If you are unaware of the history of Pre-Islamic India, you can’t imagine how Islam saved human society from degradation, and civilization from disintegration & liberated man from exploitation of priests & tyranny of kings. You’ll not know at all how much Islam contributed for welfare of human race.
A Brief Glance at The History of Pre-Islamic India
I’ll try to show some scars of ancient Indian history. But bear in mind, it’s just the tip of iceberg & drop from the ocean. Let’s have a look:
- The ever-increasing Gods.
- Women or Woo-men
- Land of immorality
- Cruel Caste system
- Poor Shudras
- Unfortunate Shudra-Women
1. Idol worship: ( The ever-increasing Gods)
Even though ‘Vedas’ describe 33 gods but during that period to till date 33 million gods are worshipped: male gods, female gods, personal gods, family gods,household gods, village gods,gods of space and time, gods of specific castes and particular professions, gods who reside in trees, in animals, in minerals, in geometrical patterns and in man-made objects. There is a whole host of demons.
Idol worship is a tool to exploit masses from an old age in India. Their jaundiced views were to support this cruel practice are described below:
-Creator can become creation
-Everything is God that’s why one must worship anything & everything.
-Your Aatma(soul) can become your Parmatma (God) after performing devotional hardship.
-God is only a concept and you can’t provoke Him by any name.
-There’s no difference between G-O-D & D-O-G.
-Sculptures are only for gaining concentration during worship.
-God is nothing but your highest conscious level.
-God resembles to human in appearance.
2.Women or woo-men:
Untruthfulness, rashness, guile, stupidity, avarice, uncleanliness and cruelty are a woman’s seven natural flaws(Chanakya niti)
Indian society is predominantly a male dominated society. Do you know what was the status of hindu women before Islam stamped its marks in India?
Before Islam, hindu women except those who belong to socially well placed families always played a secondary role.
The life of widows was a life of severe hardship. They were not allowed to re-marry. They lived as slave-maids of the brothers of their husbands,or their other descendants. Hindu men had the freedom of polygamy without any limit. Polyandry(more than one husband) was also practiced. Gender inequality was enormous even in the treatment of children.
The women had no financial status. Women as daughters had no right over the joint property of her family. The educational level of women was not at all better. There were many such social issues that displayed “WOMEN RIGHTS WERE NOT HUMAN RIGHTS”.
Vedas’ which contain highly objectionable and condemnable passages concerning women. Taking cue from the ‘Vedas’ authors of subsequent religious scriptures referred to women in more contemptuous form.
¤ ‘Sati pratha’ (custom of burning the widow with the body of her husband)
¤’Dasi Pratha’ (keeping the slave girls),
¤’Niyog Pratha’ (ancient Aryan custom of childless widow or women having sexual intercourse with a man other than husband to beget child), were among cruel customs responsible for the plight of the women.
3.Land of Immorality:
Sexual theme and obscene objects were not something to be ashamed of but something to be proud of in ancient India.Lingam & yoni were worshipped then(& even now). These are clearly audible & visible in religious scriptures as well as religious places.
Chetan Bhagat wrote in his article:
“We weren’t always like this. History scholars would agree that our ancient texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas are quite candid about sex and portray a fairly liberal society. So, what happened? What made India so stuck up? Many theories exist. Some say centuries of rule by conservative Mughal rulers and the puritanical British made us this way. Others say influential Brahmin priests created draconian rules. Whatever the reason, India today is largely conservative.”
Pandit Dayanand Saraswati wrote:
“Some historians say that there was a religious sect in which naked women were worshipped by men and vice versa.”
It’ll be worth to mention that Raja Dahar(King of Sindh) who was badly defeated by Muhammad bin Qasim R.A., had married her step-sister Bai Rani.
These are enough to indicate that vulgarity & nudity was summombonum for them.
4. Caste system ( Heart of Hinduism: The Four Varnas):
The most cruel practice was of caste system in India which is backed by religious scriptures. Hindu religion sanctions the worst form of discrimination based on one’s birth.
The real credit for evolving caste system in hindu society goes to ‘Manu’.He compiled sacred laws of hindu society in a book known as ‘Manu Shastra’ or simply ‘Manusmriti’.
He classified entire Hindu population into four classes:
- the Brahmins or the learned & the priestly class۔
- the Kshatriyas or the fighting & ruling class۔
- the Vaisyas or the trading & agricultural people۔
- the Sudras or the lowest caste people.
The Manu Shastra says:
“The lord created Brahman from His mouth,Kshatriya from His arms,Vaisya from His thighs and Sudra from His feet so that the world may prosper.” [Manu Smriti 1/31]
Apart from Manusmriti this same command appears in Purusha Sukta; Rigveda 10/90/12 and Yajurveda 31/11 and Atharvaveda 19/6/6]
According to this law, though higher in status than the Vaisya and Sudra,the Kshatriya has no status in comparison with the Brahman.Says Manu:
Know that a Brahmana of ten years and Kshatriya of a hundred years stand to each other in the relation of father and son; but between those two the Brahmana is the father. [Manusmriti 2/135]
The Shudras in Hindu society were lower in status than animal and more degraded than dog.
Now see what’s the status of Shudras in Hindu society depicted in religious scripture:
¤ A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed. [Manu 8/281] Caste is by birth.
¤ The Shastras also proclaimed that animals excreta is superior to Shudras because drinking of cows urine would purify the person defined by the touch of Shudra. (Samvart Smriti 183).
¤ Manusmriti says one can atone for the sin of killing animals like cats and dogs by observing the same vow as one does after killing the Shudra. (Manusmriti 11/131).
¤ A Brahmana may confidently seize the goods of (his) Sudra (slave); for, as that (slave) can have no property, his master may take his possessions. [Manu 8/417]
¤But a Sudra, whether bought or unbought, he may compel to do servile work; for he was created by the Self-existent (Svayambhu) to be the slave of a Brahmin. [Manu 8/413]
¤A Sudra, though emancipated by his master, is not released from servitude; since that is innate in him, who can set him free from it? [Manu 8/414]
¤ Ironically, a Shudra is punished even for doing good deeds. Religious preaching was considered to be righteous act. But ‘Manusmriti’ says that hot oil must be poured into the mouth and ear of a Shudra who dares to preach to a Brahmin [Manusmriti 8 / 270 – 271]
¤A Shudra is not to be given good advice. Manu Smriti 4/80 says,
“Let him not give to a Sudra advice, nor the remnants (of his meal), nor food offered to the gods; nor let him explain the sacred law (to such a man), nor impose (upon him) a penance.”
6. Unfortunate Shudras Women:
Those are making hue & cry on status of Muslim women, had forgotten their long history of oppression on women or perhaps pretended to be. Dalit women were being subjected to torture such as:
A) Mulakaram or breast tax. A tax to be paid by Dalit women in Travancore in 1800s, depending on the size of their breasts.(Wikipedia)
B) Shudra women in kerala after their marriage has to sleep with the namboodiri (Brahmah) priest on the first night and have sex with him and only thereafter with their husbands. This was called Sambandam.
C) They were not entitled to wear upper garments to cover breast but to put on a plain piece of cloth, which they had to remove and exhibit their breasts upon seeing a Namboodiri. He would call her if he pleased and she had to respond (Tipu Sultans’s effort to make these women wear blouses was taken as interference in Hindu religion and a bid for forcible conversion).
D)They had to marry within the caste. A marriage of a low caste woman with an upper caste man was called Anuloma and the opposite became Pratiloma. Sons born out of Anuloma marriage had no legal rights and those of pratiloma, limited rights. Daughters of either kind of marriage had not right at all. Marriage between shudres and Muslims was not considered under Hindu low, as Muslims were also considered shudras.
(love Jihad By V.T Rajshekar)
Compiled by: Qazi Ab.Rahmanuddin