Source: Times of India
I saw fragrance fleeing, when the bee came/ What a wonder!/ I saw intellect fleeing, when the heart came/ I saw the temple fleeing, when God came. (Allama Prabhu, 12th century mystic poet of the Deccan)
In contrast to north India, where the first incursions by those professing the Islamic faith had been of a violent nature, the initial encounters between original inhabitants of the Deccan and Muslim settlers had been in the field of trade and commerce. This crucial difference was instrumental in promoting amicable relations between the two communities, providing an atmosphere conducive for interfaith dialogue leading to a better understanding of the other.
In consequence there evolved a distinct culture, tangible in its varied manifestations, which was enthusiastically patronized and nurtured by the Deccan monarchs leading to a distinct identity for the region. Unfortunately, due to its vilification by bigots over the recent past this glorious legacy which was sustained over centuries has come under a grave threat of complete obliteration as evident from the increased polarization between different sections of society.