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G.W.F Hegel says in History of Philosophy that the quest for India is a moving force of our whole history, and that since ancient times all nations have directed their wishes and desires to this miraculous country whose treasures they coveted.
A New religion, Islam, had sprung up on the soil of Arbia in the 6th century. Its followers, with zeal and energy to burst forth over the surface of the earth, were no exception to the above. The neighboring India was thus destined to be one of their first footholds abroad. The first Muslim force reached India as early as A.D. 644, but finding the environ conquer it was made only in A.D. 711. In the twelfth century, however, the Muslims conquered the heartland of India and established themselves firmly in Delhi as the rulers.
In the wake of this phenomenon we find a spate of travelers, courtiers, state chroniclers, and even emperors, who indulged themselves in history writing, a discipline that was not yet established as a well-defined brunch of social sciences in India. They have told us a lot about the physical features of the land, its seasons, flora and fauna, the people, their beliefs and ways of life, their customs and practices, etc. This book thus provides information about India and its habitants as seen from the eyes of those early Muslim chroniclers. Their accounts also give details of struggle for political power and court intrigues, battles and conquests, administrative policies and measures, etc. But as they do not form part of the present theme, hence not included here. This book may be considered as a history of the society and culture of India of that time.
It will be noticed that those Muslim historians could have written about the people and their beliefs in whatever manner they liked, misrepresenting the conquered people by the suppression of truth or by an extra emphasis on the shadier aspects of their social life. But, they did not look at the local people with contempt. Instead, the descriptions they make of the country and its people seem generally adoring.
About the Author
Syed Osman Sher was born in 1935 in Bihar, a city in the state of Bihar, India. He received his Master's degree from Aligarh University, India, in 1955. During the long tenure as a civil servant he also served Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in Ankara as its Chief Secretary (Economics); United Nations as Consultant at Kenya; Commonwealth as Trade Policy Adviser in Mozambique; and SAARC as Planning Expert in the Maldives. He is settled in Canada since 1991.
A large number of his essays on economic and social development problems have been published in journals and newspapers. He is the author of two books, The Culture of Ancient Times (1999), and The culture of Tolerance: A Study of Indian History (2001).
|CHAPTER ONE : The Land and its People||1|
|CHAPTER TWO : Arrival of the Muslims||7|
|CHAPTER THREE : History writing in India||14|
|CHAPTER FOUR : Accounts of Muslim Chroniclers||23|
|1. The Country||23|
| Desire for Hindustan|
Places and cities
Climate and seasons
Water supply and Irrigation system
Trees and fruits
|2. The People||98|
Uniqueness of Hinduism
State of knowledge and sciences
Numbering and counting
Weights and measures
Days and hours
Measuring of distances
Yogis and saints
|3. Religious Philosophy : God, Soul and Matter||145|
Accountability after death, soul and transmigration
Origin of the world and division of Ages
Shape of the world
Elements and matter
|4. Beliefs and Practices||169|
Concept of pure and polluted
Jauhar and self-immolation
Sati (widow burning)
Marriage and co-habitation
Brothels, dancing girls and Devdasi system
Licentiousness and Puritanism
Justice and honesty
|5. Miscellaneous||201Adam and Eve|
|CHAPTER FIVE : Appendices : Accounts of Some
European Travellers of the 17th
|1. The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India|
2. Travernier's Travels in India Vol. 1 and 2,
3. Travels in the Mogul Empire by Francois Bernier
4. Storia do Mogor or Mogul India by Niccolao Manncci
|CHAPTER SIX : Brief Discription of Reference Books and Writers||266|