

    1. Macedonia and Thessalia had horses – just not very many horses. (Like Rajasthan compared to the rest of India.) And if the Greeks didn’t have enough foot-soldiers they assuredly had an “officer corps” and a corporal-class of experienced infantrymen, who could be counted on to form the core of new units acquired in Anatolia.
      Also, Anatolia is just as rugged as mainland Greece so cavalry wasn’t as important there. Alexander mostly used horse to keep Persian cavalry off the field long enough to whip the Persian infantry with his own infantry.
      I’d not rule out Illyrian / Thracian regiments but they were auxiliaries to the core of Macedonians and Greeks.

  5. PS. A side remark on my above comment – if Alexander’s warriors, Illyrians and Thracians (future ‘latin peasants’), haven’t spoken ‘Greek’ and Latin still did not exist, the question is – which language they have spoken?

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I wrote before about horses (‘hors’ is a Serbian word adopted in English) in ancient Serbian mythology.

    Although Ekbatan was the capital of the Media, the most beautiful city was Nisa (the same name as the city where the first Aryan expedition started and where Christianity is announced as official Roman religion), which was well known by its horses throughout the whole Asia. The name of the town of Nisa was changed to Raga (the name for old horse in Serbian), then Seleukic the 1st gave this city the name of Europo, according to his birthplace city with the same name near the river Vardar, Macedonia. This is now modern Tehran. The younger brother of the first king of Macedonia, Perdike I Karanovic (ancestor of Alexander the Great), whose name was Europ, ruled about 700 BC in the middle part of the river Vardar. Its principality was called Europe. By this principality, Europe got its name. Previous name of Macedonia was Media (which also included the most of former YU and a part of today’s Bulgaria) .

    I also wrote before that Aryans in today’s China, in ancient time even organised horse races. I will update and publish this comment again.

    1. Recently, Khanishka published here a review of The Last Pagan Generation by Edward Watts. There is one excellent map (p. XVII) which can say many things (including my name located in the northern Italy). I will write long comment but just briefly – you can see where was the Europe from my above comment located (#20) and from which the continent Europe got its name. We cannot see ‘ancient Greece’ but we can see Moesia (latin name for Media). Pundits who are interested to study this map, can find it on the link:

      https://books.google.com.au/books?id=vAclDQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    2. “I wrote before about horses (‘hors’ is a Serbian word adopted in English) in ancient Serbian mythology.”

      Of course, it comes from Serbian. It’s all so clear now.
      For years I stupidly thought it came from Anglo-Saxon hors, which came from the Old Saxon and Old Frisian hors, which came from the Proto-Germanic *harss (also the source of the Old Norse hross).

      But Serbian, yes, the true Indo-european urheimat. It was so obvious… but what about коњ and ат?

      1. Nice to see you are alive and kicking. Last time, you disappeared after my question…

        Anglo-Saxon? Language? Which period is your focus? It seems you are lost in time? Who were Saxons?

        Can you tell us about “the true Indo-european urheimat”?

        The white horse was a symbol of the Sun god because the old Serbs believed that the Sun rides the sky on a white horse. That Sun’s white horse was called Hors and that name is present in medieval Serbian language as well as in Russian. Horse is sometimes represented with chariots a sometimes with wings. Horus is found in Media and Persia under the same or slightly changed name. Vadel says: “The Persians had a sun god named” Horus “, just like the Egyptian Horus. It’s a god of the sun, a warrior leader on horseback presented as killing a snake. In Christianity, it is St. George ” (99.st.30b). From this we conclude that the Egyptian Horus is the same as the Serbian Hors, so consistently that it was brought to Egypt at the time of the Hyksos.

        There are four horses in a relief sculpture from the ancient city of Troy or Tarquinia Winged Horses is a fragment of the colonnade that supported the pediment of the most important temple of the ancient Etruscan city of Tarquínia, at the Ara della Regina, better known as the Major Temple of Tarquínia.

        1. The word ‘hors’ (Old Slavonic – Хърсъ) was used in ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ (1202 AC).
          Other languages took this word from Serbian (Old Danish? Norse? Proto-Germanic (what is this)? Anglo-Saxon?). Danes have the same r1a as millions of Indians, how come?

        2. Just to additionally clarify the previous…

          In the 12th c. ‘Hozdenie Bogoroditsi Po Mukam’ (Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering), the idol of Hors was recorded. The survival of Hors’s memory into the Christian era suggest that the cult was widespread and that under the name of Hors some sections of Eastern Slavic society worshipped the Sun.

          God Hors in Kiev’s pantheon.

          https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/136796907417575380/

          Hors’s name in toponymy

          S. Kotkov established that in the hydronym of the Novgorod-Seversk region of the 17th-18th centuries there existed the Hors’s swamp and the Hors’s ravine.

          M. Vasiliev cites the following data: “some researchers traced to the theonym Hors as a number of hydronyms of the Novgorod-Seversk region of the 16th-18th centuries (Hors’s swamp, the level of Hors); toponyms of Volyn X-XII centuries; the name of the town of Hors-ovo in Bulgaria, on the right bank of the Danube “[19].

          As A. Beskov points out, in the Borovsk district of the Kharkov region, not far from the village of Gorokhovatka, there was the village of Hors-ivka, now hidden by the waters of the Chervonooskolsky reservoir. What is important, among the inhabitants of the village there were bearers of the surname Hors [20].

          God Hors in art

          In Yuri Nikitin’s novel Artania, the protagonist is looking for shards of the sword of the god Hors. Velimir Khlebnikov’s poem “Life” contains the following lines:
          Он умер, подымая бивни,
          Опять на небе виден Хорс.
          Его живого знали ливни —
          Теперь он глыба, он замёрз.

          1. The Russian Primary Chronicle (RPC) year 980 p.96; Die Nestor-Chronik (Laurentian version) D. Tschizewskij ed. (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1969), p.77:

            “And Vladimir began to reign alone in Kiev, and he set up idols on the hill outside the castle: one for Perun, made of wood with a head of silver and moustache of gold, and others of KHORS, Dazbog, Stribog, Simargl, Mokosh.”

          2. Milan
            So, the Russians had an Indo-european religion till 10thy century when the Princes converted out. Probably the old slavic religions would have been alive for few more centuries. Baltic conversion to Christianity was much later

            \ one for Perun, made of wood with a head of silver and moustache of gold, and others of KHORS, Dazbog, Stribog, Simargl, Mokosh.”\
            Perun is cognate with Parjanya , a vedic god. Parjanya is invoked to bring rain
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwNSkgSrIfc ;
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTncwchG62w

            bog for god in Slavic languages is cognate with bhaga

            The divine nature of a deiWed *bhagos ‘apportioner’ is secure only in Indo-Iranian (Skt
            bha´ga-, Av baga-, the latter of which was borrowed into Slavic to provide the
            standard word for ‘god’, bogu˘); – Adams, D.Q., Mallory, J.P. -The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World

          3. Pretty good VV. IE religion is actually the old Serbian (i.e. Slavic) religion. Russian name started mentioning in the 8th.c.AC. This introduction of Christianity is a huge topic I may write some things when becomes relevant here. I think that ‘bog’ (God) came from Serbian to ‘Indo-Iranian’, not in the opposite direction. I may also write about this because the next discussion topic is the similarity btw Serbian and Hindu mythology.

            As a movie buff, you may be interested in a movie Andrei Rublev (1966) from A. Tarkovskiy. This is one of the best movies and you have probably already seen this already. One segment is about pagans and their conversion which lasted for centuries and it was very bloody.

            There is a short review with movie clips (18 min) in English.

            Essential Films Andrei Rublev (1966) 18 min review:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5HjLYgwzgA

  6. between, have you considered the rise of Neo-Hinduism under Adi Shankara has something to do with degradation of social cohesion and meritocracy, which indirectly affected the military abilities to repulse new foreign power. one forgets Arabs were beaten on numerous occasion in 7th century by Indian entities.

  7. // Turks and Muslims more general had ready and easy access to warhorses. //

    I agree, even in ancient India & in Hindu texts we find Horses having special position in rituals, warfare etc. but reliance of horses from central Asia always remained.

    Another major factor was coherent or organized belief system which allowed Islamic empires to thwart resistance by calling each other for help even when they had internal major theological disagreements. It resulted in upending of old infrastructures in favor of the new Islamic infrastructure & these institutions favored the empires in return. {As R Eaton notes in book India in Persianate age Indians continued to use Turushkas whereas Muslims clearly had identity sense among their ranks}.

    Last but not least indigenous resistance was always regional or local {Maratha, Sikhs, Ahoms etc.} This meant that each region evolved it’s own indigenous ways thus the responses were diverse & were not coordinated towards one goal esp. due to lack of a coherent ‘identity’.

    According to me these were the major factors which allowed Islamic rule to sustain for so long in India.

    1. @Walter

      The Brits defeated the Marathas, Sikhs and Gorkhas to gain their Indian Empire (and their local recruits – Poona Horse, Gorkhas and Sikh Regiments of the Royal Indian Army). Bahador Shah was a mere figurehead of the sepoy mutiny. Turks were in irreversible decline from Aurangzeb’s lifetime and he died on campaign. Though calling them Turks is not quite right as they had non-trivial Indian genetic and cultural inheritance by Auzy’s time (though likely didn’t admit it etc)

      1. The Marathas were dead men walking after being crushed by the Durranis, they weren’t really a threat to anyone besides themselves.

        The principal obstacles to British conquest in India, according to most British sources, were first the “Mughal Triumvirate” (alliance of Mughals and Nawabs of Awadh and Bengal), then the Mysore Sultans, and last the Sikhs.

        Below is a useful map that shows the political situation in India on the even of British conquest.

        https://miro.medium.com/max/3016/1*I1eWeuGNykr07da9yjqScw.png

        1. what sources? Curious. Marathas seem to have biggest chunk of land there. And didn’t first Anglo Maratha war not go so bad?

          This question is also openly motivated by the fact that you routinely express hatred for N Indian Hindus, so I do feel you have tendency to disparage anything they revere and play up those groups who fit your Punjabi ethnonationalist-islamoapologist tendencies

        2. Just pointing out that this is a wildly inaccurate map, like anything that comes from that idiot Araingang. Just an observation, don’t want to argue.

          @INDTHINGS
          Quick questions:
          1) Were the Chinese really in Arunachal? I read that they were never there.
          2) Was the Nawab of Bengal meaningfully aided by the Mughals or Awadh in Plassey.
          3) In Buxar it was Awadh+Rohilla vs the Brits. Did others really bring in any substantial army. The Senapati/Sipahsalar was the Mughal army’s Baloch guy Najaf Khan but by 1764 did Mughals have any power left?

          Random uneducated musings of a poorly-read person:

          1) Nizams were clever, didn’t help Mughals, screwed over the Marathas, Mysore and had fingers deep into Arcot which in due time he might have swallowed whole.
          2) Mughals were finished as early as Nadir Shah’s invasion. Marathas were winning so it is unlikely they would have relented but Mughals unnecessarily kept screwing with Sikhs instead of making them a cuck-ally like the Rajputs. So much incompetence cannot go unnoticed.

          https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/the-blinding-of-a-mughal-emperor-1567148880060.html

          “Furious, Ghulam Qadir turned on the imperial family, which for all its bloody intrigues had never quite experienced what he now decided to unleash. Princes of royal blood, including sons and grandsons of Shah Alam, were dressed in drag and made to dance for the Rohilla troops. The emperor’s daughters were stripped, raped and humiliated. Even Malika-i-Zamani, the formidable widow of a previous emperor, Dalrymple writes, was left naked in the hot sun after failing to deliver to Ghulam Qadir the riches he believed she possessed. And finally, bringing to his presence Shah Alam himself, the “ferocious ruffian” had the emperor blinded. In some accounts, in fact, he sits himself on Shah Alam’s chest, scooping out the old man’s eyes with a dagger.”

          1. Bhimrao,

            The map is more or less accurate, what it probably gets wrong is the extent to which periphery areas are part of major empires. Large parts of Odisha and Chattisgargh shown as Maratha Bhonsale territory were tribal areas that were virtually independent. Arunachal Pradesh was nominally a part of Tibet, so technically under Qing control, but in practice was autonomous.

            Yes the Mughals, Awadh, and Bengal teamed up against the British. Where the Mughals of 17th century India were able to repulse the British from India, 100 years later after their Empire had fractured into various warring states, they failed (though apparently the conflict was a close one), which opened India up to British conquest.

        3. Marathas also were defeated after Mysore no? And trajectory wise Sikhs lost land the same step wise way to British successively

          And a lot of Afghan resistance in general seems heavily terrain related. This is true for even recent wars

        4. The principal obstacles to British conquest in India, according to most British sources, were first the “Mughal Triumvirate” (alliance of Mughals and Nawabs of Awadh and Bengal), then the Mysore Sultans, and last the Sikhs.

          yeah. but in a counter-facutal Muslim minority regimes are going to be as sustainable as the dogra rule of kashmir. it wouldn’t. the french showed the world what national mobilization could do, and everyone else just followed suit. even the super-sinicized manchus were overthrown.

          1. I mean, as late as 1857 in North India, an 80% Hindu Brahmin and Kshatriya army revolted against the British and died trying to reinstate the Mughal Empire. A couple decades earlier a Potohari Muslim faction was massacred by the British for trying to reinstall the recently dissolved Sikh Empire.

            Broad strokes of history you are right, but people underestimate just how little these things mattered until relatively recently (minorities ruling majorities)

          2. And yet …
            “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our ***Hindu*** friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality; and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits and is the cause of more of our troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literature[s]. They neither intermarry nor interdine together, and indeed they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects [=perspectives?] on life, and of life, are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, their heroes are different, and different episode[s]. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise their victories and defeats overlap.”

            Hunting with the hounds, running with the hares are we?

            Why should Muslims have all the fun? Think on your sins.

          3. Bhimrao,

            There is no gotcha here. The Hindu Nationalists and Muslim League of the early 1900’s existed in a much different environment than what existed in India before the mid 19th century.

            Jinnah and the Muslim League were truly visionary for seeing past Nehru and the Congress elite’s, “secular India” nonsense, and looking at the Hinduvada ideology that was nesting amongst the masses. Were it not for their success in carving out Pakistan, many more South Asian Muslims would be suffering under the Cow Rashtra.

          4. “Jinnah and the Muslim League were truly visionary for seeing past Nehru and the Congress elite’s, “secular India” nonsense, and looking at the Hinduvada ideology that was nesting amongst the masses. Were it not for their success in carving out Pakistan, many more South Asian Muslims would be suffering under the Cow Rashtra.”

            INDTHINGS – thats like a self fulfilling prophecy – Hindu nationalism gets more than half its energy from Pakistan.
            No one knows how things would’ve panned out had their been no partition. Rise
            Your so called Cow Rashtra jibe – is impossible to create without Idea of Pakistan, I guess thats why Hindutva is called REACTionary – coz theyre always reacting to primarily Islam.

          5. Gaurav,

            Hinduvada predates not just the creation of Pakistan, but the Pakistan movement itself. Its a reactionary movement largely crafted by the British and taught to Hindus in the wake of the Indian Rebellion, as a way of ensuring Muslims and Hindus never again joined hands to overthrow the British.

            The Pakistan movement was one part a reaction to this movement, and another part Muslim Nationalism that was sweeping across much of the Muslim world during the period.

          6. //Were it not for their success in carving out Pakistan, many more South Asian Muslims would be suffering under the Cow Rashtra.//

            What a bunch of baloney, said the Bengalis. Two nation theory of Jinnah is an utter failure, it was nothing but a land and power grab by the feudal lords. Pakistan is a country run by fascist Punjabi Muslim army, all the other things are just anecdotal.

        5. “The principal obstacles to British conquest in India, according to most British sources, were first the “Mughal Triumvirate” (alliance of Mughals and Nawabs of Awadh and Bengal), then the Mysore Sultans, and last the Sikhs.”

          indthings, there is a reason why we don’t find of any mention of first anglo-mughal war or second anglo-mugal war in indian history. because there were none. otoh, we are presented with 3 anglo-maratha wars, 2 anglo-sikh wars and 1 anglo-gorkha wars in the road towards the british empire of india. it were these native powers like marathas, sikhs or gorkhas who stood between the british and their future empire of india.

          the “mughal triumvirate” were really a spent force, thoroughly weakened by maratha raids, much before british swept them aside casually. i know these “big 3” muslim powers of north india formed some sort of an alliance, but it was ridiculously ineffectual in front of british. sirajuddaula was finished off in a joke of a battle at plassey (british lost 22 men in exchange for whole of bengal!).

          shuja gave a little bit better fight at buxar, but he also didint have any steam for a second round with british after his defeat. (incidentally, shuja’s power primarily rested on the military strength of hindu naga sadhus! quirks of indian “deep history”).

          the official mughal emperor, shah alam submitted without even a fight, and quietly became of pensioner of bristish under their protection in alahabad. it was left to a maratha prince (mahadji scidhia) to escort him back to his rightful place on the throne of the empire in red fort.

          moral of the story – read “deep history”. not the kind of one you get to read in government high schools of pakistan. you seem to have some taste for history, but superficial reading can lead to misunderstanding. read deeper.

          1. Scorpion,

            I’ve said this before, but I don’t speak or read Urud, and was born and raised in America, to a white mother. Everything I know about history I read from Western sources (historians, academics, journalists, etc).

            Hindus, for some reason, think it is clever to label any information that contradicts their whatsapp history as disinformation from Pakistan. If this helps you sleep at night continue on, just know the rest of the world thinks its a lame thing to do, which only advertises to everyone how insecure you lot are.

          2. …but at the end of the day, what matters is what Indians think of their history, no? Just like Pakistanis are free to make up their own. Its not like in this brave ‘woke’ world any western ‘white’ interpretation of Indian history will be seen as more accurate that Indian ones, however accurate the former be.

            For ‘rest of the world’ its just Indian people ‘reclaiming’ Indian history from the white colonizers.

          3. @INDTHINGS:

            Whatever Scorpion said above is factual and accurate. It’s not a Whatsapp version of history. If you are espousing something different, perhaps you need to check your sources.

          4. @Indthings
            \Hinduvada predates not just the creation of Pakistan, but the Pakistan movement itself. Its a reactionary movement largely crafted by the British and taught to Hindus in the wake of the Indian Rebellion\
            Hindutva was coined by Savarkar who slogged in Andaman prison for 27 years , nearly as much as Nelson mandela. No Hindu or even any Indian would go along with Pakistani troll that Hindutva was crafted by the Brirish. Is IK your mentor? Meanwhile it was Jinnah who was bootlicking British by refusing to join Quit India movement and for which he was handsomely rewarded with Pakistan. Jinna was part of the British Indian establishment who generally stayed away from anti British protests and was just waiting for his pound of flesh when the British left, by blackmailing Congress – which was successful

            BTW according to Pakistani view Md b Qasim was the first Pakistani and he startd the Pakistani movement – so all this talk of Hindutva is moot,.

      2. i use the word ‘turk’ kind of vaguely. a lot of these ppl were persianate and had other ethnic associations. but the turkic cultural milieu is what drove it and that’s what i mean

        1. @Razib

          “a lot of these ppl were persianate and had other ethnic associations.”

          I think that’s a fair description; many of them were Pashtuns. The Khilji, the Lodhi, the Suri, etc, all come to mind.

          Considering the Pashtun angle, one could even title this post “Why East Iranians and Turks ruled India for so long”.

          Regardless, my primary interest in this involves a contextualization of the process within the broader history of East Iranian invasion/conquest of Greater India.

          ^ Basically, in a simplified sense the Pashtuns were the last articulation of a historical pattern dating back to the Indo-Saka. And I think the arrival of broadly Turkic conquerors (and the Islamic angle in all of this) plays a bit of a role in obscuring this older East Iranian history (Indo-Saka, Kushans, Hepthalites, and Pashtuns).

          PS: I know that there’s controversy concerning the question of whether Kushans and Hepthalites were totally East Iranian. Based on what I’ve read though, I think East Iranian identification makes sense, especially with the Hepthalites (whom are likely to be directly ancestral to Pashtuns).

          1. // Turkic conquerors (and the Islamic angle in all of this) plays a bit of a role in obscuring this older East Iranian history (Indo-Saka, Kushans, Hepthalites, and Pashtuns) //

            The Turkic invasions did not have the same effect. The śaka-s, kuśāna-s, hūna-s assimilated. The śaka-s were the first to commission Sanskrit inscriptions (they even created a new saMdhi rule to render the voiced sibilant /z/ in Sanskrit!), the kuśāna-s responsible for exporting Buddhism into C Asia (and vasudeva converted to Hinduism), hūna-s founded Srinagar and were responsible for the birth of Kashmiri Shaivism.

  8. This makes sense to me. The annihilation of the Mamluke cavalry in the Battle of Pyramids by Napoleon’s infantry is seen by some as the end of the horse lords.

    Also, long horse – short Indian was one of the most liquid trades in the C Asian slave markets, and its liquidity ebbed with the fall of the Moghals and rise of local powers and English colonial administration.

  9. have you considered the rise of Neo-Hinduism under Adi Shankara has something to do with degradation of social cohesion and meritocracy, which indirectly affected the military abilities to repulse new foreign power. one forgets Arabs were beaten on numerous occasion in 7th century by Indian entities.

    unlikely. the arabs were beaten cuz they were at the edge of their supply lines of control. india was seriously raided by the ghaznavids who were based in afghanistan.

  10. When Joe Biden was a professor at Penn, he was asked by a student why is the military budget so high. His answer was that we don’t want to fail in the face of new technology the way native Americans suffered at the hands of the Spanish cavalry in the Inquisition, so we have to be first to create new technologies. That was the first time I realized just how crucial horses are. Makes sense that Mongols and Turks with an abundance of horses beat most armies in their way. Although, if I’m not wrong, isn’t the success of the Mughal empire explained more by gunpowder than their cavalry

    1. Although, if I’m not wrong, isn’t the success of the Mughal empire explained more by gunpowder than their cavalry

      yeah but horses are important to drag stuff like artillery around. they were the trains of the pre-19th century world

  11. It wasn’t just horses. India did not think of itself as a separate, distinct nation which needed to throw out an invader for the sake of national honour. That feeling only coalesced under British rule, they were too foreign and adamant about remaining a separate ruling caste.

        1. You mean the benevolent liberator of Indus-people Silah-Al-Din of noble Syed ancestry? 🙂

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silhadi

          It seems that converts from Ganga-doab have always been the most venomous and zealous, perhaps their shame makes them go overboard. Classic Brahmins, convoluted, immoral and shameless.

    1. @Ali
      Barely anyone saw itself as a nation that needed to throw out external invaders in premodern Asia (maybe Japs/cīna-s? I don’t know..)

      La Marseillaise going on about aux armes citoyens marchon-ing to ensure the sang impur abreuves the nos sillons was a French fashion that caught on.

      1. Barely anyone saw itself as a nation that needed to throw out external invaders in premodern Asia (maybe Japs/cīna-s? I don’t know..)

        yes. japan, china, korea. to some extent vietnam. basically Confucian bureaucratic theory predisposed these to be proto-nation-states. their elites were united under an ideology of rule that was more than just rent-seeking/extraction.

        even when you look to Thailand or burma or Cambodia, they had core ethnicities, but were not bureaucratized. the nation was basically based on the king and their personality

  12. India did not think of itself as a separate, distinct nation which needed to throw out an invader for the sake of national honour.

    what is your counterpoint? the Chinese did think of themselves that way but kept getting conquered by horse-people. the Russians did too.

    1. China sinicised successive barbarian invaders into their culture and they became part of the furniture. Russia got rolling with breaking Tatar power in the mid 1500s and were only stopped from turning Istanbul into Tsargrad by the intercession of the British in the late nineteenth century.

      1. “China sinicised successive barbarian invaders into their culture”
        Even we did that (Indianized) to our non muslim ones like the Kushans, Indo-Scythians, Ahoms etc

        1. These ‘sinicised barbarians’ who, for e.g., came 2500 before Chinese to Xinjiang and Tarim Basin, who founded at least one dynasty, who gave the name to Chinese, were ancient Serbs. They had on&off relationships and often wars for almost 1000 years. Sometimes they protected Chinese villages from Mongols and Chinese paid them for this. I mentioned above that these ‘barbarians’ even organised ancient horse races with betting.

          Chinese population grew and at some stage Serbs had to escape to Siberia (which got name from them), some remained and later got assimilated (there are youtube clips about their Euro-looking descendants). Some tried to return to their old homeland in Europe and this trip lasted for hundreds of years and many remained on the way in Iran and Anatolia. It was found one old book of their ritual songs from their Asian homeland. Chinese do not hide and write phd theses about ‘northern people’ who came and lived amongst them during ancient times. There are thousands of Serbian toponyms in Tibet and China.

    2. ” the Russians did too”

      Not really. But Russia and Russian History begin in the 14th Century (a couple of millennia after China) when the Golden Horde granted the title of Grand Duke of Moscow to Daniel a younger son of Alexander Nevsky, and the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church relocated to Moscow after a period in Vladimir. Daniel’s great-grandson Dimitry Donskoy became the first to push the Turks back. After that it was pretty much all in favor of the Russians.

    3. Pardon my lack of knowledge but if the power of war horses and horse nomads was of key importance and both the Indian subcontinent and China both faced being ruled by them, why does it seem like they left more of a cultural/linguistic/architectural/religious etc. impact on the former?
      Turco-Persian elements just seem more culturally dominant in India than the equivalent (e.g. Turkic-Machu-Mongol) for China. For example, people think of Mughlai food like kebabs etc. in Indian cuisine even down to very tropical rice cultivating areas way more than the equivalent influence on Chinese cuisine. I don’t know that much about linguistics but it seems like something like the Mandarin language is far less influenced by Turkic/Mongolian/Manchu elements under kings of steppe origin than Hindi/Urdu became full of Persian, Arabic, Turkic ones.

      Delhi and Beijing both bear the history of both resisting and giving in to horse nomads but today it seems the nomads’ folkways have less lasting power comparatively on Beijing. And the influence of the nomads seems to decline much more rapidly with distance from the steppe (the nomads’ folkways extended more into South India than say South China though actually the former is more tropical). I’m thinking say Hyderabadi vs. Cantonese.

      Is it partly geographical isolation (South Asia seems thousands of years ago from the Indo-European days or earlier even to the Pleistocene more connected to West/Central Eurasia/the steppe)? Is it because much of India is climactically drier for parts of the year than China? But aren’t China and India equally vulnerable to the steppe? The strong bureaucratic central identity (e.g. a Han identity that sinicizes their nomadic invaders more than the S. Asian ethnic identities Indianizes their nomadic invaders)?

  13. I mean, as late as 1857 in North India, an 80% Hindu Brahmin and Kshatriya army revolted against the British and died trying to reinstate the Mughal Empire. A couple decades earlier a Potohari Muslim faction was massacred by the British for trying to reinstall the recently dissolved Sikh Empire.

    yeah, i know this. but i think this is due to the fact that the British “froze” things. the mughals ceremonially lasted longer than they would have otherwise.

    as an analogy: the kalash kafir would have been forcibly islamicized without the British too.

    1. Yeah, i am genuinely surprised by knowledgeable folks believing this whole Bollywood-esque “Hindu subjects restoring their muslim ruler” trope. Somehow they are able to parse details on all other events, but 1857 they somehow hit a brickwall on the reasons to why the half dead Mughal king was nominally accepted to lead.

      On second thoughts, perhaps i am not that surprised….

      1. Saurav,
        I see the 18th century propping up of Mughals or Larger support to Bahadur Shah quite similar to Congressmen propping up the Gandhis – Its more about not wanting others to lead or agreeing on a figurehead and getting on with other aims

        1. As Manu Joseph says the reason y Gandhis lead the Congress 2day, is because they are every Congress men 2nd best option, the 1st being themselves. The power of 2nd best . Similarly a half dead mughal figurehead suited every faction of 1857 needs.

          The point is not that though. u get it y he was chosen, i get it y he was chosen. But somehow lot of other folks don’t get it, or act as if they dont get it. Very same folks who sort of read authentic ‘white’ historians while others like us read ‘brown’ watsapp history.

          1. “Very same folks who sort of read authentic ‘white’ historians while others like us read ‘brown’ watsapp history.”
            Lol 😛

  14. China sinicised successive barbarian invaders into their culture and they became part of the furniture. Russia got rolling with breaking Tatar power in the mid 1500s and were only stopped from turning Istanbul into Tsargrad by the intercession of the British in the late nineteenth century.

    the Russian case sounds plausible. but from other stuff I’ve read i’m not so sure. russia really was not too good at projecting west/south compared to east/north.

    i think ppl underestimate the nature of some supply lines and how they constrain things. the Russians pushed into the Balkans as early as 18th century but the ottomans kept fending them off. i think the ‘sick man’ trope overestimates how weak the ottomans were at the core

    1. The Balkans are mountainous and poor. The Russians (i.e. Moscow) first wanted Ukraine which is a rich plain. They took it from Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth in the second half of the 17th Century. The main Russian struggle with the Turkish remnants was over control of the Black Sea littoral. By the 19th Century that was a European issue (Crimean War). The Turks were by-standers.

      The Russians have a tendency to retcon East European history as if, of course, the natural boundaries of Russia are those of the Soviet Union in 1950. Russia was a stitch up that started in Moscow in the early 14th Century and expanded vi et armis for the next 6 centuries under the Rurikids, Romanovs, and Soviets.

  15. Were it not for their success in carving out Pakistan, many more South Asian Muslims would be suffering under the Cow Rashtra.

    a Muslim population 3x larger % wise would change a lot of things and alliances/configurations. i doubt India would be as hindu as it is today in cultural as well as literal terms. and with first-past-the-post they’d get a lot of ppl in the legislature

    (though tbh i personally think partition made things ‘easier’ despite the initial atrocity)

    1. *Ranting, please don’t block*

      “i doubt India would be as hindu as it is today in cultural as well as literal terms.”

      Come on give us a break. Why the hurry in seeing us go extinct? Why all the burden of morality on us alone? Have patience Arabization of India will happen in due time. Creeping spread of Islam is irreversible, native Indian religious traditions have already receded from Sindh and Potohar, let us see what remains by the end of this century in Bangladesh.

      And what is this fixation on Muslim’s loss? This is the dumb idea Maulana Azad used to sell us as if we have cow-dung in our heads not to see the blatant land-grab and aggression of Muslims. We are supposed to sympathize that divided Muslims don’t get to screw the rest of India. Fuck these guys, voted in masses to break their own country, caused riots/mass-migration, got two muslim majority countries to toy with, collude with Arabs, Americans, even the Chinese to screw us over and exterminated all others when in majority and you want to sympathize at their loss? Should all Hindus just die to prove that we are nice people?

      I have stocked popcorn to see what happens with Europe when numbers of peacefuls increases.

      1. why don’t nonmuslims have more children?

        most ppl are not aware in the early19th century Christians had more children (TFR) than muslims in the ottoman empire. in 20th century indians had more children than native fijians in fiji (changed later).

        the anger of hindus about muslims often seems stronger than the love of hindus of their own religion. i certainly read a lot more about it on these comments (there are exceptions)

        Have patience Arabization of India will happen in due time.

        does ranting give you cart blanche to be retarded? well, i guess kabir serves as a precedent for that…

        1. “why don’t nonmuslims have more children?”
          Because they aren’t as poor/uneducated? That affects birth rate more than religion. Iran’s ayatollahs would kill for their country to have Bihar’s birth rate.

          1. right. though i will say when you *correct* for that there are often differences. additionally, there are exceptions. e.g., haredi jews. in Israel they reduced child allotment and Muslim arabs reduced fertility. haredi did not! they just got poorer

            the main point is hindu paranoia and fear is kind of tiresome and often retarded. a sort of “i’m a born loser” attitude crops up on these message boards and online in general. instead. of positive it’s always reactive. which is fine, but when everyone does this, and I’ve been reading the same stupid stuff for 20 years it gets old

            (also, the morons who type India will. be majority Muslim by 2050 or something else innumerate; i used to think they were lying but realized they’re just dumb and can’t count)

          2. Razib – its they can’t count when they’re afraid.
            🤣.

            I have had almost 10 hour discussions over weeks explaining what you alluded to in above comment. 10 hours and I hardly converted 10% of my audience.

            The smart repartee to this explanation when understood from those guys is – that they fear lot of pockets getting above the comfortable threshold of 15-20%. And this imbalance is what the more enumerate folks fear.

        2. @Razib
          I will backtrack on what I said, it does sound retarded but I did forewarn I was ranting so you could have just ignored it.

          On Arabization:

          1) I don’t have the numbers to back this up but Burqa is on the rise.
          2) How else would you explain the reverence brown Muslims have for even non-religious Arabic figures and pride in acts of foreign Muslims (albeit non Arabic) against even their coreligionist natives not just Hindus. Or the pride in Arab ancestry?

          1. I’m a nerd. The burqa is turanian. Not arab. Arabs wear Abaya. A lot of hindus talk about Islam the way indthings talks about hinduism: at the level of Wikipedia summaries. You think I’m supposed to take this seriously?

            Muslims are becoming more conservative. But that’s not arabicization.

  16. ts a reactionary movement largely crafted by the British and taught to Hindus in the wake of the Indian Rebellion,

    where do you get the british part? this sounds like the idea that ahmaddiya is also a British conspiracy

  17. Agree with Indthings, its unfortunate that Partition didn’t lead to more population transfer. Sadly too few Muslims saw how much visionary Jinnah was. With just couple of ethnicities (Sindhi Mohajirs,Bengalis) outside the fold the nation has had a hard time sustaining itlself, b4 it broke apart. Think of what mayhem all the other muslim ethnicities who would have gone there and be squeezed in that narrow corridor b/w Afghanistan and India.

  18. in the *the making of the muslim world* author (a turk) argues ‘indian muslims’ were the real leaders of creating the identity of the ummah in the 19th and early 20th centuries. if it’s reactive to hindus, that means hindus created the ummah

    1) i don’t think you are right tho willing to check your cite about rxn

    2) i also don’t accept the thesis of the book though it makes some interesting points and is not false on t he face of it

    1. That would make sense though, Indian muslims in the 20th century were the largest pops in minority status, so they would coalesce towards a larger pan national identity. Jinnah went to Egypt talking abt how muslim nations should come together to resist the oncoming ‘Hindu imperialism’ .

      A bit like the seeds of Hindu nationalism were in Punjab and Bengal where Hindus were minorities but still in sufficient numbers.

  19. the cultural evolution literature suggests that ‘marchland/conflict zones’ engender social cohesion and identity

    this is one reason i think the gangetic plain has tended to punch below weight until recently in some areas socially: it’s a “core zone” so more atomized

  20. Indhings
    Your pt of British hand might be technically true; but it’s not the initially amber that causes a fire but the fuel and the oxygen.

    I agree with what Razib said about – Hindutva today is largery about Fear of Islam and Muslims ( some legitimate some paranoid) and much less about Hindu self assertion. The whole Hindu self assertion is a largely elite exercise with moderate to mild supportt in masses. People don’t even really care about the other great monotheism – Christianity ( no matter how much outrage one sees on twitter) – masses continue to be ChristoPhilic. Support for the Hindu rashtra which grants extra privileges to Muslims would be more unpopular than a non religious state which keeps a vary eyes on Muslims. Ppl don’t care about Cows and Other Hindutva tropes. It’s just the Elephant in the room.

    The Hindutva ascendancy today is inconceivable without the Spectre of Terror since the Ethnic cleansing of Kashmir. We have all witnessed hardcore Congress style secularists turn Saffron since the 90s and especially after the Shah Bano and Kashmir crisis.

    Pakistan’s machinations (esp 26/11) cannot be understated. Modi made a lot of milage for himself even before November of 2008 ended. He was everywhere attacking the Congress and started getting noticed.

    On a larger scale sort of makes me think of the Kamsa(Krishna’s uncle) / Voldemort trop – you fear something and by fearing that and acting you actually make your fear Realise.

    1. Parts of your comment appear to be contradictory. I think it is the Hindu masses that fear Islam and Muslims and care much less about Hindu self assertion. Like you point out, it is Hindutva that deeply cares about issues like cow protection and conversions to Christianity. Other issues like getting the government out of temples, reducing education in English, changing the history taught in schools are all aims of the Hindutva movement. These are strongly linked to an increasing self assertion by Hindus. Yes, there is a disproportionate emphasis on Islam and Muslims and that’s because they are the biggest threat to Hindutva. In fact, many people have joined the Hindutva movement because of Islam and they end up supporting the Hindutva stance on other issues in due time. Islam is and will remain the gateway to Hindutva for the foreseeable future.

  21. If i may, to provide a middle path, Hindutva is both anxiety( fear is a strong word) of muslims/Islam and self assertion/confidence post the 90s. I have met folks who represent either.

    The anxiety folks were pre 2014 folks, recently i see the movement now mirroring a Republican-ist Christian movement with less focus on religious. Lot of new folks are less bothered about Islam/muslim, but more high on “Hindu/Indian pride” . Since the folks at the top are still older guys as well as the movement is in transition, which allows folks to read whatever from the movement.

    1. Let me make my contradictory sounding statement clearer;
      Yes I concur with Saurav ; hindutva is about both.

      But there r two things in Hindutva-
      1. People who actively espouse Hindutva – RSS – BJP – Internet Hindu, etc etc – still a very small minority. Core ideological ppl.
      2. People who support/ voted BJP / aren’t that ideological. – almost entire non Muslim community in India.

      1 care about both aspects of Hindutva IMO.
      2 by and large don’t give a deep enough shit about 2 to get riled up but are increasingly concerned about 1 and larger points like Nationalism / countries self image etc. These are the ppl who make current political realities possible not the core ideological ppl.

      1. Yeah, I agree with much of that. I would suggest that we only label category 1 Hindutva and don’t use that term while referring to category 2.

        2 by and large don’t give a deep enough shit about 2 to get riled up but are increasingly concerned about 1 and larger points like Nationalism / countries self image etc.

        Are you saying that category 2 is moving away from category 1 and is concerned about category 1? I would have thought that the recent support on issues like 370, Ram Mandir as well as opinion polls suggest that category 2 is moving closer to category 1.

        1. I mean 2 is moving towards 1. Ppl in 2 are increasingly getting concerned about 1 agenda (core Hindutva agenda) but even here imo Islam is a great catalyst.

          I don’t see this happening with Christianity – even though they are also going around carries nefarious activities and coercive conversions – but ppl like the goodies they get – Good education by missionaries, charity (though intentions r ulterior). End product isn’t that detrimental in normal ppl perspective at the moment.

        2. And I don’t see removal of 370 as a Hindutva pt. Its a nationalistic point which has much more takers than core Hindutva.
          I for one never for a second believed it’s removal was wrong ( I can nitpick about details of implementation) but wholeheartedly support BJP on 370.

  22. Razib,

    Regarding the British creating Hinduvada, I’m being generalist. To be specific, they fashioned the narrative nearly all Hindus adhere to in the modern period. Basically, that Hindus are the people leftover from Muslim conquest who despite facing 1000 years of genocide continue to exist. Theirs is a history of tragedy, their once advanced golden civilization before Islam being thrust into the dark ages after Turkish arrival, their lives being a parade of temple destruction, forced conversions, and Jizya. While both found themselves under the thumb of the British, the Musulman could never make common cause with the Hindu, as ultimately he was preparing for the day he could once again raise the banner of Jihad over India once more.

    Hinduvada is the natural outgrowth of such an ideology. Muslims are the enemy who ruined Cow Rashtra, Cow Rashtra must be revived, and can only be done so once the Muslims are dead or converted to Hinduism. Congress following in the footsteps of the British elite, took the view that Liberal Democracy is the way back to glory for Hindus, but these are details. Both liberal and conserve Hindus accept the same premises, results are dictated by how polite and urbane one is willing to be in addressing the, “original sin”.

    Gaurav,

    Oh the poor Pandits lol. Its true that many collaborators were killed/expelled by Kashmiris, but this is common in freedom struggles (see the treatment of Arab-French collaborators in Algerian Independence war, or American-British collaborators in American Independence war). You ignore what preceded this. The genocide of Muslims in Jammu, the occupation of Kashmir, the rigging of elections, and the massacres following protests.

    1. How does the genocide of non-Kashmiris in Jammu during partition affect the ethnic kashmiri independence struggle? I see this repeatedly asserted and it makes no sense to me. Sure what’s now “Azad” J&K was once part of the princely state of J&K, but there is no ethnic, linguistic, or cultural continuity between that area and the vale of Kashmir. Kashmiris from the valley do not view mirpuris as their own, because, quite frankly, they aren’t. The points you bring up as a sort of justification for what happened to Kashmiri pandits is what I’ve seen espoused by Pakistanis continuously. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that most Pakistanis and certainly the government of Pakistan have little to 0 understanding of kashmir and kashmiris. If they even had the smallest iota of knowledge, they wouldn’t have sent Pashtuns to invade the valley in 1947 given the Kashmiri view of Pashtuns after afghan rule. Most don’t even know Kashmiri pandits exist as I’ve been told to my face my ancestors only recently settled in Kashmir…

        1. You’re right. I just can’t believe there are so many people who try to justify what happened to the KPs. Unbelievable.

          1. I know. But that sort of compartmentalisation is more common than you think. Anyway, it isn’t worth responding to.

        2. As a bit of side note, why is that a lot of KP academics in the West that study Kashmir seem to be sympathetic to the separatist/azaadi narrative (ex. Nitasha Kaul, Mona Bhan, Nishita Trisal)? I remember a KP woman saying that when she approached Nitasha Kaul about the ethnic cleansing of Pandits, Kaul’s reply was to blame it on the BJP/Jagmohan.

          Were they just raised outside of the Kashmir Valley, so they don’t have any firsthand experience or do they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome? It just seems odd that most of the Pandit academics that study Kashmir are sympathetic to the separatist narrative, which is almost completely opposite from the non-academic Pandits I know.

          1. I think the majority of the KP community is not sympathetic to the separatist cause. The majority of the community has gone from supporting congress to being hardcore Hindutva/BJP supporters, some even RSS. I have seen this in the majority of my family. This has also translated into many KPs in the US being trump supporters here as they don’t like the presence of Ilhan Omar, rashida Tlaib, and a general perception of the Democratic Party as Islamist sympathizers and anti-India. There are some more neutral academians (Chitralekha Zutshi), but I think those you are referring to may be more sympathetic basically due to feeling they don’t fit in anywhere and kashmir is the only place they have a claim to, so to speak.

            Pakistanis don’t realize that KPs exist so they just assume all Kashmiris are Muslim leave KPs out. The majority of Indian communities abroad are pretty alien to Kashmiri pandits. I’ve been told to my face that I am not an Indian and I’m a Pakistani by a Telegu-American guy. That actually hurt me. So I think the feeling of not quite belonging to anywhere leads to this sympathy with the separatist movement because it’s an attempt to carve out a place for us. Also, many of them were born and raised for a little time in Kashmir so they feel some affinity to Kashmiri Muslims.

            However, my generation, the generation brought up away from Kashmir, is very vocal about the KP situation and more assured about their place in the Indian (or perhaps, Hindu) diaspora. They have mobilized and started awareness through various student Hindu groups, etc. They also have little to no sympathy for Kashmiri Muslims and distance themselves from them. They are more traditional, religious, and determined to keep the culture alive. Previous generations were more secular, perhaps because their identity wasn’t always threatened. There is a self awareness amongst young KPs that it’s a make it or break it time in terms of survival of the community.

          2. I also forgot to mention two things. Briefly:
            1) they may be reluctant to blame the Kashmiri Muslim community because the Kashmiri Muslims are victims right now and to blame the victims looks insensitive.

            2) the Kashmiri pandit intellectuals in Lahore, Allahabad, Lucknow, and Srinagar were the original pioneers of the independent Kashmir movement (pre partition). This may also be a reason why they are more pro separatist despite the current movement being violent and religious in nature compared to original socialist movement by intellectuals.

          3. ” It just seems odd that most of the Pandit academics that study Kashmir are sympathetic to the separatist narrative, which is almost completely opposite from the non-academic Pandits I know.”

            Tam Brahms of the North

          4. Also lol on the whole telegu American calling a Kashmiri non Indian. Mostly North Indians are the ones giving out certificates to other Indians. Seems like telegus are catching up

          5. “As a bit of side note, why is that a lot of KP academics in the West that study Kashmir seem to be sympathetic to the separatist/azaadi narrative (ex. Nitasha Kaul, Mona Bhan, Nishita Trisal)? I remember a KP woman saying that when she approached Nitasha Kaul about the ethnic cleansing of Pandits, Kaul’s reply was to blame it on the BJP/Jagmohan.

            Were they just raised outside of the Kashmir Valley, so they don’t have any firsthand experience or do they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome? It just seems odd that most of the Pandit academics that study Kashmir are sympathetic to the separatist narrative, which is almost completely opposite from the non-academic Pandits I know.”

            I suspect racism may have a role.

      1. @Kashmiri

        Also, the narrative of genocide in Jammu in 1947 is oversimplified and is way more complicated than that. There were massacres of Hindus/Sikhs in 1947 in that region as well, and a lot of the numbers regarding Muslim deaths in Jammu are really fuzzy. The borders changing w/Pakistani occupation of Kashmir led to inaccuracies in numbers along with conflating migrations w/deaths.

        https://twitter.com/searchkashmir/status/1186699486992551937

        https://sringeribelur.wordpress.com/the-partition-riots-and-attendant-demographic-changes-in-the-state-of-jammu-and-kashmir/

        1. You are right. Unfortunately the entire narrative on Kashmir is simplified as “ India bad, Kashmiri separatists justified”, and western media and its declining use of nuance has only added to this. I am of the belief that the Pakistani government propaganda machine is far more effective than the Indian, hence the aforementioned dominant narrative. What’s left out is context. The sudden influx of AK 47s and related weapons suddenly being found in many households in Kashmir in the late 80’s, use of human shields, etc, and how the army had to deal with that. That isn’t to deny the brutalities the Indian army has definitely committed, but you certainly can’t ignore the ground reality of what’s happening in Kashmir. I wish more people did an in-depth analysis of what exactly happened in the 80s, because it seemingly was like the valley did a 180 overnight. Rigged elections played a part but that is nowhere close to the entire story. To be honest, the entire Kashmiri pandit community still doesn’t understand. It seemed systematic (being shunned slowly over months in their places of work, whispers of terrorist activity, vandalizing of temples, inability to access bank accounts). Every time my poor elderly grandfather goes back to visit, he comes back more confused and all he says is that there are so many layers to what is happening there. Sad.

          1. good to hear a fresh voice on this.
            1. how can kashmiri pandits reestablish their place in kashmir? what does the kp diaspora think.
            2. do the earlier generations of kp migrants have any connection to the valley except their surnames? i was embarrassed when a kp told me that they came out of kashmir in aurangazeb’s time, in an answer to my question as to when they had visited kashmir the last time.

  23. INDTHINGs
    If you truly believe Hindutva is a Reactionary movement byproduct of British divide and rule AND don’t see the role of Islamic conservatism and Pakistan movement playing a major role in Hindutva – I don’t feel there can be useful discussion/debate.

    Take a look around the world – Anti-Islam politics is on the rise across the world. Across Europe and Americas, Australia and even countries like China, Sri Lanka ( leave aside Myanmar). Contrary to these global movements Hindutva is in the forefront cause Hindu grievances (real/perceived) exceeds those of Europeans/Americans/ others by leaps and bounds.

    If you don’t grant this basic and empirically provable point – then I am truly lost for words. Besides the convenient brushing aside of Hindu grievances is really problematic – be it Pandits or otherwise.

    1. \Anti-Islam politics is on the rise across the world.\
      Outside India , anti-Islam politics – politics is a strong word as it is sppressed by the Western establishment – anti-islam sentiment is due to the migration of Muslims and the attendent problems. Even any anti-Muslims sentiments are severely suppressed in western countries as Islamic fundentalims is in cahoots with left-woke crowd. It is going to blow up in a big way in the future.

      The situation is western countries in very different from India where any friction along religious lines is a legacy of history -which can be dealt with – but compounded by the Partition

  24. It is an interesting topic a whole book can be written. Existence or not of horses can uncover many falsifications in history. One example of the above topic is a longevity of Turkish occupation in Balkan. It lasted from 375 years in today’s Serbia up to more tan 400 years in some other parts. Why so long?

    It is important the previous history of so-called Byzantine (artificial term invented in the 16th c. to disguise the fact that it was actually the East Roman Empire. Internal fighting in Constantinople made easy for Turks to get involved. It is unbelievable that ruling (Greek) sides in the conflict invited Turks to fight their opponents. It would be similar to the situation in US if Democrats and deep state who currently organise all protests and mutinies also invite jihadists to help them fighting Trump. Serbian kingdom was the strongest in Europe and their ruler, tzar Dusan, asked the Pope and Europeans to unite and stop Turks who were still weak and just started coming. They could easily force Turks back to Central Asia and the rest of the history would be very different.

    Tsar Dusan offered to Pope that Christian church unites under him (pope). The offer was not accepted. Byzantine powerful people invited Dusan to take the crown of divided Byzantine, which survived a 1000 years after West Roman Empire thanks to Serbian weapons. Few days before Dusan’s arrival to Constantinople and the official crowning for the Roman Emperor, he was poisoned by those who did not like him to come as a ruler. That was a death sentence for the East Roman Empire. It is worth mentioning that Serbs ruled this Empire until the 8th cAC (including Justinian) and that after that Greeks took over and made Byzantine what this symbol means. Vatican and the West Europe were more afraid from Christian Serbs than from Turks and left them on the frontier to bleed for centuries as a defenders of Europe from islam.

    It is interesting that Byzantine had 6 million citizens. From CA only 50-250 thousand (various sources say differently) of Turkish warriors came. The question is who today’s Turks are actually. I think that it is not allowed in Turkey that people research their ancestry. The fact is that many Greeks, Armenian, Serbs converted to islam and it is visible that today’s Turks do not like ‘real’ Central Asian Turks.

  25. In 1389. In Kosovo, there was a decisive battle between Turks and Serbs. It has finished with a Serbian Pyrrhic win which was considered as a defeat. Serbs lost almost all nobility. Decimated Turks withdrew to Anatolia and did not come back in the following 75 years. When they returned, Serbia was defenceless. The number of Serbs at that time was similar to the number of English. There are now about 13 million Serbs worldwide and about 150 million of English worldwide. It was a result of constant genocides conducted by Turks. They were so primitive occupier that they haven’t built anything in 400 years, did not develop any economy, not speaking about any culture, education or anything else. That was the reason for the longevity of their rule – killings, genocides, forced conversions, anti-economic politics which kept locals at barely physical survival. From this primitive, anti-civilisational occupation, Serbs, the oldest and the most advanced European civilisation, has never biologically nor economically recovered.

    Some pictures related to the Kosovo battle:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=bitka+na+kosovu+slika&rlz=1C1GCEA_enAU795AU795&sxsrf=ALeKk03yrXhNYojVVxUaVpxN4sns1_8ccA:1598499810111&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=SzkDrsqIU3LQbM%252CtsKFdkdyd90CGM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kQvyy7H7YqMNAU7mYJgbOeEG8G5Ag&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjLpOvqu7rrAhVpxTgGHcz4B9gQ9QF6BAgJEBw&biw=1517&bih=730#imgrc=84Ps8YXv2R5CgM

  26. The most simplest answer could be that the invading tribalistic forces had the religious zeal/motivation to conquer/plunder the prosperous/culturally advanced civilization whereas indian kingdoms have moved on from militaristic outlook to more artistic/cultural outlook thus neglecting their defense departments.

    1. None of us were there during that period so its all based on what we read (written by individuals). However going by the military code of indian kingdoms (where you respect opposite king/family and their life spared) vs military code of invading forces (opposite king’s head chopped off and take women from that kingdom into their harem’s or raped/killed), you can see how invading forces have certain advantage that indian kings could never match..

      1. //However going by the military code of indian kingdoms (where you respect opposite king/family and their life spared)

        Grand standing aside, in Ramayana, Rama killed Vaali by deception/ from behind the tree, which was a big no-no from code perspective, yet it happened. To think that there is a military code and honor and Kings follow it to death is a bit implausible. Even in a heavily codified country like Japan, the compliance is not 100%.

        1. In war and love , all is fair. Whther Rama killed Vali from behind or not is immaterial. This is the kind of argument some Tamil writers – early forerunners of Dravidian movement – were bringing to prove that Rama did not follow Kshatriya code of fighting as if there is fixed and immutable Kshatriya code , and as if they were standard bearers of that code

          1. Agreed, and that in is my point. Even historically, there was no grandstanding. In fact it is the same reasoning Rama gave to Vali when he accused Rama of treachery- that Vali was an “Aatatai” and he was deserved to be killed by any means.

  27. I would bet the comforte and luxuries the lands of India offered often reduced their X factor over time. Not just with Hindu invaders against Islamic invaders. Muslims who settled in also always lost to newer invaders.

    In terms of military technologically all Indian Monarchs would’ve become lazy, and less competent and hence kept loosing to outsiders.

    I get a feeling that the Moral Hindus lost against Immoral Outsiders too cliche to believe. Looks more like something you make up to give yourself consolation prizes. If I have to bet I would bet on that

  28. Prof. of History Ali Anooshahr at UC Davis evidently agrees with you @Razib regarding the Turks and access to warhorses. I took what a-“mounted” to a whole class on the economics of the horse trade leading to Turkic invasions back in undergrad.

Comments are closed.