Indian Hindu extremist leaders and journalists have been slammed on social media over images of Taliban leader Anas Haqqani visiting the shrine of 10th-century ruler Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi, which was recently shared on social media.

Even liberal journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai started criticizing and calling Mahmood Ghaznavi a tyrant and a ruler who demolished temples. So was Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni really a tyrant? And did they really demolish the temple of Somnath or is it a myth?

The opinion of Mahmud Ghaznavi that he demolished the temple of Somnath due to hatred of idol worship or prejudice against Hindus is wrong. The Indian author Romela Thapar herself writes in her book Somnath that the gates which were removed from the tomb of Ghaznavi by the British at the request of Hindus in the 19th century and preserved in the fort of Agra saying that they were actually stolen from Somnath temple. The doors were not only made of sandalwood but they were also made of cedar wood which is found in Afghanistan.

It is possible that the story was fabricated by the British to spread hatred between Hindus and Muslims as the East India Company was in a desperate attempt to somehow gain complete control of India.

According to Romela

For this, they were adopting the strategy of “divide and rule”. There is also weight in Romela’s case because if Mahmud Ghaznavi really hated the Mandas, he would not only target the temple of Somnath but would have adopted the same attitude all over India.

Another example of this is that if Mahmud Ghaznavi hated Hindus or demolished temples, he would have demolished the giant Buddha statue in Bamiyan in Afghanistan first, which he did not do during his rule, and neither did he. Subsequent Muslim rulers did just that. On the contrary, the statue was demolished by the Taliban in 2001 under the same philosophy that the British had created to divide Hindus and Muslims. Besides, in the famous book on the history of Punjab written in the history of Punjab, Syed Muhammad Latif writes that there were thousands of Hindu soldiers in Mahmud Ghaznavi’s own army. If he had attacked the Somnath temple on the basis of faith, his own Hindu soldiers would not have sided with him but would have revolted. Analyzing it objectively, it is clear that the Ghaznavid attack on the Somnath temple was based on access to the hidden wealth in it and not on hatred of idolatry.

The way in which both the Hindu extremist organizations in India and the Taliban are distorting the facts and portraying Mahmud Ghaznavi as the Messiah and a negative character may be aimed at strengthening their political credibility at the local level. The Taliban government is currently battling a dangerous terrorist organization like ISIS, which needs public support to defeat, while the Hindu extremist parties BJP and RSS need anti-Muslim hate material for the UP elections. Therefore, the Taliban and the BJP have unknowingly helped each other. So whether the political objectives are fulfilled or not, it is certain that the loss of this hateful politics will have to be borne by the Muslim minorities of India.

Note: The institution does not necessarily agree with the views of the author and the content presented.

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Last Update: April 16, 2023