By K.N. Pandita, New Delhi, 10/01/07
Apropos of ‘Obscured By Myth’ (ToI 10 Jan 07), geographical compartmentalization of Islamic socio-political construct including conversions is not the right way of understanding a process so emphatically recommended by the Qur’an and tradition. If caste system was the basis for Indian conversions, nothing of the sort existed in Iran, Central Asia, Egypt, Sudan, or Mesopotamia etc. overrun by Arabs and converted to Islam. Furthermore, it is not a good logic to juxtapose Brahmanism to Islam while discussing Islamic conversion. A faith concentrating on individual for moral and ethical advancement is different from a faith with ordained mission of expansion. The fault of not reaching the precise sources of Islamic conversions lies in the inability of the writers, like the one in question, to be familiar with the historical accounts of the Muslim scholars recorded in their own language, Arabic or Farsi. Two Farsi histories on the subject, namely Baharistan-i-Shahi (English translation 1991) and Tohfatu’’l-Ahbab (unpublished MS), both written by Muslim scholars around the middle or the beginning of the 16th century, give us admirably vivid description of the philosophy and modus operandi of Islamic conversions in Kashmir.