Hindu Samrajya Divas – a talk by historian Shri Gajanan Bhaskar Mehandale

Hindu Samrajya Divas was celebrated on 6th June to commemorate the royal coronation (Rajyabhishek) of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. To mark the occasion Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal Shivshambu Vichar Darshan organized a talk by Historian Shri Gajanan Bhaskar Mehendale. The talk is in Marathi and we are reproducing it in English for the benefit of our readers.

Use of the term Hindu Samrajya Divas seems to have irked many so-called liberals and seculars as they have been trying to fit Chhatrapati into their narrow definition of secularism. These days even the word Hindu gets the goat of this lot. However, their propaganda has been aptly destroyed in this talk by Shri Mehendale.

We have translated the Marathi speech of Shri Mehandale for the benefit of our readers.

Introduction

In 1961 during the unveiling of the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Yashwant Rao Chavan had stated that if Shiv Chhatrapati hadn’t established the Maratha kingdom then today Pakistan’s boundaries would have extended right up to our doorsteps meaning a majority of today’s Bharat would have been Islamic.

Shri Mehendale states that for 10 centuries (1000 years) before the rise of Shivaji Maharaj Bharat was ruled by foreign Islamic powers. They are known as Islamic because they have defined themselves as Islamic kingdom. Mehendale defines Hindus as Dharmic Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists.

Three aspects have been covered in this talk, namely Islamic rule in Bharat before the rise of Shiv Chhatrapati, Koranic sanction to the actions of Islamic rulers, and the Hindu Rajya of Maharaj.

Was the Islamic rule based on Koranic sanctions and Prophet Mohammad’s message?

As per Islamic injunctions, one was to engage in battle (Jihad) with the followers of the “book” till such time that they willingly gave jizya or accepted Islam or were killed in the war. However, these three options were only available to Christians and Jews (who were considered followers of the book).

Koran does not allow a true Islamist to accept jizya from a Hindu. Therefore, as far as Hindus were concerned, they either had to accept Islam or death. Although Koran doesn’t permit acceptance of jizya from Hindus, in later times, Islamic scholars in general and Abu Hanifa, in particular, stated that jizya can be accepted from Hindus and considered it a ‘favor’ on Hindus.

In Bharat as well all Islamic dynasties including the Mughals levied jizya on their Hindu population. Although Akbar is said to have abolished jizya, Aurangzeb re-introduced the levy in order to ensure that Islam is propagated and the practice of Hindu Dharma comes to an end. This intention of Aurangzeb is mentioned in no uncertain terms in his biography Maasir-I-Alamgiri by Saqi Must’ad Khan.

Maasir-I-Alamgiri quotes Aurangzeb as saying that the main intention of jizya is to bring an end to the “religion of the kafirs” and ensure that a majority of people are converted to Islam. Another aim of jizya as clarified by Mughal Era Sufi Scholar Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi is to insult ‘kafirs’. Koranic injunction says that ‘kafirs must pay the jizya with humility’.

In the context of jizya, it is pertinent to quote a conversation between Alauddin Khilji and Kazi Moisuddin. When Khilji asked the Kazi to explain what the Islamic law (Sharia) says about levying jizya. The Kazi explained that Islamists had the right to collect jizya from ‘kafirs’ as a special favour to them and that it must be given with humility. He also mentions that if the jizya collecting official feels like spitting on the ‘kafir’ then the latter should open his mouth without objection.

Mehandale states that there are many other atrocities mentioned by the Kazi and this proves that the intention of collecting jizya was to insult the non-believers (Hindus). He further states that many Islamic scholars were against jizya because they believed that Hindus must be given only two options, namely accept Islam or die.

Giving another example of how jizya was meant to demean Hindus, Mehandale talks about Iltutmish. A delegation of Islamic scholars went to Iltutmish stating that he was allowing Hindus to get away by paying jizya to which one of his ministers replied that since their numbers were very less they cannot afford to impose Islam at that point in time. The scholars accepted the argument but left only after getting an assurance that Iltutmish would at least humiliate Hindus.

Rubbishing claims made by some seculars who say that the aim behind levying jizya was neither religious nor meant as an insult to Hindus but only because Hindus were given facilities and protection by Islamic rulers, Mehandale cites that all Islamic rulers have themselves confirmed that they are charging jizya as per Islamic injunctions and teachings of the Prophet.

Further, he states that Maasir-I-Alamgir also takes the support of the Ayat (Koranic verse) to levy the religious tax. As mentioned earlier several Islamic scholars have confirmed the religious nature of the tax. Shri Mehandale confirms that the Ayat mentioned by all Islamic scholars and rulers is the lone Koranic verse regarding jizya. In addition, Mehandale also believes that if jizya wasn’t Islamic, those levying it would not have insisted that ‘kafirs’ have to come personally and that too on foot only to pay the tax.

We shall bring to you the other aspects of Islamic rule as explained by Shri GB Mehandale in the subsequent parts of this series.

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About the Author

Maitri
A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.