Saturday 22 December 2012

Erasing history

Humans have not been kind to history and a lot many of them right from the time of Chengiz Khan, Timur, Mohamad Ghazni, Mohammad Ghori, the Mughals, some Muslim rulers of India and even the British have vandalized cities, destroyed monuments and torched some of the finest buildings.
In India, the Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan vandalized Vijayanagar (Hampi) in 1565 AD and burnt down the magnificent city. Today all that remains of  the city are mere ruins.
Hampi has become the biggest open air museum in the world, a mute testimony to the brute strength of the invading Muslim forces which were bent upon wiping the city of Vijayanagar or victory off the face of the earth.
The plunder of Vijayanagar went on for several months and the Adil Shahis, Nizam Shahis and other Muslim kings went away after feasting on the riches of Vijayanagar. The city was never to rise again though the Kingdom survived for another century. 
Centuries earlier, Malik Kafur, the general of Al-ud-din Khilji had similarly wiped out Hoysala cities in south India, including Dwarasamudra, and also erased the city of Warangal, which was then under the Kakathias.
In 1294, he waged war against the Yadavas of Devagir and sacked the city. He then turned his attention to Warangal and got vast ampounts of booty from it, including the Koihnoor diamond. A Muslim historian,Ziauddin Barani, says Kafur retuirned victorious to Delhi with a booty of  241 tonnes of gold, 20,000 horses and 612 elephants laden with the looted treasure.
In 1311 AD, he sacked Madurai and took away the vast wealth of the temple city.
The Mughal emperors, from Babur to Aurangzeb, systematically destroyed Hindu temples and buildings. Aurangzeb was such a zealot that he could not tolerate the secular credentials of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur. A devout Sunni, he personally led an attack on Bijapur in 1686 and defeated them. The Adil Shahis were generally Shias in nature and they appointed Hindus to high posts. Shivaji’s father Shahji was a high-ranking officer under Ali Adil Shah.
Aurangzeb erased the paintings in many palaces of the Adil Shahis as he regarded them as unislamic. After Aurangzeb, the Marathas too had a hand in plundering Bijapur.
An year later, Aurangzeb sacked Golconda and took away a vast booty.
Shivaji personally led a campaign against the Raje of Mudhol and he not only killed the Mudhol Raja but also set fire to the City. A graphic account of Shivaji and his animosity towards Mudhol is available. The Chola and Pallava emperors too were known to burn cities down and a Pallava king burnt down Badami, the capital of Chalukyas.
Vishnuvardhana, the Hoysala King, is known to have spilled so much blood at Talakad that the Cauvery turned red. The city was fully destroyed.
Another city that became victim of invaders is Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. One of the most ancient cities of India, it was systematically destroyed by the Delhi Sultan Iltumash in 1235 AD.
Both Muhammad Ghori and Muhammad Ghazni plumndered cities and destroyed temples. Ghazni invade Indian no les than 17 times and each time he plundered a city. He destroyed Nagarkot, Thanesar, Gwalior and Kannauj.
He also completely destroyed the holy temple of Shiva at Somnath. At the tome of  its destruction, the Shiva Linga was suspended a few inches above ground. Ghazni believed that the temple had a lot of hidden wealth and he completely destroyed the structure.
Of all the Mughals emperors, the credit for destroying temples, razing Hindu structures and levying Jizaya goes to Aurangzeb. He was a zealot and he wanted his subjects to embrace Islam.
The British too went about systematically erasing Indian history. They looted he state of Mysore after the death of Tipu and handed  an almost bankrupt Mysore kingdom to the Wodeyars. Similarly, they ravaged the Sikh kingdom after the  death of Ranjit Singh and carted away huge treasures to England, including his throne.
The Koinoor diamond, which was in the possession of Dilip Singh, the youngest son of Ranjit Singh. He was deposed in 1849 and he spent his last days in London where the Koihnoor was cleverly taken away from him and given to Queen Victoria of England.
Every tine the British waged war in India,  they made money. They fought wars on behalf of Indian princes and kings for money.  They gave protection to princely states by stationing British troops in the capital. The money for maintaining the troops were to be given by the king.
The subsidiary alliance, introduced by the then Governor-General of India, Marquis Wellesley,  was only a clever ploy by the British to annex a kingdom without shedding blood or going to war. The Nizam of Hyderabad was the first to accept it. Over two centuries, the British systematically took away the wealth of India (Tipu refused to accept it),
They also carried away the rich heritage of India and it only after Lord Curzon became the Viceroy of India that the first effort to preserve the rich heritage and history of India commenced.
Nearer Bangalore, an Adil Shah General, completely razed to the ground the beautiful town of Doddaballapur, during his campaign against the Gowdas of Bangalore, Malgudi, Doddaballapur and Anekal. Of course the superior might of the Adil Shah military prevailed and even Bangalore was forced to accept the supremacy of the Bijapur Emperors.     

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