Indian History Part 45 ISLAM IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW OF THE EARLY DAYS

Canberra, 28 October 2015

Analysing and explaining the arrival of Islam and its deepening thrust into the Indian sub-continent is an endeavour in Indian historiography that is fraught with difficulty, primarily because of the confrontational rhetoric associated with any discussion of the religion in the 21st century, both in India and elsewhere in the world. Both politically and purely in terms of religious discourse it is impossible to discuss the Islamic faith without hurting the ‘sentiment’ of some one or the other. In contemporary India, the advent of Islam is the subject of two concurrent, contradictory and on-going narratives.

First, is the secular interpretation that has been long articulated in Indian politics, education and culture, and which is supported by many Indians of both Hindu and Muslim religious persuasions. This narrative admits a tale of political conquest by Islamic forces, but go on to emphasise that the foreign invaders adapted and altered themselves as well as some of their beliefs to become ‘Indianised’ over a period of time. There is admission that conversions did take place, but they are considered to have been done through dialogue rather than coercion. In this narrative, it is believed that through centuries of interaction and exchange of ideas North India became the centre of an Indo-Islamic civilisation, wherein Hindus and Muslims coexisted amicably. This is seen as yet another visible proof of the famed and much touted ‘unity in diversity’ of the contemporary Indian nation that is often used as a cultural balm to heal a divided nation.

The second narrative is the religious interpretation espoused by the Hindu nationalists—consisting of hard-line fundamentalists and even middle-of-the-road practitioners of the religion. This group view the Islamic invasion as an event that created a complete break from the age old traditions of the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ or Hindu nation; considering it nothing but an unwanted foreign intrusion and conquest. The arrival of Islam is interpreted as the imposition of foreign dynasties, who brought with them a religion that was, and continues to be, incompatible with Hindu beliefs, thus creating centuries of bigoted oppression and mutual hostility. The narrative continues that the Islamic intimidation and antagonism against the Hindus were exacerbated by the British rule.

Viewed dispassionately in a normal historical analysis, it is seen that there is some truth in both the narratives and also that both of them are equally distortions of facts, made to suit particular arguments and sway common belief. They are distortions because the realities on the ground over the centuries of Islam being in India are extremely complex and not common to the entire sub-continent. The facts are different in different regions. They cannot be analysed in a broad brush manner on the basis of a common origin. The fact is that Islam and Hinduism coexist in contemporary India, and there is a constant struggle to understand the needs of each other with the pressures of a Hindu majority coming to the fore at times as against the assertion of the minority status of Islam being used as a beating stick to keep the majority in line. This struggle erupts violently at times, most often stoked by political and religious opportunists.

Irrespective of the argument for and against certain events, it is a historical fact that some of them stand out in the developmental narrative of nations as depicting a fundamental, challenging and unforgiving moment in time. There may only be only one such event in the broad history of a nation or there may not be any at all. The people of the nation normally find that such an event is irreconcilable for generations, primarily because it involves the severing of the all-embracing connections with the past with the event itself becoming the past that can never be altered. The partition of the Indian sub-continent on religious lines in 1947, which could be considered the sad culmination of flawed narratives and entrenched religious bigotry, is such an event in the history of India.

Background

For about four centuries from around 800, North India was under Rajput rule. The original clan system that was the societal backbone of the Rajputs became gradually submerged in a feudal pattern of land grants to vassals in return for fulfilling military obligations, remitting revenue as prescribed to the chief/ruler/king, and preserving law and order in their territories. The system became further entrenched as the land holdings became hereditary moving away from the original concept of it being the life-income of an individual. The common cultivator, functioning under the largesse of such a feudal lord, was hard pressed to meet his financial obligations and was also normally burdened further with temple taxes and labour payments. The institution of the moneylender in rural societies, which developed into a palpable curse in later times, can be traced to this era of Rajput rule. As an aside, it is interesting to note that the interest rates levied by the moneylenders varied with the caste of the borrower, with Brahmins paying the least.

The Rajput chieftains were vigorous Hindus, claiming descent variously from the Sun, Moon and Fire. This could perhaps be attributed to their collective ancestry of originating in tribes from outside the sub-continent and being inducted into the Hindu fold through a process of purification. However, their proclaimed Hinduism resulted in Buddhism declining into insignificance in India, the land of its birth and nurture. The great Nalanda University had by this time been destroyed and other thriving Buddhist institutions were in terminal decline. The Jain influence had also migrated to the western coast of the Peninsula, a move that was reflected in the economic stagnation that beset the urban areas in the north of the sub-continent. As a religious faith, Hinduism was in complete ascendancy.

The fundamental streak of independence that ran through the Rajput clans and their chieftains meant that a number of them ended up ruling small and at times completely unviable states, which they glorified as ‘kingdoms’. The Rajputs could be likened to the medieval knights of Europe, always at war, always chivalrous, always in romantic love and treacherous when it suited them. During this age of palpable chivalry and brave exploits that is glorified even today in contemporary India, Sanskrit flourished and the Brahmins were very powerful. This is not surprising since it was the Brahmin priestly class that created and permitted the environment which embraced the invading tribes into the Hindu fold and made them Rajputs.

The women were educated and played an important role in public life, even though female infanticide was practised and widow remarriage was forbidden. It is an interesting dichotomy that a society that adopted customs that emancipated women in society also put in place the practice of ‘sati’. Sati, it is believed, started as a voluntary self-immolation of the widow on the death of her husband and came to be known later in the West as ‘suttee’. The word sati actually means a virtuous woman and does not depict the practice of the custom. Over a period of time, the custom became institutionalised and even later evolved into a decadent act of cruel social violence.

It is into such a complex and fundamentally Hindu society that the Islamic faith intruded.

Doctrinal Comparison

The doctrine, social system and political theory of the Islamic faith is in complete contrast to Hindu beliefs, and as the two met clashes of ideology were inevitable. The doctrine of Islam is all definition and clarity based on the Koranic law that is crisp and has well defined outlines; whereas, the doctrine of Hinduism is vague, giving the impression of apparent confusion and the concept of Hindu Dharma is obscure and translucent. Islam believes in following the command of Allah, the one and only true God, over everything else; whereas Hinduism is built on the belief that the divine without is the manifestation of the divine within, the final wisdom being the aphorism, ‘Thou art That’. By the time of the arrival of Islam into the sub-continent, polytheism and idolatry both extremely repugnant to Islamic beliefs, were rampantly practiced by the Hindu faith. However, within the Hindu religion persons of higher learning believed in a single, yet all-pervading deity. However, pure Brahminical learning had over generations been diluted through superstition, becoming narrow-minded to the exclusion of science, uplifting radical thought and evolving concepts.

Within the society, Islam provided equality for men and permitted polygamy. Hinduism practised a graded and religiously sanctified inequality based on caste and although social mores permitted non-monogamous relationships, the principle of polygamy was objected to and frowned upon. The Hindus customarily worshipped cows—the origin and concept of the proverbial ‘holy cow’—which the followers of Islam found quaint and without reason. The use of music at worship was in complete contrast, with the Muslims considering it anathema to the sanctity of prayer. Art, in all its forms, is influenced by religion both directly and indirectly and the differences in the belief system and behaviour pattern of the two religions led to clashes in the field of art and culture.

Historian dealing with the vexed questions that emerge in the study of the advent of Islam into the Indian sub-continent must at the base level understand that the way of life of the adherents of both the religions was different and at odds with each other in a fundamental way. This is necessary not only to understand the religious, societal and cultural conflict that took place but also to put in perspective the clashes that are on-going not only in contemporary India but also across the world. All actions initiated by people of the Islamic faith in India, from the earliest times—effectively the full story of Islam in India—tends to be judged through lenses that have racial, cultural and religious overtones superimposed with tribal characteristics. For a historian, adopting a broader view is important in order to place the events of history and their immediate, subsequent and on-going repercussions, which are interlinked, in the correct perspective.

Migrations and Conversions

The first Muslims in India were the Arab traders who came to the Malabar Coast, sailing from the Arabian Peninsula with the Monsoon winds. The very first mosque in the sub-continent is most probably the one that was built by these traders in Cranganore on the Kerala coast, the successor town to the ancient Roman settlement of Muziris, around the 7th century. This was a peaceful migration based on trade and the people became acculturated over time. These were the forefathers of the ‘moplahs’ of Malabar. Before the onslaught of Islam from the north-west, the other lot of Muslims in the sub-continent were the few thousand troops stationed in Sindh after it was captured on behalf of the Omayyad Caliphate. [Explained in detail in Volume III of the series, pp. 39-40.]

Conversions to the religion was done through coercion and persuasion and the numbers were increased through a continuous flow of immigrants. From the beginning when the number of Muslims in the sub-continent could be counted in the thousands, today they account for nearly 20-25 per cent of the total population of independent India. How this large increase in population was achieved or happened in the span of a few centuries has never been fully explained. Conversion through coercion, normally the threat of death, although discussed in great detail in a number of authoritative works, was not the primary source of conversion and normally took place only in the immediate aftermath of an invasion. In general the impact was limited and there was normally no reign of terror as such in terms of forced conversions. Although coercion was limited, its impact was felt most by the Buddhists. Both Islam and Buddhism are institutionalised, proselytizing religions and the follower-base for recruitment was therefore almost the same. There was a strong antagonism between the two religions and the Buddhist monasteries were targeted by the Islamic invaders for particularly violent action. Buddhists from eastern India fled to South East Asia and it is seen that the initial Islamic following were the maximum in erstwhile Buddhist enclaves.

The second and more productive method of conversion was through the distribution of political influence and focused patronage. In Muslim-ruled States, conversion was an assured path to fame and fortune. Although such conversions were somewhat limited, there are accounts of some very high profile politically motivated conversions. The largest influx into Islam came through migration and persuasion. The invading Turkish armies brought their families to join them after victory, at times moving whole clans and tribes to settle in India; and local marriage alliances created a sizeable body of people of the Islamic faith over a few generations. Persuasion through propagation created a very clearly demarcated body of ‘Indian Muslims’ who had their own nuanced outlook on the religion and society at large. Persuasion was mainly done through Sufi mendicants, saints and faquirs who were wandering minstrels and not through the maulvis, the Islamic priesthood and teachers, who relied more on coercion.

The maulvis appealed to the head, to reason, while the Sufis appealed to the heart, to emotion, which made Islam attractive to the Indian psyche. The Sufis were all loyal Muslims dedicated to their religious pursuit, some of them being ascetics and mystics, and all of them appealing in a personal and individual way to the religiosity of the people. This individualistic approach appealed to the deep religious urge inherent and common to most Indians. (A detailed account of the development of Sufism is given later in this chapter.)

Islam offered the Hindus freedom from the tyranny of Brahminism at a time when Buddhism was not readily available as a powerful alternative. This was one of the reasons for the Islamic faith to take hold in a comprehensive manner. The new community was concentrated in the north-west from where the incursion had taken place and the north-east where Buddhism had entrenched itself centuries ago and were being uprooted. In these areas Muslim communities became predominant and stayed so for centuries. There were also small pockets of concentration where communities had been built around royal courts of Muslim rulers in later years, such as the society found in Hyderabad. There was also the military aristocracy, a distinct entity within the Indian Muslim community, who were mainly of foreign origin and had not succumbed to the influence of Hinduism, which was traditionally the route followed by invading armies.

Indian Islam

Over the years Islam in India developed into a distinctive cultural entity that could be called Indo-Persian. This was a religion that had accepted modifications through a process of adoption, primarily by the Turkish and Afghan peoples in their transitory passage to the Indian sub-continent and heavily influenced by the thriving Persian culture that it had defeated. This is demonstrated by Persian being adopted as a the court language; Persian manners and customs becoming embedded in the higher strata of society; and Persian literature being studied and cultivated even by Hindus of a higher social standing within the royal court.

Even though there was constant and continuous interaction, the separateness of Islam and Hinduism never diminished over the years. They remain distinct entities, even at odds with each other on occasion, after more than one thousand years of co-existence. There has of course been mutual influence but it has not been at the fundamental level, which has remained sacrosanct in both religions. There has been a great deal of ‘give and take’ but no fusion or synthesis; there has been tolerance in daily life, but no overarching acceptance of the basic doctrine of the other religion.

‘Indo-Persian culture spread a mantle of elegance over the whole Indian aristocratic society, but Hinduism and Islam remained apart.’

Percival Spear,

India: A Modern History, p.101

Hinduism was influenced sufficiently to enunciate an enhanced emphasis on the unity of God, giving rise to the Bhakti movement that follows a somewhat similar path of sin and forgiveness as in the Judaic concept. A number of reformatory movements also emerged within the centrefold of Hinduism as the more educated followers realised the debilitating effect of the caste system on the longer term vitality of the religion. Most of the reformatory movements attempted to eradicate the caste system and therefore was based on monotheism and devoted to propagating personal worship, attempting to entrench the concept of a direct communion with one single God. The evolution of Sikhism to its current form is a prime example of one such movement. On their part, the Muslims growing in the Indian atmosphere softened the intolerant stand and views of Turkish Islam, directly influenced by Hindu philosophy. Saint worship, one of the accepted patterns of Hindu worship, became common in the followers of Islam also. Perhaps the most visible influence of Hinduism on the development of Islam within the sub-continent is the percolation of the caste system into the institution of marriage within the Indian Muslim communities.

The consolidation of Muslim power in India was a gradual process and therefore the lives of the common people were left relatively undisturbed. Whether this was a conscious decision adopted by wisely counselled rulers of just one more of those happy coincidences that dot the historic landscape of all ancient nations is difficult to clearly fathom. Conversions to Islam was more common amongst the lower strata of the Hindu society primarily because of the social handicaps associated with the caste disabilities that they suffered on a daily basis. There was also an economic angle linked to such conversions. Non-Muslims living in Muslim-ruled kingdoms were subject to a tax called Jiziya, which they became exempt from immediately on conversion. Conversion to Islam therefore was seen as a definitive route for spiritual, social and financial upliftment for the lowest of the low, downtrodden for centuries under the arrogant imposition of flawed Hindu laws of society. Even so the social fabric remained intact, with the new converts continuing to follow an understandable Hindu way of life.

On their part, the Hindus accepted the Muslim saints and paid homage to them, going on pilgrimages to their tombs and worshipping with the Muslims in common shrines. The orthodox sections of both religions considered such practices anathema to the purity of religious belief and opposed such moves. At the same time the dissenting spirits of both religions—Hindu Bhakts and Bairagis; Muslim Sufis and Faquirs—started the task of breaking down the barriers of caste and religion. They propagated an intense and individualistic love of God that transcended the limits of race and culture that stifled and confined both the religions. Sufism with its mystical, introspective tendencies shared common ground with Bhakti with its tendencies towards achieving spiritual convergence with the divine being itself. The Sufi doctrine of Islam and the Bhakti code of Hinduism found each other and mingled harmoniously on Indian soil.

‘It is the religious dissenters in the middle ages, Bhaktas and Sufis, who through their eclectic teachings and devotional ecstasies have largely fashioned the religious faith and devotion of modern India. A reliable estimate is that two thirds of the Indian Muslims are under the influence of one or the other of the Sufi orders. The outer shell of religion divides sects and communities: Sufism and Bhakti, on the other hand, which constitute the mystical core or essence of Islam and Hinduism, have been firm and essential binders of the two cultures through the chequered course of their political relations.’

Radhakamal Mukerjee,

The Culture and Art of India, p. 324.

Sufism: Critical Element in the Spread of Islam in India

Sufism is the ascetic and mystical branch of Islam, deriving its name from the woollen garments worn by the ascetic followers. The Sufi movement developed and spread into India around the same time that Islam was coming into multifaceted contact with Hinduism, a religion with deep roots that had so far been able to absorb all kinds of interlopers who came into contact with it. Islam, although still in relative infancy, was distinctly different from the less developed religious and cultural ethos of the earlier invading groups and was already sufficiently evolved to ensure that it did not succumb to the indistinct formlessness of Hindu beliefs and become diluted. In that sense Hinduism had met its match. Sufism provided the bridge to gap the great separation that existed between the two religions.

“Glory to Him who made His servant go by night from the Sacred Temple to the farther Sacred Temple whose surroundings We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. He alone hears all and observes all.”

Koran The Night Journey (Tr 1956) sura 17, verse I.

As quoted in M.J. Cohen & John Major (eds),

History in Quotations, p. 133

(In the Mi’raj (Ascent or Night Journey) the Prophet Muhammad was taken by the angel Gabriel from Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and from there up to the seven heavens and the throne of God. This became a paradigmatic text for the mystical journeys of the Sufi saints.)

The Sufi saints and practitioners arrived on the scene almost immediately after the Ghaznavid annexation of the Punjab and was an important step towards in spreading Islam into the sub-continent. Shaikh Ismail of Lahore was the first recognised Sufi saint of Punjab and was followed by Shaikh Ali bin Usman al-Hujwaira, who was commonly known by the sobriquet Data Ganj Baksh. Data Ganj Baksh could be considered the true founder of the Sufi cult in India, having authored a number of books and profoundly influencing the moral and religious outlook of the masses. He died in 1072 and his tomb in Lahore is a famous shrine still worshiped by followers.

Khwaja Muin-ud-din of Ajmer is considered by many to have been the greatest Sufi saint to have practiced in India. He came from Ghazni to Lahore in 1161 and is said to have undergone a course of ritual spiritual purification at the tomb of Data Ganj Baksh, acknowledging that saint’s greatness. He went on to visit Multan and Delhi, finally settling down in Ajmer, where he died and is buried. He founded a long line of spiritual descendants and his followers are called Chishtis. Another acknowledged saint, who is famous even today, was Sayyad Ahmad Sultan Sakhi Sarwar, known as Lakhi Data. He travelled around the Punjab and died in a place called Shahkot near Multan in 1181. His followers called Sultanis, also encompassed people of the Hindu faith, and are scattered across the Punjab region. Another famous mystic Shihab-ud-din Suhrawardy worked at attaining spiritual salvation and created a group of followers called Suhrawardis. There were a number of other saints and mystics who traversed the sub-continent, particularly North India. The Deccan and deeper South also came under limited influence of the Sufi field of mystic Islam with a number of saints mentioned and also worshiped in places such as Trichinopoly and Gulbarga. Some of the Sufi saints were, and still are, revered by Hindus in equal numbers as Muslims and their tombs have developed into popular shrines of pilgrimage.

In Gujarat the Sufi influence was instrumental in the development of a schismatic sect called Ismailiya. Almost from the very beginning the sect was divided into two branches—the Qaramitas and the Fatimids. The Qaramitas, referred to as ‘Carmathians’ in Western literature, were very active in spreading their creed of Islam and at one stage they had reached the gates of Delhi. They were bellicose in their attitude to authority and also known for their indulgence in excesses of all kind. The other branch, Fatimids, became centred in Yemen and was very successful in conversion though peaceful means. Although essentially a peaceful movement, they split over a question of succession, in keeping with the schismatic origins of the central movement. One branch moved to India and another became ensconced in the North-West Frontier provinces.

The North-Western Fatimid branch evolved into a syncretic creed co-opting the Hindu triumvirate of Gods—Brahma, Vishnu and Siva—into their beliefs, recognising them as prophets and identifying them with the Prophet of Islam, Ali and Adam respectively. This synchronisation of the religious narrative won the branch a large number of adherents from the Hindu fold. In later times the branch further sub-divided and the Agha Khan is the current head of the more influential of the many different groups. This sect has also spread to some parts of Africa, mainly carried forward by migrating Indians.

Sufi monasteries are strung across the entire Indian sub-continent, the Chishtiya school of Sufi practice being the most favoured and popular. In some analysis the Chishtis are credited with growing the influence of Sufism in the early days of the advent of Islam into the sub-continent. They have a liberal and tolerant outlook and recognise music as a lawful means to achieve spiritual ecstasy, while also accepting some Hindu norms and rituals.

In the same era that Sufism was developing within Islam, the Hindu religion was also witnessing the evolution of a slightly rebellious movement within its fold. The Vaishnava sect developed the concept of ‘Samyogis’ meaning the ‘reunited’ based around ancient Ayodhya region. This led to the arrival of the Hindu Bhakts, literally meaning worshippers, who were free and simple men of religion and lovers of humanity, practising asceticism while believing in monotheism and the equality of human beings in the eyes of the divine being.

Although their individual route and the core of development were varied, independent and complex, the Sufis and the Bhakts jointly became the link that spanned the differences between the Muslim and Hindu religious thought and practice. The centuries of existence in the Indian context clearly demonstrates the influence of the Hindu philosophy on Sufi evolution. Sufism has been influenced from the beginning of its developmental cycle by three formative factors—Christianity, neo-platonism and Hindu Bhagavatism. The celebrated Sufi poets of Persia—Sadi, Rumi, and Hafiz—were influenced by Hindu monistic pantheism in the development of their artistic and religious symbolism. The basic tenets of Sufism bears an uncanny resemblance to the fundamental tenets of Hinduism. The Sufi edict ‘I am the Truth’ echoes the Vedantic dictum, ‘Tat tvamasi’ meaning ‘Thou art That’. It also borrowed heavily from yogic breathing exercises and Hindu meditational techniques. The concept of mystical devotionals and the asceticism associated with the Natha and Sahaja Yoga traditions were embraced by the Sufi movement after it had crossed the Indian borders. It is also true that the same inputs influenced several dissenting sects within the broad fold of the Hindu faith. Sufism, as recognised today, is a hybrid of fundamental Hindu philosophical approach to worship and the more eclectic areas of Islam that has evolved over the centuries.

Kabir, Nanak and Dadu

The saints Kabir, Nanak and Dadu belonged to the Ramanandi tradition and are three eclectic figures spiritually far above anyone else in Indian religious history, who boldly sought an acceptable fusion of Hinduism and Islam. Each of them gathered a vast following from among the common people of both Hindu and Muslim religious persuasions.

Kabir (1410-1518). Kabir mixed the Sufi tradition with Ramanandi and other Hindu philosophies, creating a tolerant way of thinking and a belief that institutional religion was purely show while being empty of substance. He denounced caste and sectarianism as well as ritualistic worship, seeking ‘Reality’ through direct mystical intuition. He variously stated, ‘the Mussalman’s is one God, whereas Kabir’s is all-pervading’, and ‘God is in every man’s heart if the truth be known’. He distinctly differed from the rigid and orthodox monotheism of Islam

O servant, where dost thou seek Me?

Lo, I am beside Thee,

I am neither in temple nor in mosque;

I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailasa;

Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga or renunciation.

If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt seek Me at once;

Thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.

Kabir*

Nanak (1469-1538). Nanak was the founder of Sikhism. [Details of the origin and rise to prominence of Sikhism as an independent religion is covered in the next Volume of the series.] Kabir and Nanak were contemporaries of sorts and Nanak is reported to have met Kabir when he was about 27 years old. Nanak was also familiar with most of Kabir’s hymns, some of which are still sung by the Sikhs in their daily prayers. His lifelong struggle was to rid both Hinduism and Islam of their bigotry, formalism and superstitions. His fundamental emphasis was on the oneness of God as Truth, articulated in the Sikh greeting, Sat-sri Akala—God is Truth. He espoused the fraternity of men, noble and righteous living, and the social virtues of dignity of labour, charity and sharing; all of which are still practiced by the followers of Sikhism. He stated that there are five prayers, five times to pray and five names for them: ‘The first should be truth, the second what is right, the third charity in God’s name, the fourth good intentions, the fifth the praise and glory of God.’

Dadu (1544-1600). Dadu was a cotton-weaver and follower of Kabir. He travelled widely and is reported to have met the Emperor Akbar on one occasion. He composed poetry in a number of languages—Hindi, Sindhi, Marwari, Persian, Guajarati and Marathi. His poems are a blend of intense mystical insight and clear poetic vision and are considered some of the world’s best religious poetry.

Maiden, hearken to the tale of my agony!

I am restless without my Beloved.

As the fish tosses about without water,

I fine no repose without my Beloved.

In my yearning desire for my Beloved, I break into song day and night;

I pour out my woes like a singing bird.

Alas! Who will bring me to my beloved?

Who will show me His path and console my heart?

Dadu cries: O Lord, let me see Thy face even for a moment and be blessed!

Dadu*

*Both the poems quoted above have been taken from the book, ‘The Culture and Art of India’ by Radhakamal Mukerjee, p.325

These three exemplary ‘saints’ effectively managed to breakdown the impersonal rigidity of Islam while protesting against and countering the entrenched polytheism and caste of Hinduism. All three encouraged a fusion between the two disparate religions. Both Kabir and Nanak were equally comfortable in the Hindu Gorakhnath traditions as well as the intricacies of Sufism. In the religious fusion that they created, the ancient and essential spirit of Hinduism can be distinguished—tolerant and all-embracing, seeking to establish an unlimited extension of the religious community without displaying even the slightest sense of defeatism in the face of a foreign conqueror and his rigid and proselytising religion.

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About Sanu kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Defence Analyst specialising in air power and national security. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS)

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