As Aurangzeb is Erased, Here are Some Tales From the Flip Side of History Even as the medieval period of Indian history is remembered by some only for the demolition of Hindu temples and the conversion of Hindus to Islam, we hardly stop to notice some instances to the contrary – when mosques were demolished and replaced by temples and when Muslims were converted to Hinduism, either by way of the medieval version of ghar wapsi or directly. Surely that’s something the sangh parivar can feel happy about.

Sher Shah, the Afghan ruler who had snatched the Mughal empire from the hands of Humayun in 1540, vowed to punish the Hindu zamindars who, according to him, had, “after destroying the mosques and places of worship of the Mussalmans converted them into places of idol-worship”. Earlier on, in the port city of Cambay in Gujarat, the Parsis ‘instigated the Hindus to attack the Mussalmans, and the minaret atop (a mosque) was destroyed, the mosque burnt and eighty Mussalmans killed’. To the credit of the Hindu ruler, who checked the facts and found them to be true, he had the mosque restored to its old state.

In Akbar’s time, the theologian Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi complained that “the Hindus are demolishing mosques and are building their own places of worship in their stead”. Shah Jahan is also on record having seized seven mosques “from their unlawful proprietors” who had “violently seized and appropriated them for their own use in Punjab”. Aurangzeb too refers to one of his two Rajput nobles with the highest mansab of 7000 given to any noble – Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur – who had in around 1658-59 “destroyed mosques and built idol-temples in their stead”. Yet, the two worked together for the next 20-odd years until the Rajput’s death in 1679.

Similarly, there is testimony for reverse conversions from Muslims to Hinduism, unthinkable in a theocratic Islamic state.


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