Have I got it right ? क्या हम सही पकड़े हैं ?

Today Anas Haqqani tweeted. See the screenshot of the tweet and a couple of replies are give in text below.

If you have, like me, all the time in the world to spend and really want to know who this moron is click here

Yes, he is now a Talibani Minister in Afganistan. He was one of the negotiators with Americans at Doha.

There is a news item on Tribune today suggesting this tweet may be the cause of a spate of shootings of innocent civilians in Kashmir.

“Two tweets by a Haqqani Network scion which glorified the destruction of statues in Somnath have stirred social media users and given food for thought to intelligence agencies here.

“Making a reference of his visit on Tuesday to Ghazni, a city past its prime, Anas Haqqani glorified Mahmud Ghaznavi and his act of breaking the Somnath temple idol.”

“Haqqani’s first tweet in Pashto went unnoticed where he made no reference to Ghazni’s foray into Somnath though he did say that the medieval age ruler had been a breaker of idols. His second tweet, an hour later, was in English and it specifically mentioned that he had “smashed the idol of “Somnath.”

This set the social media on fire with some Afghans berating him for digging up the past, others hailing his statement and Indians largely pointing out that the Somnath Temple today shines in full glory whereas Ghazni is a dust bowl.

Having read the above, I recalled writing of our learned historian cum story telling intellectual Romila Thapar on Somnath that I had read many years ago in a monthly journal of the Communist Party of India.

Memory loss is a natural phenomenon in old age of lesser mortals like me. I wanted to quote her words of wisdom on this controversy. But if I quote someone it has to be backed by an authentic source. That is “sina quo non” in the times that we live in.

And since I have a lot of time to waste no no spend these days I searched and found a reference.

The following quotes are what Romila ji had opined after extensive research in a subject that leftist liberal marxists like her ( these words are deliberately chosen to portray the oxymoron nature of marxists) . Yes in contemporary times they are liberals and nationalists are conservatives.

And the comic tragedy is that neither the marxists liberal nor nationalist conservatives know who they are.

“Not unexpectedly, the Turko-Persian chronicles indulge in elaborate myth-making around the event, some of which I shall now relate. A major poet of the eastern Islamic world, Farrukhi Sistani, who claims that he accompanied Mahmud to Somanatha, provides a fascinating explanation for the breaking of the idol.11 This explanation has been largely dismissed by modern historians as too fanciful, but it has a significance for the assessment of iconoclasm. According to him, the idol was not of a Hindu deity but of a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess. He tells us that the name Somnat (as it was often written in Persian) is actually Su-manat, the place of Manat. We know from the Qur’an that Lat, Uzza and Manat were the three pre-Islamic goddesses widely worshipped,12 and the destruction of their shrines and images, it was said, had been ordered by the Prophet Mohammad. Two were destroyed, but Manat was believed to have been secreted away to Gujarat and installed in a place of worship. According to some descriptions, Manat was an aniconic block of black stone, so the form could be similar to a lingam. This story hovers over many of the Turko-Persian accounts, some taking it seriously, others being less emphatic and insisting instead that the icon was of a Hindu deity.

THE identification of the Somanatha idol with that of Manat has little historical credibility. There is no evidence to suggest that the temple housed an image of Manat. Nevertheless, the story is significant to the reconstruction of the aftermath of the event since it is closely tied to the kind of legitimation which was being projected for Mahmud.

The link with Manat added to the acclaim for Mahmud. Not only was he the prize iconoclast in breaking Hindu idols, but in destroying Manat he had carried out what were said to be the very orders of the Prophet. He was therefore doubly a champion of Islam.13 Other temples were raided by him and their idols broken, but Somanatha receives special attention in all the accounts of his activities. Writing of his victories to the Caliphate, Mahmud presents them as major accomplishments in the cause of Islam. And not surprisingly, Mahmud becomes the recipient of grandiose titles. This establishes his legitimacy in the politics of the Islamic world, a dimension which is overlooked by those who see his activities only in the context of northern India.

BUT his legitimacy also derives from the fact that he was a Sunni and he attacked Isma’ilis and Shias whom the Sunnis regarded as heretics.14 It was ironic that the Isma’ilis attacked the temple of Multan and were, in turn, attacked by Mahmud in the 11th century and their mosque was shut down. The fear of the heretic was due to the popularity of heresies against orthodox Islam and political hostility to the Caliphate in the previous couple of centuries, none of which would be surprising given that Islam in these areas was a relatively new religion.

Mahmud is said to have desecrated their places of worship at Multan and Mansura. His claims to having killed 50,000 kafirs (infidels) is matched by similar claims to his having killed 50,000 Muslim heretics. The figure appears to be notional. Mahmud’s attacks on the Hindus and on the Shias and Isma’ilis was a religious crusade against the infidel and the heretic.

But interestingly, there were also the places and peoples involved in the highly profitable horse trade with the Arabs and the Gulf. Both the Muslim heretics of Multan and the Hindu traders of Somanatha had substantial commercial investments. Is it possible then that Mahmud, in addition to religious iconoclasm, was also trying to terminate the import of horses into India via Sind and Gujarat? This would have curtailed the Arab monopoly over the trade. Given the fact that there was a competitive horse trade with Afghanistan through north-western India, which was crucial to the wealth of the state of Ghazni, Mahmud may well have been combining iconoclasm with trying to obtain a commercial advantage.”

~ Romila Thapar Click here for the full article

There is another article in right wing online portal Opindia.

They quote not our desi Romila Thapar but an equally worthy historian/ writer story teller from the west Richard Davis.”

“In ‘Lives of Indian Images’, 1999 (Princeton University Press), Richard Davis mentions Ghaznavi wanted to destroy the idols as his duty as a Muslim.

Excerpt from Lives of Indian Images’ by Richard Davis, 1999 (Princeton University Press).

Let me end this post by linking a tweet by Times Now where in the daughter of a Kashmiri Pandit Bindroo who was shot by terrorists sends a reply and challenge to the terror mongers.