By Masood Alam Falahi
(Translated From Urdu by Yoginder Sikand, for NewAgeIslam.com)
(Part 4 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman (‘Casteism Among Muslims in India’))
Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1
URL of Part 1: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims-Part 1-The domination of-high-caste Muslims that parallels the Hindu case/d/3611
Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism
URL of Part 2: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/caste-and-caste-based-discrimination-among-indian-muslims---part-2--indian-muslim-society-in-the-shadow-of-casteism-/d/3616
Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India
URL of Part 3: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/caste-and-caste-based-discrimination-among-indian-muslims---part-3--the-impact-of-the-aryan-invasion-of-india/d/3619
It is a law of nature that when oppression reaches its zenith, people begin to rise up in revolt. Oppressed people raise their voice and protest, refusing to accept their conditions. Yet, there is no guarantee that their revolutionary stirrings will necessarily succeed. This is precisely what happened in the case of numerous revolutionary movements that emerged against Brahminism in the early period of Indian history. The Shudras and a large section of the Vaishyas were, from the very beginning, victims of the oppression of the Brahmins and, therefore, harboured deep resentment against them. The Kshatriyas had entered into an alliance with the Brahmins, patronising the latter in return for the religious sanction they received from them for their rule. Yet, a large section of the Kshatriyas became increasingly resentful of Brahminical hegemony and despotism. This was reflected, for instance, in the emergence of powerful anti-Brahminical movements led by Mahavir and Gautam Buddha, both of them scions of ruling Kshatriya clans.
Jainism and Buddhism
It is not clear if Mahavir was committed to ending untouchability. Unlike the Buddha, he did not mount a radical critique of the caste system, although, to begin with, all castes were welcome, at least in theory, in the Jain fold. It seems that Mahavir did not disagree with the Brahminical theory that birth in a particular caste is determined by actions in one’s previous life or lives.
In contrast to Mahavir, the Buddha launched a frontal attack on the caste system, and welcomed people of all castes to the community that he spawned. Yet, he proved unable to extirpate the caste system, which, by then, had become deeply-rooted in the Indian psyche. It cannot be said that destroying the caste system was his principal concern or mission, but it is true that the ideology ofvarna was not the basis of the society he wanted to bring into being. Undeniably, the Buddha powerfully decried casteism and Brahminical chauvinism and insisted on love and concern for all creatures. The Buddha is said to have advised his one of his followers thus:
O bhikku! Just as the Ganga, Jamuna and all other rivers flow into the sea and lose their earlier names and locations and start being called as the sea, similarly, when Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras, the four varnas, following my advice, join the Sangha, they lose their earlier family, customs and names and come to be called as bhikkus.[i]
From this quotation it is clear that while the total destruction of the caste system was not the intention of the Buddha, he passionately opposed caste-discrimination, which was the basis of the Brahminical or Hindu religion and society. This is readily apparent when the Buddha says, ‘Because of goodness and purity a lowly man becomes a Brahmin. No one is truly a Brahmin by birth. Rather, only by good deeds can one become a true Brahmin.’ Elsewhere, he stresses, ‘No one is a Chandal or a Brahmin by birth. Only by virtue of his actions does he become a Brahmin or a Chandal.’ Similarly, he lays down, ‘He alone is a true Brahmin who practices truth, love, cleanliness and mercy, who is generous and conquers his desires, and who has freed himself from ignorance and sin.’[ii]
It would not be wrong to say that these lofty ethical commandments of the Buddha failed to make much of a dent in the edifice of caste or greatly undermined Brahminism. One reason was that Buddhism gradually veered in the direction of world renunciation, a tendency not at all conducive to social transformation. Consequently, demolishing the caste system and putting an end to the degradation of the oppressed castes did not remain a central focus of Buddhism in the centuries after the Buddha’s death. The bhikkus, having renounced the world, were not, as a rule, inspired to make efforts to critique caste oppression or to bring about radical social change. They were satisfied simply with following the rules of the Sangha.
The well-known historian V.R.Narla, who served for many years as member of the Rajya Sabha, mentions in his book The Truth About Geeta that the Buddha was a reformist, and not, as is often imagined, a social revolutionary. The social changes that the Buddha desired, which, Narla claims, were by no means radical, did not materialise. His teachings did not lead to the creation of a new and vastly different social order. It is true, Narla writes, that the Buddhist Sangha did not recognise caste within it, and that even men from what were regarded as the lowest castes could becomebhikkus and enjoy an equal status with other bhikkus. Yet, this did not mean that outside the Sangha caste ceased to play any role. While the Buddha insisted that caste would not matter inside the Sangha and that the caste of a bhikku made no difference, it can be said, Narla argues, that he silently consented to caste in the wider society outside the Sangha. It is thus factually incorrect, Narla maintains, to claim that the Buddha destroyed the chains of caste and liberated the oppressed castes.[iii]
From all this it appears that both Jainism and Buddhism preached religious equality but not radical social equality. Obviously, this approach to equality was hardly sufficient for the overall emancipation of the oppressed castes and for mounting an effective challenge to Brahminism. Yet, the message of religious equality preached by Mahavir and, especially, the Buddha attracted vast numbers of people from the oppressed castes. Along with the Shudras, many Vaishyas and several Kshatriyas, groaning under Brahminical hegemony, were attracted to these religions.
Gradually, Jainism and, especially, Buddhism managed to gain such popularity that, especially in large parts of northern India, Hinduism was gravely threatened with extinction. It was at this time that the centre of Brahminism shifted down south. The Brahminists burned with the desire for revenge, to bring back the Shudras, their former slaves, under their hegemony. They plotted all sorts of conspiracies to extirpate Jainism and Buddhism and to restore Brahminical rule. Brahmins began to infiltrate the Buddhist Sangha, to Brahminise or dilute the Buddha’s original teachings and to destroy the Sangha from within. At the same time, they connived with Hindu kings to launch a slaughter, on a massive scale, of Jains and Buddhists, of both priests as well as lay persons. Jain and Buddhist monasteries and temples across the country were brutally destroyed or converted into Hindu shrines. The Brahmin king Pushyamitra Sanga announced a huge reward for every head of a Buddhist bhikku brought to him. The Shaivite king of Gaur cut down the tree in Bodh Gaya under which the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. As Professor R. S. Sharma very rightly notes, it must not be thought that the extermination of Buddhism from India was simply a result of the ideological or missionary counter-offensive of the Brahminical revivalists. Rather, a key role in this project was played by terror and violence unleashed against Jains and Buddhists on a very large scale, which left the remaining Buddhists with just two alternatives—to either flee to other countries or else to embrace Islam. Massive numbers of Buddhists chose both these options.[iv]
This argument is echoed by S.L.Sagar, a well-known Dalit Buddhist scholar, who writes that Hindu revivalist kings ensured the destruction of Buddhism in India by the use of the sword, massacring vast numbers of Buddhists all across the country. Many others were forced to flee to other lands. To reinforce their campaign of hate against the Buddhists, the Brahmins filled their books with scurrilous references to the Buddha and branded the Buddhists as Untouchables.[v] Similar terror tactics were used by Brahmins and their allied Hindu kings against the Jains, as has been noted by numerous scholars.
The Jains and Buddhists who remained in India were absorbed into the larger Hindu fold and deprived of their separate identity. The Jains probably deliberately adopted many Hindu practices in order to be considered more acceptable, or less offensive to, the Brahmins. In order to bring the Shudras, most of who had turned Buddhists, back into the Hindu fold and under Brahmin hegemony, the Brahminical revivalists made some key modifications in their own religion and adopted certain Buddhist practices, such as vegetarianism, and even claimed the Buddha to have been an incarnation of their god Vishnu. In this way, they plotted to make Hinduism appear more attractive or acceptable to the Buddhist Shudras so as to bring them, once again, under the domination.
To further reinforce their tirade against Buddhism the Brahminical revivalists concocted even more scriptures that contained foul abuses against the Buddha. This is clearly evidenced in the case of theMahabharat, which contains very negative references to Buddhists, and in the Ramayan, where Ram is made to call the Buddha a thief. The Brahminical revivalists sent out missionaries across the country to engage with Buddhist and Jain scholars in debate and vanquish them and then drag them into the Hindu or Brahminical fold. A figure who played a key role in this regard was the eight century Shankaracharya, a Brahmin from Kerala, who is credited with philosophical disputations with the Buddhists and with the ultimate triumph of Brahminism.
Elaborating on the final victory of the Brahmins over Buddhism, ‘Guru’ Golwalkar, supremo of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, writes in his Bunch of Thoughts that the Buddhists wanted to destroy India’s ancient heritage (read Brahminism) and make the Indians (read Hindus) lose their connection with their religion. He presents the Buddhists as ‘traitors’ to the ‘motherland’ and Shankaracharya as the ‘saviour’ of the Hindus and their religion, which he equates with Indian nationalism. He portrays Shankaracharya and his disciples as spreading ‘light’ amidst the darkness, which he equates with Buddhism.[vi] From Golwalkar’s writings it is clearly evident that votaries of Brahminism consider all religions as treacherous that advocate any degree of social equality.
Buddhism is now almost completely extinct in the land of its birth. It has been so completely Hinduised that today, according to the Indian legal system, Buddhists are considered to be Hindus in matters of personal law. In 1956, Dr. Ambedkar, the great leader of the oppressed castes, renounced Hinduism and converted to Buddhism in order to achieve liberation from the curse of caste. Just two years prior to his conversion, he had played a key role in the reform of Hindu Personal Law in the form of the passing of the Hindu Code Bill. Yet, even after his conversion to Buddhism, he did not demand a separate Buddhist Personal Law. Nor did he demand that Buddhists not be governed by Hindu Personal Law. This is an indication of how completely Buddhism and its adherents had been absorbed into the Hindu fold and had lost their separate identities. In the wake of Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism many hundreds of thousands of other Dalits have followed suit but, yet, their social conditions and status remain unchanged and they also continue to follow many Hindu practices and a range of Hindu beliefs.
This, then, briefly, is the tragic story of two of the key anti-Brahminical movements in the pre-Muslim phase of Indian history.
[i] Quoted in Sultan Ahmad Islahi, Islam ka Tassavur-e Masavat, Markazi Maktaba-e Islami, New Delhi, 1985, p.41
[ii] Ibid., p.42-44.
[iii] V. R. Narla. Geeta, Haqiqat ke Aine Mai (translated by Syed Shahid), Universal Peace Foundation, New Delhi, 2003, pp.137-165.
[iv] R.S. Sharma, ‘Firqawarana Tarikh Aur Ram ki Ayodhya’, in Khuda Bakhsh Library Journal (96), December 1994, p.137.
[v] S.L.Sagar, Daktar Ambedkar Bauddh Kyo Baney, Sagar Prakashan, Mainpuri, p.150.
[vi] Quoted in Salahuddin Usman, RSS: Talimat wa Maqasid, Nizami Offset Press, Lucknow, 1993, pp.205-06.
Good article to study about Indian religious cates system which anti-Humans practice.
Barani has started a good debate. The word 'buth' is derived from 'Buddha'. This theory has been provided fodder by some Muslim 'scholars' itself which is wrong. Buddhism does not preach idol-worship though they have the idols of Buddha out of reverence. But they do not have gods like the Hindus do. As for Barani's theory that the word 'Buddha' became Buth in Arabic, he should know that the Arabic alphabet has the letter 'daal' sounding 'dh' (soft 'd') as in the word 'without'. So they would not have problem calling Buddha as Budda or 'Bud'. It would have happened if the Arabic alphabet had not had the 'd' sound. So Barani's theory crashes here. Some Muslim scholars have made the same mistake while trying to identify the Prophet Zul Kifl mentioned in the Quran. They guess that since Buddha was born in Kapil vastu, the Prophet Zul Kifl was actually Gautam Buddha. Zul Kifl means one who belongs to Kifl. Since the Arabic alphabet does not have the letter P, so the sound P has been replaced by the sound Fa and Zul Kapil has become Zul Kifl. But they should know that Arabic replaces the sound P with sound B and not the sound F. So in Buddha's case it should have been Kibl or Zul Kibl an not zul kifl.
Actually there is a place called Kifl in modern day Syria and the Prophet Zul Kifl supposedly belonged to Kifl and so he was called Zul Kifl, one who comes from Kifl. He was a powerful Prophet or God loving man in the kingdom of an idolworshipper king who would kill prophets or his followers worshipping one God. Zul Kifl had some power and clout and had saved many prophets and their followers. Zul Kifl also means one who sustains or protects. So the theory of Zul Kapil also crashes here.
Idol worship was in vogue long before Islam came. During Prophet Moses' period, when he went to Kohe Toor appointing his brother Haroon (A.S.) as his deputy to guide people, his followers made an idol in the shape of a calf and started worshipping it. Haroon could not stop them. When Prophet Moses (A.S) came back he was shocked to see his community worshipping an idol. The followers replied that the idol worshippers did the same thing and they liked it so they also started doing the same thing. It means idolworship was the practise long before Prophet Moses started preaching his religion.
Not only that, the tradition of idol worship goes as far back as in the tribe of Cain, the son of Adam who had inadvertantly killed his brother Abel. After this incident Adam was very angry with his son Cain for a long time and this had caused a rift between the tribes or families of Adam and Cain. So Cain took his tribe with him and migrated to another place or country ( the concept of country was not there then). As they became dissociated with the patronage of Adam, the prophet and their guardian, they gradually became morally corrupt and indulged in wine, women and all kinds of ill practices. However, all of them were not bad. There were five good men named Wadd, Sua'a, Yaghuth, Yaooque and Nasr in the tribe who would try to stop them from adultery and immoral practices (Surah Nuh in the Quran has reference to them). This would enrage them. So one night when the five men were asleep some people of the tribe killed them. Since the majority of the tribe loved and respected them, they made their images out of reverence and love. But they did not worship them as gods or deities. In later period, people started worshipping them. So the tradition of idolworship is as old as the humanity. And the word 'buth' or 'buth shikan' can not be associated with Islam or the followers of Islam alone. The firt man on earth who actually and practically struck down idols or buths was Hadhrat Abraham, the predecessor of Hadhrat Moses. He had one night struck down the heads of all the buths except the biggest one placed in the Kaaba for which he was thrown into a raging fire by the Pharaoh. The rest is history.
In Tibetan buddhism, there is a major ritual called Kalachakra puja The kalachakra puja is a set of rituals that call for holy war against the religion of Mecca and it specifically names Mohammed and Mahdi as leaders of the barbarian enemies. So why would Buddhists have a specifically anti-muslim ritual, unless they had been genocided by the muslims
Please read the statement of the historian: Mr. V.D. Mahajan's comment about the destruction of Buddhism:
"When Buddhism was dominant in northern India, the Deccan became the centre of Hinduism, and was thus saved. When it became impossible for the followers of Jainism to live in northern India, they took refuge in the south."
(Ancient India, Pub. by: S. Chand & company L.T.D. 7361, Ram Nagar New Delhi-55, ed. 2000. .Ch:1 Introduction, Topic: Effect of Geography on History of India, P.6.)
Buddhist of Central Asia and Afghanistan were converted and their progeny are now Taliban. Given the state of affair in Afghanistan, at least Muslims should know that conversion is not such a good idea. What is required is conversion of mind and soul. While some got converted on their own, many were converted by invaders and yet again many by the new converts. In fact the invaders too were mostly new converts and progeny of few generations back hurried converts.
Has anybody heard this kahawat, a new priest chants louder than the rest. Naya mullah zyada kahe hai Allah Allah! In fact they were so excited with this new philosophy that they completely missed its spirit. They thought that conversion is the objective of Islam. Many Muslims would still be surprised at this statement as they still believe it the same way. However the objectives of Islam are clearly spelled out but it is clear to those who have vision bestowed by Allah to see and bestowed because of his own efforts to see clearly.
What Al Baruni has written is correct, that Buddhism is exterminated by Islam. It is a similar statement that communism is exterminated by capitalism. Those who were professing communism are now professing capitalism or if not they then their grand children. It is also true that in Islam ‘butt’ shikan means idol breaker but in Islam idol breaking is not taking away life of the idol as it is understood by Muslims to be an object which is not a living being nor having ever lived. The Taliban whose forefather used to pray to the ‘butt’ of Lord Buddha destroyed those ‘butts’. In any case they (Talibans) were not using it to pray anymore. What they did not realize that those ‘butts’ were still revered to many and they should have taken care of others sentiments.
Prophet Mohammed Peace be upon him, himself demonstrated when he pushed the biggest ‘butt’ and it felled squarely, that these ‘butts’ cannot take care of themselves and it is absolutely absurd that these would be taking care of the masses who pray to such ‘butts’. Many amongst his ranks and file still might have had doubt that can such action be done- to do away with the ‘butt’ they have been praying to prior to that and what would happen after that. Is the ‘butt’ nothing else but ‘butt’. He cleared away their doubts and misgivings with that demonstration.
I can relate this with my personal experience when I destroyed our family ‘butt’ once to demonstrate that nothing happens. ‘Butts’ are ‘butts’, just that, incapable of causing any effect but given reverence unnecessarily.
Now the point is shall we destroy all those persons with the title Khilji because their forefathers destroyed his contemporary and their sentiments as well as sentiment worthy ‘butts’ in battle? Actually similar thing happened in 1992 in case of the Babri Masjid. Some could not defend their Masjids because they would have lost their lives. Some in fact lost lives as well along with their sentiments and their sentiments worthy Masjid, all destroyed by ‘invaders’.
However Muslims do not realize that Masjids are not supposed to have replaced ‘butts’. And hence these are not sentiment worthy and not something to give or take away life for. Giving up life in Islam is haram, taking away life in Islam is haram, what Islam asks for is to not attach sentiments to material things, ‘butts’ in that sense and then it asks for is to fight back if someone transgresses. This fighting back against someone who transgresses is applicable to Muslims themselves as well. Islam asks to fight back from their own tendency to transgress the limits set by Allah. It is clearly mentioned in Quran to not destroy places of worship of others. Do I need to give proof of that? I don’t think so, because it is written over there open for everybody to see. But only they would be able identify and understand its importance that has been bestowed on that vision by the grace of Almighty Allah. Allah has promised of bestowing vision to those who strives sincerely for that. Break away family ‘butts’ and see. You may face hardship and beatings but nothing else will happen because ‘butts are butts’ incapable of doing anything but thriving on our fear of unknown.
Read a previous post of mine where I mentioned this:
"I cannot make you understand why Muslims in India are following that religion which to you and to a few other narrow minded and small hearted fellows like you say slaughtered and destroyed so many Hindu holy places. You read that history where Babar destroyed temple named after Lord Ram, but you miss that history, where Babar was not as barbaric as made out to be. Rather he was a sophisticated man who loved writing and was very sensitive and who asked God to take his life for love of his Son, the way King Dashrath, father of Lord Ram in love of his son, suffered and died. Babar had a son Humayun who helped promote Shia-ism, even though he was Sunni. They were no doubt open minded. In his will Babar write for his son Humayun what would not be read as anything else but beautiful and thoughtful articulation by a medieval ruler about the kernel of the modern concept of secularism. Bestowing upon his son a country "full of different religions", Babar urged Humayun to "wipe all religious prejudices off the tablet of your heart", "let the subjects of different beliefs harmonize... ", and "not ruin the temples and shrines of any community which is obeying the laws of government."
And yet another one where I mentioned:
"Even the much maligned and controversial Mughal monarch, ...(Aurangzeb).... issued a firman dated 10.3.1659 saying: “Our earnest attempts to uplift the people of all races and religions should be implemented with the utmost love and affection. Our Holy Laws do not allow the destruction and desecration of temples”.
Are the Talibans more learned about Islam than Aurangzeb was? Why didn't he destroy Bamiyan Budhha or the one in Ajanta? About Ajanta, I’ll let readers know what his remarks were when he himself saw that during his stay in Deccan.
Hello BARANI - fair points and please check my article called Southern Thailand and Islamization and Buddhists fear to walk in Southern Thailand:
Also, Zachary Abuza highlights this issue and if you do a search engine you will find many good articles about this issue. Also, it is clear that Buddhism is growin in nations like America, Australia, the UK, France, and other non-Muslim nations - however, Buddhism is not tolerated like all other faiths in the lands of Mecca and Medina. The answer is obvious but some people like to ignore reality.....
Barani. What is your hierarchy in the propaganda organization you are working for? Can’t they find a better stuff? I mean your knowledge and skill is very poor. Your Buddha rhymes so much with Hindi word ‘Bud-dha’ or say boorha. Then why aren’t the Muslims destroying all the ‘boorhas’ of the world. Rather there is a tradition in India to desert ‘boorhas’ , and further I have seen a number of times small children in the streets of India pelting stones on a deserted ‘boorha’, much to the rejoicing of onlookers, the way Hindu mobs commit riots against solitary Muslims, unhindered.
Who is then the destroyer of Buddha?
Nalanda, yes. But do you know, Nalanda was destroyed seven times. The last time by the Muslims, ok? Who destroyed it the preceding six times?
Chakma Buddhists are found in India too but anyway some Bangladeshi Chakmas were ‘bought out’ of the shackles of East Pakistan and were settled in Arunachal. Find our how many are there? Most of them have gone back to their rapists or got lost!
Why are you discriminating against Hindus who also got killed or converted to Islam? You have no words of sympathy for them. Any way you need not, because I am one such who got converted to Islam happily and who had earlier been a Buddhist who was given a humanitarian choice – either flee to China or get converted to Hinduism.
An interesting article on the subject under discussion:
"Adi Shankara was the real founder of Hinduism in the 8th Century "Even after the Islamic invasions of India, Hindu bigotry and hatred for Buddhists was not subdued. According to Sharmasvamin, a Tibetan pilgrim who visited Bihar three decades after the invasion of Bakhtiaruddin Khilji in the 12th century, the biggest library at Nalanda was destroyed by Hindu mendicants who took advantage of the chaos produced by the invasion. "He says that “they (Hindus) performed a Yajna, a fire sacrifice, and threw living embers and ashes from the sacrifice into the Buddhist temples. This produced a great conflagration which consumed Ratnabodhi, the nine-storeyed library of the Nalanda University“. [Prakash, 213]. Numerous destroyed Buddhist shrines were converted into Hindu temples after their destruction." http://allworldreligion.com/article.asp?articleid=101919
So what happened to the buddhists of Central Asia and Afghanistan ?
Al-Beruni the noted muslim historian wrote that Islam had exterminated Buddhism in Khorasan and Afghanistan. In Islam, the word But-Shiken is used for idol breaker. The But refers to the Buddha. Buddha destroyers were highly praised in Islam. A few years ago, the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas. Who built these buddhas, local buddhists of course, and what happened to the local Afghan buddhists? Killed or converted to Islam?
In Bihar, there is a famous Buddhist University, Nalanda, which was destroyed in 1206 by Bakthiar Khilji, a Muslim. Even today, the Chakma Buddhists in Bangladesh are daily raped, murdered, forcibly converted by the local Muslims.
And finally here is a quote from Dr. Ambedkar - "There can be no doubt that the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasions of the Musalmans," writes the author. "Islam came out as the enemy of the 'But'. The word 'But,' as everybody knows, is an Arabic word and means an idol. Not many people, however, know that the derivation of the word 'But' is the Arabic corruption of Buddha. Thus the origin of the word indicates that in the Moslem mind idol worship had come to be identified with the Religion of the Buddha. To the Muslims, they were one and the same thing. The mission to break the idols thus became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went. Before Islam came into being Buddhism was the religion of Bactria, Parthia, Afghanistan, Gandhar and Chinese Turkestan, as it was of the whole of Asia...."