Re: Indo-European Studies

Gerold Firl (
18 Jul 1995 12:10:35 -0700

In article <3ufoqa$> (Raghu Seshadri) writes:
>Vinay Kashyap ( wrote:

>: o The Mughals did not in general have a policy of systematic looting and
>: pillaging of temples. War was a different matter.

>In that case, they must have been continuously at war
>for 400 years :-) Aurangzeb demolished more than 3500 temples
>in the district of Benaras alone. In case you think he
>was the black sheep in a family of temple protectors,
>temple demolition went on throughout the Mogul period.

Right. For muslims, the destruction of idolatry was a religious duty. The
loss of the great shaivite temples to mogul iconoclasm is a major historic
tragedy. Campbell, in _oriental mythology_, describes the attempt to ransom
the idols once worshipped in the primary temple of shiva (don't remember
the name of the temple - I think it was near benares however) from the
muslims. Fabulous amounts of money were offered. The offer was declined; no
muslim would dare to show his face before allah after cutting such a deal.
The great stone lingam of shiva was broken.

In the long, tragic history of india, the islamic conquest is the saddest
episode. No other civilization, before or since, has raised the worship of
the female to such heights, or embraced the pursuit of pleasure with such
devotion. The meeting between sensual hinduism and harsh islam was not a
happy one.

Of course, british rule was also hostile to overt sexuality, though
perhaps not to the same extent as the moguls. Besides, the major damage had
already been done. It will be interesting to see whether india will be able
to reassert her former position as a cultural pleasure-center.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf