The Saviors of Hindu Dharma in South India – Part 1

 

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(Sala, founder of the Hoysala dynasty of Karnataka, depicted fighting a Lion – Halebidu)

Of all the numerous ancient temples sprinkled across the fertile land of Karnata desha, perhaps the greatest among them is the Shrine of Lord Shiva at Halebidu, the former capital of the Hoysala empire which reached its zenith in the 12th century AD. The Hoysaleeshwara temple , which took half a century to construct, has been quite commonly described as the ”supreme climax of Hindu architecture”. But upon closer examination, the modern day visitor might note that a large part of the temple structure appears to have  been demolished with numerous stone sculptures defaced & maimed. What inhuman barbarity was unleashed upon this marvel of human craftsmanship? One can only imagine how those who worshipped at the temple fell attempting to defend their objects of reverence & love from the alien lunacy that sought to destroy it.

An_entrance_into_the_Hoysaleshwara_temple_in_Halebidu

(Hoysaleeshwara temple, Halebidu)

Its a telling commentary on the state of the Hindu nation that we have collectively forgotten the titanic struggles of our forebears who shed their blood in the millions to defend the very land we walk upon. In particular, several great heroes from the Southern realms of Bharatavarsha have faded from our memories despite the enormity of their sacrifices and spectacularity of their successes. This, in part, we suspect is due to a motivated effort to deliberately erase them from our consciousness. Of them, the histories of some are known, thanks to inscriptions and records they left behind in the ruins of the great empires they raised, or from the accounts of the scribes & historians affiliated to invader hordes. With these we are able to reconstruct a picture of the heroism they displayed in defending Dharma & Desha.

The 4 Kingdoms

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To place these epochal events in proper perspective, one needs to go back in time to understand the political scenario in early Medieval Peninsular India.

In their heyday during the 11th & 12 centuries AD, the Cholas of Tamil region ruled over a vast swathe of territory ranging from East Central India to Lanka & Malaya & were among the world’s mightiest kingdoms of the time. Their rule saw an era of abundance & prosperity, thanks to enlightened forms of governance & taxation systems & promotion of trade by bringing stability to sea trade routes. They were also master temple builders and the monuments that still stand today rank among the greatest examples of Hindu architectural ingenuity. Their decline in the later half of the 13th century lead to the resurrection of the fortunes of the Pandya Dynasty of the same region, who were formerly subordinate to the Cholas.

The Pandyas were among the 4 ruling kingdoms of Peninsular India of that time and ruled in an area encompassing most of modern day TN & Kerala. The Hoysalas ruled over most of what’s now Karnataka while the Kakatiyas ruled over the lands of Telangana and Andhra. The 4th kingdom of the Yadavas ruled over most of the upper bounds of Peninsular India, in an area from Goa to Maharatta country right up to the Vindhya mountains.

The last great Pandyan king Maravarman Kulasekhara Pandya I ascended the throne in AD 1268 and ruled for 42 years, ushering in an era of peace & prosperity. After his death, the infighting between his 2 sons, who sought to rule over his kingdom, lead to conditions precipitating the first Muslim invasion of Southern India.

First Blood

Meanwhile, In the year AD 1292, in faraway Karra (now known as Allahabad, UP), the newly appointed governor Ghazi Alauddin Khilji heard exciting news from his spies. They told him of a rich prosperous Hindu kingdom that lay just over South of the Vindhyas that was ruled by an aging ruler who was busy fighting wars in his Southern frontiers with his son leading bulk of his army the. The fact that no Mohammedan Warrior had ever set foot to that place exercised powerful hold over Alauddin’s imagination. Plundering virgin Infidel territory, he reasoned, would give him sufficient credit & resources to pursue his ambitions of unseating his Uncle Jalaluddin Feroze as the Sultan e Hind who ruled from Delhi.

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(Alauddin Khilji)

In the following year, Alauddin marched across the Vindhya mountains with a force of 8000 cavalry, concealing his actions from the knowledge of his Uncle, the Sultan in Delhi. En route to Deogiri, the capital of the Yadava empire, he circulated the rumor that he’s only the advance guard of a much larger cavalry force before laying siege to the city. The Yadava King Ram Deo offered ransom while letting Alauddin know his son Shankar Deo was due to return along with the main army anytime. While Shankar Deo did in fact return with his army, Alauddin deployed a clever ruse, to make it appear that the much larger rumored Muslim cavalry force is attacking, causing Shankar’s army to flee in alarm. Under cover of darkness, Alauddin then pressed on with the siege of Deogiri’s main citadel, slaughtering several hundreds of its inhabitants, including many men of the brahmana caste.The beleaguered King Ram Deo then offered enormous ransom of gold, silver, diamonds & elephants & yearly tribute to Alauddin Khilji ‘s state. Thus satisfied, Alauddin marched back into Kharra and into history as the first successful Muslim invader of the Deccan, paving way for the invasions of wealthy Southern India.

News of Alauddin’s exploits reached the Sultan’s court in Delhi and the worried Sultan Jalaluddin Feroz visited his nephew in Kharra, where in familiar Sultanate tradition, he was promptly murdered right in front of Alauddin in the middle of dinner service. Jalaluddin’s sons were fighting at distant frontiers while a victorious Alauddin made his way to Delhi to ascend the throne of the Sultan in AD 1296, buying support with the massive wealth he plundered from the Yadavas of Deogiri.

A man with Alauddin’s strategic skills & appetite for violence knew that to defend his kingdom and his position within in his kingdom, he needed to raise and maintain an enormous standing army. He thus imposed harsh & punitive tax measures on his mostly Hindu subjects, rendering them incapable of rebellion. But even that wasn’t enough to supply & keep loyalty of his 500,000 strong army. Alauddin’s gaze was always Southwards, remembering his first taste of heady success at Deogiri. That initial plunder alone was enough to buy his way to Delhi, yet Deogiri had much more to offer and there were much more wealthier kingdoms Southwards of Deogiri.

Jihads Further South 

The celebrated Sufi Muslim bard Amir Khusrau, who was employed at the court of Alauddin Khilji, records with unconcealed delight in the Tarik i Alai –

the great Ghazi Alauddin Khalji who had successfully extinguished the depraved Satanic ways of Hindus with his sword from the mountains of Ghazni to mouth of the Ganges, by destroying their temples and putting to death their holy-men (brahmans) , was possessed by a zeal to spread the light of the Mohammedan faith to hithero untouched regions, namely the Deccan & Southern India.’

(( That such a maniacal fanatic like Aamir Khusrau is widely revered as a mascot of India’s ‘Composite culture’ & ‘Ganga Yamuni Tehzeeb’ speaks volumes about the current state of degeneracy Hindus wallow in)).

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(Aamir Khusrau)

Malik Kafur, Alauddin Khilji ‘s best general, was originally an attractive slave boy whom the Sultan took a fancy to. He eventually rose up the ranks with Alauddin’s infatuated favor and proved his mettle as a military commander. After successful expeditions in Gujarat and Rajputhana, Malik Kafur in the years AD 1307 and 1309 respectively, conquered and extracted rich tribute from the Yadava kingdom at Deogiri and Kakatiyas at Warangal.

Wisely, Alauddin did not seek to annex these Hindu Kingdoms to his empire due to the difficulties associated with governing faraway & restive provinces, but looted them & fleeced them by imposing annual tributes to replenish his coffers.

After a protracted bloody siege of Warangal, under threat of a mass slaughter, Malik Kafur extracted from the Kakatiya King Rudra Deva, almost his entire country’s wealth in diamonds, gold, silver, gems, horses and elephants. The last was a particular attraction for the Delhi sultans in Southern India, given the importance the Elephant had as a war machine during that time. Malik Kafur then returned to Delhi with the loot of Warangal burdening a ”1000 camels under the weight of treasure”, according to Aamir Khusrau’s excited testimony.

With Deogiri Yadava and Warangal Kakatiyas looted & denuded of their riches & dignity, the Hoysalas  of Karnata and Pandyas of Tamil country were the only 2 major Hindu kingdoms in the entire Indian mainland who remained untouched by the sword of Islam in the year AD 1310.

Next wave of Southern Jihad 

Having brought the Yadava and Kakatiya kingdoms into submission, Alauddin Khilji set his sights further southwards to the regions of Ma’bar (present day TN & Kerala), which as Aamir Khusrau sagely informs us, were so distant they could be reached only after a 12 month march from Delhi & ‘‘never saw the arrow of a Holy warrior”. In addition to the prospect of spreading his cult, what attracted Alauddin were the superior quality of elephants in the South & other loot prospects. He therefore set out Malik Kafur at the head of an enormous army from the gates of Delhi during November, AD 1310.

The army  of Islam, lead by Malik Kafur, arrived at the gates of Dwarasamudram (Halebidu), capital of the Hoysalas few months later, leaving behind a trail of destruction and demanded that the ruler convert to Islam or pay an enormous amount as Jaziya or die. The Hoysala ruler was then forced to part with nearly all of his treasure (except his sacred thread as Khusrau gleefully records) and elephants and made to agree upon an yearly tribute to be paid to the tyrant in Delhi.

Having humbled the Hoysalas thus, Malik Kafur pressed Southwards, setting his sights on Ma’bar (present TN & KL) where following the death of the great Pandyan King Maravarman Kulasekhara, his sons Sundara and Vira Pandya were locked in a fratricidal war over their right to rule as successor. The late Pandya monarch had ushered in great prosperity over his realm & amassed great wealth in the 42 years of his rule. With this attractive target in mind, Malik Kafur pressesed his army to the Pandya capital, leaving behind an enormous trail of massacres & destruction in his wake, the likes of which have never been seen or heard before in the entire history of Southern India.

An-aerial-view-of-the-Meenakshi-Amman-Temple-an-ancient-Hindu-temple-located-in-the-historic-Temple-CityMadurai-in-Tamilnadu.(Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple)

The great temple cities of Kanchipuram, Chidambaram, Madurai, Srirangam & Rameshwaram in Tamil country were completely devastated by the Mohammedan onslaught. As our genteel Sufi Bard Aamir Khusrau triumphantly records –

”the holy places of the Hindus, which the Malik Kafur dug up from its foundations with the greatest care.. and the heads of the brahmans & other idolators danced from their necks and fell to the floor with torrents of blood. The stone idols called Ling, which had existed for a long time and until now, the kick of the horse of Islam hadn’t attempted to break.. the Mussalmans destroyed all the idols”.

Khusrau also records that Malik Kafur seized over 500 elephants, 5000 horses and over 500 mounds of gems of every imaginable manifestation (rubies, pearls, diamonds, emeralds).

The warring Pandyan brothers, meanwhile, upon hearing the fate that befall the Hoysala King, set their differences aside, went into hiding and continued to wage guerrilla war against the invading Jihadi army. While Malik Kafur was ultimately unsuccessful in forcing the Pandyas to pay tribute, he did return to Delhi with a colossal booty from his campaigns in the South, in addition to leaving behind a garrison of soldiers in Madurai, the Pandyan capital. This would later lead to the genesis of the first Muslim ruled state in Southern India.

Turmoil in Delhi

While his pet General Malik Kafur was bringing a green Holocaust to the previously undespoiled Holy land of Dakshina Bharata, the tyrant Sultan Alauddin Khilji, was being consumed by a kind of putrid hate and madness that comes only at the end of a lifetime of violence & rape. Paranoia combined with the Sultan’s zeal for repression was suffocating a large section of the population, especially the Hindus. Even Muslims born into other ethnicites weren’t spread of the mad King’s wrath. Upon Alauddin’s orders, over 30,000 newly converted Mongol origin Muslims who had settled in Delhi, were massacred on the streets and their women and children sold into slavery. This incident sent shockwaves throughout India. Revolt was brewing and it was into this quagmire that Malik Kafur returned with the colossal wealth he had brutally looted from the Southern realms, vastly increasing the Sultanate’s fortunes.

Alauddin Khilji, the most wildly successful of all Muslim invaders to despoil Bharata, breathed his last on January, 1316. Malik Kafur, the most powerful figure in Delhi post the Sultan, then wasted no time in decimating the entire Khilji clan. However in a stunning twist of fate, the assassins he had paid to kill one of Alauddin’s sons, turned against him and dispatched him to hell, bringing an abrupt end to his fantastic career as of one the greatest Ghazis of all time.

Mubarak Shah, Alauddin Khilji’s son succeeded him on the throne in AD 1317. He appears to have inherited his father’s taste in drink & handsome boys and thus had taken a Gujarati Hindu sex slave (born into a deprived caste) and christened him Khusrau Khan. Like Malik Kafur before him, Khushrau ascended the ranks quickly and became a Vazir in the service of the Sultan.

Distant rumbles

The chaos & mayhem in Delhi gave the Deccan & Southern Kingdoms a reprieve and they stopped sending tribute of treasure and elephants to Delhi. The distant Hoysala Emperor Raja Veera Ballala III rebuilt his ruined city and consolidated his hold over his empire and parts of Tamil country.  In Devagiri, the Yadava King Harapala Deva ascended the throne and stopped sending tribute over to the Delhi sultanate. The Kakatiya Raja Pratap Rudra did the same and strengthened his hold over the frontiers of the old Kakatiya realm. While further down south the estranged Pandya brothers, Vira and Sundara began their fratricidal war again.

This enraged the new Sultan Mubarak Shah and he descended upon Devagiri with his huge army in AD 1318 while Khusrau Khan was sent to Warangal, the seat of the Kakatiyas to teach Pratap Rudra a lesson. The brave Harapala Deva put up a spirited defense but was defeated, captured and in typically barbarous Sultanate fashion killed, flayed, his skin stuffed with straw and displayed from the gates of Devagiri. Thus passed the end of the last great ruler of the Yadavas, who had ruled for nearly 600 years over the Deccan, claiming descent from Lord Krishna himself.

Mubarak Shah then partitioned the Maratha countryside to various Mohammedan governors, bringing the Deccan under direct Muslim rule for the first time ever. The Sultan then ordered the main temples of Devagiri (city of the Gods) demolished and erected a huge Mosque with the pillars of the smashed temples, the first ever masjid in the Deccan. This domed monstrosity was a replica of the Qutub Minar’s masjid, similarly ‘decorated’ with Hindu temple parts. The Sultanate sought to reimagine Delhi in the Deccan.

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(Daulatabad mosque, built by Sultan Mubarak Shah after defeating Yadava empire)

128074372(Hindu temple pillars recycled into the Daulatabad mosque)

Meanwhile, Khusrau Khan successfully waged war upon the Kakatiyas in Warangal and forced them to submit and pay tribute. He then turned to meet his Sultan in Devagiri, who by then had grown suspicious of rumors emanating from Delhi and left for it.

((Devagiri in modern day Maharashtra is known today by the moniker its Islamic despoilers gave it – Daulatabad. Almost none of the temples built by the Yadavas exist today. The Yadavas have been extinguished from public memory by our modern secular state & its rotten education system.))

Mayhem in Delhi

In typical Sultanate fashion, Khushrau Khan gains power over an increasingly mad Mubarak Shah and finally gets him killed. Remarkably then, Khusrau Khan, to the consternation of the Muslim Ulema and Nobility at Delhi, begins a process of Hinduization of the administration, appointing Hindu ministers and generals & banning slavery  of Hindus.

(( Was Khushrau Khan, born a Hindu, returning to his Hindu roots after spending most part of his life as a sex slave & Ghazi ? ))

The anguished Ulema & Muslim nobility then select Ghazi Malik, Governor of Deobalpur (in modern day Pakistan Punjab) to intervene on their behalf. The Ghazi Malik raises a huge army and attacks Delhi. Khushrau Khan empties his treasury to pay his Muslim soldiers to defend the city but they decamp after taking the money from him to join the Ghazi. Khusrau is subsequently captured and tortured and killed and Ghazi Malik ascends the Throne as the first Tughluk emperor, Ghiyasuddin Tughluk in AD 1320.

The renewed Jihad

The Tughluk Sultan then turned Eastwards on a campaign of terror & destruction, launching invasions of Bengal and Odisha, which proved to be partly unsuccessful. Meanwhile his favorite eldest son & heir apparent, Ulugh Khan, in the year AD 1322, launched an invasion of the Kakatiya empire, laying siege to the Kakatiya King Pratap Rudra ‘s fort at Warangal. The Hindus under Pratap Rudra offered brave resistance withstanding the siege, in a cat & mouse game.

Some rumors were spread in the Tughluk camp saying that the Sultan in Delhi had died & that Ulugh Khan was planning to execute his generals, plummeting the morale and adding confusion amongst the ranks. The Hindus of the Kakatiya army then took advantage of the chaos and attacked, routing the army of Islam which was at their gates. Ulugh Khan then retreated to the Sultanate’s bastion at Devagiri (rechristened Daulatabad), waited for reinforcements to arrive from Delhi and relaunched an attack upon Warangal.

warangal-fort-travel-telangana.jpg( what remains of the famed citadel at Warangal, Kakatiya architecture)

The King Pratap Rudra committed the folly of thinking the Muslim invaders had left and opened his fort granaries in celebration, but even then he & his brave soldiers managed to withstand the siege for another 6 months when Ulugh Khan arrived with an enormous army.

Ultimately, the starving Kakatiya army was routed, most of Pratap Rudra’s family killed or enslaved, and the Kakatiya Raja himself was bound & taken to Delhi. Pratap Rudra then committed suicide en route in AD 1323, ending the old Kakatiya dynasty forever.

In a curious twist of events, Prince Ulugh Khan contrived to get his father, the Sultan killed in a bizarre accident and then ascended the throne as Muhammad Bin Tughlak in the year AD 1325. He then launched a series of Jihads across the country, which were very successful and became the Sultan at the head of the largest Muslim Empire ever to rule over Bharata, the frontiers of which extended from Gujarat to Bengal and from Punjab to Tamil Nadu.

Portrait of young woman laying in bed

Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlak sought to ruler over such a vast empire through a policy of repression and political intrigue. The follies and horrors he committed would constitute several separate books by itself, such as his ruinous attempt at conquering China or introducing paper money or changing his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, forcibly moving the entire population southwards. But suffice to say the condition of the lay Hindu became so dire in his rule, ‘they were forced to flee to the jungles after abandoning their farms, a move done only in times of great distress’, as the Mohammedan chronicler Ziauddin Barani notes.

((The capital city of our great secular republic has a large main road named after the tyrant Muhammad Bin Tughlak. Fittingly, the Tughlak Marg intersects the Aurangzeb Road, bringing together the names of the 2 most depraved Muslim rulers to ever be inflicted upon the people of Bharat.))

Southern Hindu struggles

The chaos & mayhem brought about by the Mad Sultan in Delhi did not escape the attention of the Southern Kings. His nephew Bahauddin Garshap, governor of Gulbarga province (in modern day Karnataka) was apparently a moderate Muslim who retained cordial relations with his neighboring Hindu rulers. In the year AD 1326 he declared himself as independent. He then entered into an alliance with his neighboring Hindu chieftan Kampili deva, then a vassal of the Hoysala emperor. The enraged Sultan Muhammad sent a huge army under the leadership of Mujir Al Din Abu Rjia, the Mushriff of Deogiri who then  attacked Garshap causing him to flee and take refuge with Kampilideva.

Rija then attacked Kampili at Hosadurga but the latter’s brave resistance and ingenious battle field tactics caused the former to flee and return and with a larger host. In the clash that followed, the Kampili raja enabled Bahauddin to flee to Dwarasamudra, the capital of the Hoysala state and prepared for a siege at his fort in Hosadurga. Facing a huge army with dwindling supplies, the resolute & brave Raja Kampili died fighting the enemy.

The Tughlak armies then gave chase to Bahaduddin Garshap right upto the gates of Dwarasamudram, the capital of Hoysalas and launched a catastrophic attack, despoiling the numerous temples and palaces of the ancient city, including the grand temple of Shiva (Hoysaleeshwara), the ruins of which can be seen even to this day. Never again would Dwarasamudram regain a shadow of its former glory, as it was abandoned in AD 1327 forever following the attack of the Army of Islam lead by Tughluk.

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(one of the architectural marvels left standing at Halebidu aka Dwarasamudram)

The Hoysala King fled and took refuge at Thiruvannamalai, his outpost deep within Tamil country, avoiding the barbaric fate the befell Bahauddin Garshap. The Sultan’s nephew was tortured, killed, flayed and stuffed with straw and displayed for all to see. In further horrific twist, his flesh was cooked with rice and sent over to his wife and children.

In AD 1330, with the ancient Yadavas, Kakatiyas, Kampilideva dynasties all dead & gone and the Pandyas having degenerated into numerous petty feuding chieftans, the Hoysala Monarch Veera Ballala III was the last remaining major Hindu ruler in the Deccan & Southern India. A calamity had been unleashed upon the South by the Moslem Sultanate invasions over the previous 30 years leading to several ancient Southern dynasties being wiped out, countless ancient temples demolished and several hundreds of thousands dead & millions more displaced.

Madurai Sultanate

Meanwhile, in Madurai, the erstwhile capital of the Tamil Pandya rulers, the local Muslim governor Ahsan Shah after having observed the events in Delhi & around him, decided to throw off Delhi’s yoke and crowned himself the Sultan of Madurai in AD 1335. A force was then promptly dispatched by Sultan Tughlak to teach Ahsan Shah a lesson but ended in failure. The Madurai Sultanate quickly achieved immense notoriety in the 50 years of its brutal existence by the barbaric treatment of native Tamil Hindus, that the Madurai Sultans meted out.

The most cruel of these was Ghiyasuddin Al Damaghani , who crowned himself the Madurai Sultan after murdering Ahsan Shah’s son. A particularly blood curdling eye witness account of his cruelty by the famed Mohammedan traveler & chronicler Ibn Batutta (who was touring India then) is as follows,

”…The next morning, the Hindu prisoners were divided into four sections and taken to each of the four gates of the great catcar. There, on the stakes they had carried, the prisoners were impaled. Afterwards, their wives were killed and tied by their hair to these pales. Li le children were massacred on the bosoms of their mothers and their corpses left there. Then, the camp was raised…

In the same manner did they treat their later Hindu prisoners. This is shameful conduct such as I have not known any other sovereign guilty of. It is for this that God hastened the death of Ghiyath-eddin [Ghiyath-ud-din].One day whilst the Kadhi (Kazi) and I were having our food with [Ghiyath-ud-din], the Kazi to his right and I to his left, an in del was brought before him accompanied by his wife and son aged seven years. The Sultan made a sign with his hand to the executioners to cut o  the head of this man; then he said to them in Arabic: ‘and the son and the wife.’ They cut o  their heads and I turned my eyes away. When I looked again, I saw their heads lying on the ground.

I was another time with the Sultan Ghiyath-eddin when a Hindu was brought into his presence. He uttered words I did not understand, and immediately several of his followers drew their daggers. I rose hurriedly, and he said to me: ‘Where are you going?” I replied: ‘I am going to say my afternoon (4 o’clock) prayers.’ He understood my reason, smiled, and ordered the hands and feet of the idolater to be cut off . On my return I found the unfortunate swimming in his blood…”

Needless to say this was the general character of rule of the Madurai Sultanate and Islamist rulers of the South, though Ghiyasuddin Al Damaghani ranks amongst its most depraved. The piteous condition of Hindus in Tamil country was later immortalized in words of the Goddess of Madurai in the famous poem Maduravijayam composed by a Vijayanagar Princess.

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(Ibn Batuta)

THE HINDU FIGHT BACK

The aging Hoysala Raja Veera Ballala III was a battle hardened veteran. Having ascended the throne in AD 1292, he had made his mark suppressing numerous revolts in his kingdom and fended off an Yadava invasion in AD 1303. He had also dabbled his hand in siding with one of the warring Pandya brothers of Tamil country. But it was against the Muslim conquerors starting from Malik Kafur to Khusrau Khan to Muhammad Bin Tughlak, he proved his real mettle as the sole torchbearer of the Southern Hindu resistance of to Jihad.

Taking advantage of the chaos in Delhi post Alauddin Khilji’s death, he had swiftly re-established his control over the Kingdom and ventured into Tamil country, building outposts setting up a strong chain of defense against invasions from the North. With deft strategic skills he prevented a Muslim garrison being set up within his territory. He ruled from 3 capitals, 2 of them in present Tamil country after his main capital in Dwarasamudram (Halebidu). He managed to create a strong Hindu resistance to the Islamist depradations that had ravaged the South.

After hearing of the atrocities meted upon Hindus in Madurai by Al Damaghani and troubled by the Madurai Sultanate’s repeated attacks on his territory,  in AD 1342 the 80 year old King Veera Ballala III assembled a large army of over 100,000 soldiers to launch an attack on Madurai. He had one of his capitals in Kannur (nearby present day Srirangam, in Tiruchirappalli district, TN) which was strategically located towards the North of Madurai, en route to the core Hoysala territory. This was to prevent reinforcements from reaching the Madurai sultanate from the former Kakatiya regions, which had become part of the Sultanate in Delhi.

At Kannur, the Sultanate army numbered a mere 6000 of which as Ibn Batuta remarks, ‘over half of them were worthless’. This was quickly crushed by the far larger Hoysala force under Veera Ballala III. In an inexplicably stupid move, however, Al Damaghani was allowed to retreat to Madurai as Veera Ballala III made his way to the ancient city, intending to seize it and end the first Muslim state in the South for good.

The old King Veera Ballala III then gave an ultimatum to Sultan Al Damaghani to surrender, which was read out in the prayer congregation of the main mosque in Madurai. The Sultan knowing that his end was near resolved to not surrender and decided to give one last desperate attempt to fight.

Under the cover of darkness, as the Hoysala camps slept around the walls of Madurai, Al Damaghani and a small force of loyal Muslims set out and fell upon the sleeping Hoysala army. In the panic and confusion, the aged Hoysala Monarch Veera Ballala III attempted to mount a horse and flee but was captured by Al Damaghani’s nephew Nasiruddin near the gates of Madurai. This was a turning moment in the history of South India.

The elderly king was then taken to Sultan Al Damaghani. In apparent consideration for his status, the Hoysala Monarch was treated kindly by the Muslim ruler while being asked to give his riches and elephants in return for his safe release. After his wealth was extorted from him, the 80 year old Hoysala Raja Veera Ballala III, the last great Hindu ruler of the South, was murdered, his skin stuffed with straw and displayed on the gates of Madurai for the whole world to see.

Thus passed the last great torchbearer of Hindu resistance to the Islamic Jihad in the entire Indian subcontinent.

When apparently the last hope of Dharma was killed & displayed on the gates of Madurai, a new revolution was brewing in the banks of the Tungabhadra river further up North, deep inside Karnata country, where 2 brothers Harihara & Bukka would forever change the fate of South India and Dharmic civilization across the subcontinent..

TO BE CONTINUED

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Remarks: 

It is widely assumed that Southern India escaped the brunt of the ravages perpetrated by Muslim invaders & Islamic rule as in elsewhere in the country, due to its great distance from the focal point of Moslem power in Delhi. However, reading the above events, this simply is not true. Many of the ancient classical ruling dynasties of the South were wiped out without a trace. They had ruled for several centuries before and had nurtured a flowering of Dharma in various forms such as literature, philosophy, art & architecture in Southern India. These kingdoms were among the most prosperous in the world as seen in the numerous chronicles and  testimonies referring to them. The extinguishing of these great cultures by the Moslem invasions at that time is not well known by most South Indians today themselves.

What is true is that the character of native Hindu resistance to Muslim invader depredations was more tenacious than elsewhere. This was undoubtedly aided by the topography of the South, which would have presented a greater challenge for any invader to surmount.

Its important to bear in mind that the Islamist invading armies were aided via espionage and subversion by several Sufi ‘saints’ who had traveled into the South for preaching earlier. In many cases as with the Yadavas at Deogiri and Pandyas at Madurai, the very Sufi preachers they had patronized acted as spies providing intelligence to the foreign invaders.

Also worth noting for Hindus is that disunity and constant feuding amongst Hindu kings kept each of these Kingdoms rather weak and starved of resources, so they couldnt mount an effective defence against invaders. It was also a failure of the so called intellectuals of Hindu society that they could not understand the nature of the religious zeal behind these new invasions. Ignorance and disunity therefore crippled native Southern Hindu resistance for the greater part of a century. The same problems continued to plague Hindu society for centuries to come, right upto this very day..

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders – by S Krishnaswami Aiyangar, published 1921.

2. The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History – by Peter Jackson, published 1999.

3. Tarikh i Alai – by Syed Aamir Khusrau, contemporary Moslem historian scholar at Alauddin Khilji’s court in 14th century.

4. Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi by Ziauddin Barani, contemporary Moslem historian scholar at Muhammad Bin Tughlak’s court in 14th century Delhi.

5. Ibn Battuta’s chronicles of travels in Southern India, 14th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “The Saviors of Hindu Dharma in South India – Part 1

    1. Kriya ki pratikriya prakriti ka niyam hai …pratikriya avashya hogi …(Dhairya banye rakhe ..atmvishwas prabal kare ..hriday me jalti hue jwala ko niyantran me rakhe bhitar ke daityo ke rakt pipasu khsatriya ko jagrit kare) ..aur jab pratikriya hogi to rakt ki sarita nahi bahegi apitu mrityu ka sagar akar lega …dharti aur akash danavo ke chithado se sarbor kar diye jayenge…mrityu unmukt hokar wo nanga nirtya karegi ki swarg ki afsarayein bhi mantramugdh hokar nitrya me kho jayengi….mahaakaal, mahakali ,Chamunda, Chandika apne saare daitya rakt pipasu muh khol denge ….daitya dubara dharti pe janm na lene ki prarthna karenge….lekin dhadhakti chandika ..daityo aur unke ansho ki haadiyo tak ko gala ke uska ras pan karegi……itihass apni punravriti itne nrishanshya roop se viprit disha me karega ..ki itihaaskar varnan karne ki apni yogyata kho dega …charo dishao se daityo ka mrityu ka bheek mangta artnaad hi sunayi dega….brahmaand me ek hi swar sunayi dega ek hi tandav ka nritya hoga …..daityo ki mrityu ka swar ..daityo ki mrityu ka tandav…dhrya rakhe ..aur vishwas rakhe aur satark rahe

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  1. Atrocities committed by moslems are unforgivable. Sadly we hindus of today just want to eat, sleep and enjoy when our kings fought day and night for our future..The least we can do is remember our ancestors an d at the same time remember these mass murderer moslems.

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  2. I think ultimate reason Islam was able to conquer India was the lack of good Philosopher after Chanakya. So while due to influence of relatively better philosophy of Vedic era, India prospered materially. Intellectual tools were not sufficient to be in tune with requirements of 1st millennium AD.

    If during this time we had someone like Al-Ghazali for Islam, or Thomas Acquinas for Christianity, perhaps Hindu resistance would have been even better.

    Following movie review indicates how even deeper Hindu Renaissance can be approached.

    http://studentofdrpeikoff.blogspot.in/2015/01/movie-review-pkdrunkard.html

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  3. This is as coherent as a hindu nationalist account of our medieval history can be, Not going to deny the barbarity of the invasions or cruelty of Khilji. My only problem with these narratives (and others like that of Sitaram Goel or Elliot-Dowson) is that they think that Hindu Muslim conflict alongwith invasions, plunder is *ALL* there is to it. If you look at the cultural/religious sphere things get much more complicated. Again, if you think culture as something static and pure and not as a river with many tributaries you will find reasons to moan & mourn there also.

    Second point on Khusrau, remember he was a courtier like almost all medieval historians, artists, poets. One of his job was to write “qasidas” praising the emperor. In the same vein, you can also read the poetic exaggerations in his prose works in an ironic manner. People who quote selective excerpts from his narrative on twitter are not aware of the verses he wrote on Radha and Krishna. How can someone celebrate the brutal killing of idolators and later also write sufi poetry, which is in a way a reversion to pagan and pantheistic idol worship?

    There is a short biography of Khusrau that I will recommend very highly
    http://www.dli.ernet.in/handle/2015/80727

    it is by great doyen of Aligarh historians Mohammad Habib. Don’t go by the muslim name. He was actually a great nationalist and a passionate critic of many of our medieval rulers. He was not a negationist.

    Finally in your remarks: you say

    “It was also a failure of the so called intellectuals of Hindu society that they could not understand the nature of the religious zeal behind these new invasions. Ignorance and disunity therefore crippled native Southern Hindu resistance for the greater part of a century. ”

    Are you sure about this? If yes, when do you think Hindus started realizing their own stupidity? Who were the intellectuals who roused them from slumber and showed them the light? Or, was it the British? Or was it the case that there was nothing like a collective Hindu identity at all in the pre-modern period and that it was a modern construction? I hope you will get to these questions in your future blogs.

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    1. Alok, Thanks for reading through.

      1. The point of this article was to show that the Sultanate invasions of the South and Deccan werent merely about loot and plunder as before but had a radically different character in which total war was waged upon infidel populations with the aim of weakening/wiping out their traditional belief systems. Which is made amply clear in the testimonies of the contemporary Mohammedan chroniclers such as Khusrau..

      2. On Aamir Khusrau himself, i cannot comment on his mysticism/poetry ityadi.. but have restricted myself to the delight he expresses while recording the Sultanate’s excesses in Kingdoms far down south. This speaks volumes as to what his motivations were. This is further reinforced in his other works, given the kind of comments he makes on Hindus. The contention that he wrote these accounts merely to satisfy his employers doesnt hold much water as works such as Tarik i Alai were published post the death of the Khilji emperor.

      3. Thanks for sharing Muhammad Habib’s work on Aaamir Khusrau.. i shall peruse it later. It is entirely possible than an Islamist while being politically opposed to Hindus to the point of hating them, might share share some of their mystical reverences. Maulana Hasrat Mohani, a staunch Muslim Leaguear Pakistanwadi was also a mystical devotee of Krishna and wrote many poems in his praise.

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  4. Excellent research. However lack, of innovation (in military tech.) aided in their downfall. Caste system too made many erstwhile outcasts to join the invading muslim army.

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  5. Also to be emphasized is the large scale destruction of the water works and maybe other unknown public systems that forever crippled the Maharatta country and the peninsula. Its pernicious effects are being felt to this day with millions suffering in droughts which were avoided and eased by those systems. Not only the works, but the human resources and technology for the same too disappeared due to chaos and lack of patronage. The core are of the seuna yadavas which must have been
    It has lessons for how an Abrahamism, especially the third literally runs civilization down to the ground. parallels exist of the metal and colouring technologies in vanga and the christian suppression of the mechanical works in rhodes and anatolia. While indeed later “muslim golden age” works do mention mechanicnarrative gives “muslim scientists” full and complete credit for these. Closer home in takshshila, purushpura once highly cosmopolitan, regions civilized life is impossible.al devices, they seem to be survivals and not real innovations as claimed, and of course the

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  6. How to write history from Hindu vs Muslim POV whitewashing other nuances. How fratricidal war between sundra pandiyan and veera pandiyan led one of them to side with malik to fight against his brother? How meenakshi amman temple in madurai had not been damaged (it was closed) after 50 years of Muslim rule? How telugu nayakkars who defeated Muslim rulers were seen as occupiers in Madurai? How there were Muslims in Kerala before malik’s invasion? Of course, Explaning these nuances will reflect poorly on the Hindu vs Muslim narrative.

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    1. 1. Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai did undergo extensive damage during course of Malik Kafur’s sack of the city and was closed for the entire duration of the Madurai Sultanate, till the very same ‘Telugu’ Nayakars came and rescued the city and repaired the temple and opened it for public use. There is a lot to be said of the Telugu Nayak’s role in saving dharma in Tamil country. I suppose a lot of it would offend your narrow minded version of Tamil nationalism. I shall expand more on that in following posts.

      2. Vira and Sundara Pandiyan’s conduct during the Muslim invasions is poorly understand. I havent gone into detail about the speculation that Sundara went to Delhi to plead with Alauddin Khilji to intervene in the conflict. Primarily because the evidence to flesh out this theory is quite thin and doesnt stand upto scrutiny. what is known is that both of these brothers did at one point of time settle their differences to wage guerilla warfare on the invading troops of Malik Kafur.

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      1. First of all, I’m not a Tamil nationalist. I’m an Indian Tamil. What I’m against is this attempt to create Hindu vs Muslim narrative in south India where none exists.
        Damages to meenakshi Amman temple are natural in a sense that temple was closed for 50 years. Even kumbabishekam was not performed because construction was just over and pandiya dynasty fell because of this invasion. There were no widespread destruction of temples (looting, yes. Destruction of temples, no)in tamilnadu unlike north India. Historically, More damages were done to temples during shaivism-vaishavism conflict than muslim invasion. I said Telugu nayakkars because Tamil nation as it was known, came to its end because of them. Tamil nation was under Telugu rule (since 1370s) much longer than the Muslim rule (1328-1371).
        Sundarapandiyan didn’t go to Delhi. He met Malik kafur in Dhuvara samuthram (I don’t know which city it is in present name). Brothers might have settled their differences but only after they lost Madurai to malik, not before that. You can’t go into details of alliance between sundara pandiyan and malik kafur because it doesn’t fit into your narrative of Hindu vs Muslims.
        My request is Leave Tamil Muslims alone. They aren’t from Persia or Arabia like maybe some Muslims from north India. These guys are Tamils. Their ancestors converted because of historic compulsions. They have nothing to do with what malik kafur or the short rule of Delhi sultans in Madurai had done.

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    2. You talk about nuances without wanting to acknowledge the core narrative, how convenient. Islamic invasions in India were all motivated by the Muslim hatred for non-muslims. Islam destroyed Buddhism wherever it went and it also tried to destroy Hinduism. Meenakshi Amman temple was looted and damaged only because it was a Kafir place of worship. The main linga was concealed and the lookalike was damaged and is still kept in the temple. The narrative is always Muslim Vs Non-Muslim. Hindu/Buddhist/Sikh/Christian/Atheist identities are all circumstantial. So you are not willing to admit the Muslim Sultans of Madurai as invaders, but want to call the Hindu freedom fighters are outsiders (Telugu) ? Were the Muslim sultans speaking Tamil ? You have completely ignored the violence of the Muslim Sultans against the Non-Muslims. Your own Hindu hatred and illogical reasoning is getting revealed. Muslims being in Kerala is not relevant to the discussion. Speaking a language does not mean anything if one does not acknowledge the culture that has sustained it for thousands of years. People support ISIS, Hitler etc in Tamil, but that does not make them part of Tamil culture. The Hindu Vs Muslim narrative exists because Hindus were victims for a thousand years and Muslims are proud of the invaders.

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  7. Hi,

    This is an absolutely great post. I was also under impression that besides Tipu South mostly escaped Slamic genocide. We have to salute brave Hindus of those times who kept fighting to save Dharma and Bharat.
    Looking forward to your next post. Also I have always wondered what exactly stopped India from becoming another Iran-Iraq where original civilization is merely a memory or vice versa why couldnt Iran-Iraq protect their civilization.

    Thanks,
    Bharatiya

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  8. I see many who are becoming hopeless,angry,some other rationalizing same Marxist/Jihadi history.
    Histories are there to learn lesson and move on.After reading many have learnt following:
    1.know who is outsider/insider
    2.Inspite of fights within insider unite against outsider
    3.Study about outsider well
    4.Winning in war is more important than the path
    5.Be unforgiving & ruthless on enemies.
    6.Never give up and keep trying
    7.These stories make one more confidant and hopeful given that we have survived the worst.
    8.Inspite of naysayers the soul of Hindu Dharma will triumph against all odds.

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  9. A brilliant read. For real historical narrative we often have to go beyond textbooks burdened by political correctness. It is essays like this which convey the true picture – of the devastating invasions as well as the heroic resistance of South India
    I personally found the section on the turmoil in Delhi, after the end of the Khaljis & the rise of the Tughlaqs very enlightening. The establishment of the Madurai Sultanate & the brutalities of Damaghani are covered in all their gory detail. This is essential to know the horrors unleashed upon the people of South India.
    Looking forward to subsequent parts, which will cover the next phase of the rebellion & fight back of the Hindus. It is because of the sacrifices of these heroes that our great shrines of Srirangam, Madurai etc are still alive today. It is rousing to hear this story from the pen of AgentSaffron

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  10. Great long form article on Southern History.

    Waiting for the next post in this series.

    Srirangam temple urchava moorthy was taken to Tirupathi during the Muslim invasion. Can you elobarate on that part of history? What tactical steps Hindus took to save temples?

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  11. सवाल ये है भारत इतना जल्दी आसनीसे कैसे मुसलमानों में कब्जे में आ गया?
    उत्तर कठीण है लेकिन एक बात साफ है देश अपनी ऊर्जा खो चुका था,यह बहुत सस्ती बात है कि कहना कि हिंदू आपस में लड रहे थे,लड तो आपस मे मुसलमान भी थे!!
    देश दुनिया से कट चुका था,नये विचार के लिये दरवाजे बंद कर चुका था, आज भी कितने लोगो को दुनिया के राजनीती के बारे में मालूम है?
    इसल्ये मुसलमानों को दोष देना बंद करे जो हुआ उसी के लायक ये देश था और है
    जब मूर्खओ को पैदा करोगे और उनको महिममण्डित करोगे तो यही तो होगा
    आज भी देश के news channel and print media चीन ,अमेरिका और साऊथ चीन समुद्र में क्या चल रहा है कितनी दखल लेता है?

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  12. रही बात महाराष्ट्र कि ऊस समय वहा क्या हो रहा था ये भी सोचणी जैसा मामला है
    देवगिरी के यादव चक्रधर स्वामी का सर कलम कर रहे थे ,कारण यही कि उनके नये विचार ये सहन नही कर पा रहे थे ,वे समता के विचार लोगो को सीखा रहे थे
    उनका पँटप्रधान हेमाडपंत ये ग्रन्थ लिखने में मग्न थ कि उपास कैसे करे ,कैसे देवतॊ को प्रसन्न करे साथ मे चक्रधर स्वामी का कैसे मौत के घाट उतारे!!
    सारा उत्तर हिंदुस्थान मुसलमानों के हात जल रहा था और इधर ब्राम्हण ये सोचणे में मग्न थे संत ज्ञानेश्वर जो को सन्यासी माता पिता पुत्र थे कैसे ब्राह्मण नही है और उधर उत्तर मे ब्रह्मणो को चुन चुन के मारा जा रहा था
    और ये बेवकुफ यादव जिनके पीछे विराट उग्र सहयाद्री खडा था उसको भूल गया और मारे गये
    साडे तिनसो सालों के बात छत्रपती शिवाजी महाराज ने वही सह्याद्री कि मदत ले कि मुघल सामराज्य धुलं मे मिला दिया
    तो ये तो आत्ममग्न बववकुफो कि कहाणी है जो उसी के लायक थे

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  13. Mr. Rajesh knows not the present day place corresponding to the historical place he likes to call Dhuvara Samuthra instead of with its historically we’ll known name of Dwarasamudram. His ultra leftist attempt to brand an excellent and enlightening article by @agentsaffron sir on the barbaric savagery meted out on our ancestors by the alien attempts to destroy the Dharma and Bharathavarsha speaks volumes of his desperation to save the distortion the Marxist insane elements have inflicted on our education system and general discourse among the common folks. The Marxists have cunningly shifted focus in history writings from the kings and historical wars to culture, economy and society to divert attention from the generally prevalent barbaric treatment the alien Muslim bigoted rulers.

    Looking forward to more of such enlightening articles from @agentsaffron sir.

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  14. Reblogged this on HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA and commented:
    It is assumed that south India did not get as much barbaric attacks and conversion by INVADERS ISLAMIC MUSLIMS but on contrary it is half truth. Many Hindu kingdoms were destroyed, many conversion took place. Tipu Sultan sent army to either convert or slaughter in Kerala and all south India. Even Sword of Tipu Sultan say: Kill infidels Hindus who do not convert.
    They had ruled for several centuries before and had nurtured the flowering of Dharma in various forms such as literature, philosophy, art, and architecture in Southern India.

    These kingdoms were among the most prosperous kingdoms in the world, as can be seen in references given to them in numerous chronicles and testimonies. This Article will make all of you to learn from history and wake up before another Bangladesh, Pakistan or Iran or Iraq or middle east created from present India. It is time to get together and help BJP under MODI to grab all India and create old SANATAN DHARMA back in India and forget CASTE and Religion for sake of country.
    It is important to bear in mind that the Islamist invading armies were aided via espionage and subversion by several Sufi ‘saints’ who had traveled into the South for preaching. In many cases as with the Yadavas at Deogiri and Pandyas at Madurai, the very Sufi preachers they had patronized acted as spies providing intelligence to the foreign invaders.

    But, what is true is that the character of native Hindu resistance to the depredations of the Muslim invasion was more tenacious than elsewhere. This was undoubtedly aided by the topography of the South, which would have presented a greater challenge for any invader to surmount.

    It’s a telling commentary on the state of the Hindu nation that we have collectively forgotten the titanic struggles of our forebears, who shed their blood in the millions to defend the very land we walk upon. In particular, several great heroes from the Southern realms of Bharatavarsha have faded from our memories despite the enormity of their sacrifices and spectacularity of their successes.

    This, in part, we suspect is due to a motivated effort to deliberately erase them from our consciousness. Of them, the histories of some are known, thanks to the inscriptions and records they left behind in the ruins of the great empires they raised, or from the accounts of the scribes and historians affiliated to invader hordes. With these we are able to reconstruct a picture of the heroism they displayed in defending Dharma and Desha.

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