„The Sultan then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindus. The name of this place was Maharatu-l Hind. He saw there a building of exquisite structure, which the inhabitants said had been built, not by men, but by Genii, and there he witnessed practices contrary to the nature of man, and which could not be believed but from evidence of actual sight. The wall of the city was constructed of hard stone, and two gates opened upon the river flowing under the city, which were erected upon strong and lofty foundations to protect them against the floods of the river and rains. On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work; and opposite to them were other buildings, supported on broad wooden pillars, to give them strength.
In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it: - "If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand, thousand red dinars, and it would occupy two hundred years even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed."…
The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.“

—  Mahmud de Ghazni, Quotes from Tarikh Yamini (Kitabu-l Yamini) by Al Utbi, About the capture of Mathura. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 44-45 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
Mahmud de Ghazni photo
Mahmud de Ghazni
971 - 1030

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Mahmud of Ghazni photo
Firuz Shah Tughlaq photo

„Firuz Shah Tughlaq organised an industry out of catching slaves. Shams-i-Siraj Afif writes in his Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi: “The Sultan commanded his great fief-holders and officers to capture slaves whenever they were at war (that is, suppressing Hindu rebellions), and to pick out and send the best for the service of the court. The chiefs and officers naturally exerted themselves in procuring more and more slaves and a great number of them were thus collected. When they were found to be in excess, the Sultan sent them to important cities… It has been estimated that in the city and in the various fiefs, there were 1,80,000 slaves… The Sultan created a separate department with a number of officers for administering the affairs of these slaves.”. Firuz Shah beat all previous records in his treatment of the Hindus… He records another instance in which Hindus who had built new temples were butchered before the gate of his palace, and their books, images, and vessels of Worship were publicly burnt. According to him “this was a warning to all men that no zimmi could follow such wicked practices in a Musulman country”. Afif reports yet another case in which a Brahmin of Delhi was accused of “publicly performing idol-worship in his house and perverting Mohammedan women leading them to become infidels”. The Brahmin “was tied hand and foot and cast into a burning pile of faggots.”“

—  Firuz Shah Tughlaq Tughluq sultan 1309 - 1388
The historian who witnessed this scene himself expresses his satisfaction by saying, “Behold the Sultan’s strict adherence to law and rectitude, how he would not deviate in the least from its decrees.” Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231

Mahmud of Ghazni photo
Ibn Battuta photo

„One day I rode in company with ‘Alã-ul-mulk and arrived at a plain called Tarna at a distance of seven miles from the city. There I saw innumerable stone images and animals, many of which had undergone a change, the original shape being obliterated. Some were reduced to a head, others to a foot and so on. Some of the stones were shaped like grain, wheat, peas, beans and lentils. And there were traces of a house which contained a chamber built of hewn stone, the whole of which looked like one solid mass. Upon it was a statue in the form of a man, the only difference being that its head was long, its mouth was towards a side of its face and its hands at its back like a captive’s. There were pools of water from which an extremely bad smell came. Some of the walls bore Hindî inscriptions. ‘Alã-ul-mulk told me that the historians assume that on this site there was a big city, most of the inhabitants of which were notorious. They were changed into stone. The petrified human form on the platform in the house mentioned above was that of their king. The house still goes by the name of ‘the king’s house’. It is presumed that the Hindî inscriptions, which some of the walls bear, give the history of the destruction of the inhabitants of this city. The destruction took place about a thousand years ago…“

—  Ibn Battuta Moroccan explorer 1304 - 1377
Travels in Asia and Africa (Rehalã of Ibn Battûta), Lahari Bandar (Sindh) . The Rehalã of Ibn Battûta translated into English by Mahdi Hussain, Baroda, 1967, p. 10.

Amir Khusrow photo
Alauddin Khalji photo
Gene Wolfe photo
Mahmud of Ghazni photo

„Mahmood having reached Tahnesur before the Hindoos had time to take measures for its defence, the city was plundered, the idols broken, and the idol Jugsom was sent to Ghizny to be trodden under foot…Mahmood having refreshed his troops, and understanding that at some distance stood the rich city of Mutra [Mathura], consecrated to Krishn-Vasdew, whom the Hindoos venerate as an emanation of God, directed his march thither and entering it with little opposition from the troops of the Raja of Delhy, to whom it belonged, gave it up to plunder. He broke down or burned all the idols, and amassed a vast quantity of gold and silver, of which the idols were mostly composed. He would have destroyed the temples also, but he found the labour would have been excessive; while some say that he was averted from his purpose by their admirable beauty. He certainly extravagantly extolled the magnificence of the buildings and city in a letter to the governor of Ghizny, in which the following passage occurs: "There are here a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful; most of them of marble, besides innumerable temples; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition but at the expense of many millions of deenars, nor could such another be constructed under a period of two centuries."…The King tarried in Mutra 20 days; in which time the city suffered greatly from fire, beside the damage it sustained by being pillaged. At length he continued his march along the course of a stream on whose banks were seven strong fortifications, all of which fell in succession: there were also discovered some very ancient temples, which, according to the Hindoos, had existed for 4000 years. Having sacked these temples and forts, the troops were led against the fort of Munj…The King, on his return, ordered a magnificent mosque to be built of marble and granite, of such beauty as struck every beholder with astonishment, and furnished it with rich carpets, and with candelabras and other ornaments of silver and gold. This mosque was universally known by the name of the Celestial Bride. In its neighbourhood the King founded an university, supplied with a vast collection of curious books in various languages. It contained also a museum of natural curiosities. For the maintenance of this establishment he appropriated a large sum of money, besides a sufficient fund for the maintenance of the students, and proper persons to instruct youth in the arts and sciences…The King, in the year AH 410 (AD 1019), caused an account of his exploits to be written and sent to the Caliph, who ordered it to be read to the people of Bagdad, making a great festival upon the occasion, expressive of his joy at the propagation of the faith.“

—  Mahmud of Ghazni Sultan of Ghazni 971 - 1030
Quotes from Muslim medieval histories, Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. I, pp. 27-37.

Syed Ahmed Khan photo

„Iron Pillar: “…In our opinion this pillar was made in the ninth century before (the birth of) Lord Jesus… When Rai Pithora built a fort and an idol-house near this pillar, it stood in the courtyard of the idol-house. And when Qutbu’d-Din Aibak constructed a mosque after demolishing the idol-house, this pillar stood in the courtyard of the mosque…
”Idol-house of Rai Pithora: “There was an idol-house near the fort of Rai Pithora. It was very famous… It was built along with the fort in 1200 Bikarmi [Vikrama SaMvat] corresponding to AD 1143 and AH 538. The building of this temple was very unusual, and the work done on it by stone-cutters is such that nothing better can be conceived. The beautiful carvings on every stone in it defy description… The eastern and northern portions of this idol-house have survived intact. The fact that the Iron Pillar, which belongs to the Vaishnava faith, was kept inside it, as also the fact that sculptures of Kirshan avatar and Mahadev and Ganesh and Hanuman were carved on its walls, leads us to believe that this temple belonged to the Vaishnava faith. Although all sculptures were mutilated in the times of Muslims, even so a close scrutiny can identify as to which sculpture was what. In our opinion there was a red-stone building in this idol-house, and it was demolished. For, this sort of old stones with sculptures carved on them are still found.
”Quwwat al-Islam Masjid: “When Qutbu’d-Din, the commander-in-chief of Muizzu’d-Din Sam alias Shihabu’d-Din Ghuri, conquered Delhi in AH 587 corresponding to AD 1191 corresponding to 1248 Bikarmi, this idol-house (of Rai Pithora) was converted into a mosque. The idol was taken out of the temple. Some of the images sculptured on walls or doors or pillars were effaced completely, some were defaced. But the structure of the idol-house kept standing as before. Materials from twenty-seven temples, which were worth five crores and forty lakhs of Dilwals, were used in the mosque, and an inscription giving the date of conquest and his own name was installed on the eastern gate…“When Malwah and Ujjain were conquered by Sultan Shamsu’d-Din in AH 631 corresponding to AD 1233, then the idol-house of Mahakal was demolished and its idols as well as the statue of Raja Bikramajit were brought to Delhi, they were strewn in front of the door of the mosque…”“In books of history, this mosque has been described as Masjid-i-Adinah and Jama‘ Masjid Delhi, but Masjid Quwwat al-Islam is mentioned nowhere. It is not known as to when this name was adopted. Obviously, it seems that when this idol-house was captured, and the mosque constructed, it was named Quwwat al-Islam…”“

—  Syed Ahmed Khan Indian educator and politician 1820 - 1898
Asaru’s-Sanadid, About antiquities of Delhi. Translated from the Urdu of Asaru’s-Sanadid, edited by Khaleeq Anjum, New Delhi, 1990. Vol. I, p. 305-16

„The next monument visited was the great Jain temple built only a few years before by Shantidas Jhaveri, one of the wealthiest men of Gujarat in his day and high in favour both with Shah Jahan and after him with Aurangzeb. …In 1638, however, when Mandelslo visited the place, this temple which he calls ‘ the principal mosque of the Banyas ’ was in all its pristine splendour and ‘ without dispute one of the noblest structures that could be seen’. ‘It was then new,’ he adds, ‘ for the Founder, who was a rich Banya merchant, named Shantidas, was living in my time.
As Mandelslo’s description is the earliest account we have of this famous monument, which was desecrated only seven years after visit by the Orders of Aurangzeb, then viceroy of Gujarat (1645), we shall reproduce it at some length. It stood in the middle of a great court which was enclosed by a high wall of freestone. All about this wall on the inner side was a gallery, similar to the cloisters of the monasteries in Europe, with a large number of cells, in each of which was placed a statue in white or black marble. These figures no doubt represented the Jain Tirthankars, but Mandelslo may be forgiven when he speaks of each of them as ‘ representing a woman naked, sitting, and having her legs lying cross under her, according to the mode of the country. Some of the cells had three statues in them, namely, a large one between two smaller ones.’ At the entrance to the temple stood two elephants of black marble in life- size and on one of them was seated an effigy of the builder. The walls of the temple were adorned with figures of men and animals. At the further end of the building were the shrines consisting of three chapels divided from each other by wooden rails. In these were placed marble statues of the Tirthankars with a lighted lamp before that which stood in the central shrine. One of the priests attending the temple was busy receiving from the votaries flowers which were placed round the images, as also oil for the lamps that hung before the rails, and wheat and salt as a sacrifice. The priest had covered his mouth and nose with a piece of linen cloth so that the impurity of his breath should not profane the images.“

—  Shantidas Jhaveri Indian jewellery and bullion trader during Mughal era 1580 - 1659
Description of the temple built by Shantidas Jhaveri. Mandelslo’s Travels In Western India (a.d.1638-9) https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.531053 p. 23-25

Alexis De Tocqueville photo

„In cities men cannot be prevented from concerting together, and from awakening a mutual excitement which prompts sudden and passionate resolutions. Cities may be looked upon as large assemblies, of which all the inhabitants are members; their populace exercises a prodigious influence upon the magistrates, and frequently executes its own wishes without their intervention.“

—  Alexis De Tocqueville, livro Da Democracia na América
Democracy in America, Volume I (1835), Chapter XV-IXX, Variant translation: In towns it is impossible to prevent men from assembling, getting excited together and forming sudden passionate resolves. Towns are like great meeting houses with all the inhabitants as members. In them the people wield immense influence over their magistrates and often carry their desires into execution without intermediaries. Chapter XVII.

Firuz Shah Tughlaq photo
George Fox photo
Jacques Ellul photo

„As Mahoba was for some time the headquarters of the early Muhammadan Governors, we could hardly expect to find that any Hindu buildings had escaped their furious bigotry, or their equally destructive cupidity. When the destruction of a Hindu temple furnished the destroyer with the ready means of building a house for himself on earth, as well as in heaven, it is perhaps wonderful that so many temples should still be standing in different parts of the country. It must be admitted, however, that, in none of the cities which the early Muhammadans occupied permanently, have they left a single temple standing, save this solitary temple at Mahoba, which doubtless owed its preservation solely to its secure position amid the deep waters of the Madan-Sagar. In Delhi, and Mathura, in Banaras and Jonpur, in Narwar and Ajmer, every single temple was destroyed by their bigotry, but thanks to their cupidity, most of the beautiful Hindu pillars were preserved, and many of them, perhaps, on their original positions, to form new colonnades for the masjids and tombs of the conquerors. In Mahoba all the other temples were utterly destroyed and the only Hindu building now standing is part of the palace of Parmal, or Paramarddi Deva, on the hill-fort, which has been converted into a masjid. In 1843, I found an inscription of Paramarddi Deva built upside down in the wall of the fort just outside this masjid. It is dated in S. 1240, or A. D. 1183, only one year before the capture of Mahoba by Prithvi-Raj Chohan of Delhi. In the Dargah of Pir Mubarak Shah, and the adjacent Musalman burial-ground, I counted 310 Hindu pillars of granite. I found a black stone bull lying beside the road, and the argha of a lingam fixed as a water-spout in the terrace of the Dargah. These last must have belonged to a temple of Siva, which was probably built in the reign of Kirtti Varmma, between 1065 and 1085 A. D., as I discovered an inscription of that prince built into the wall of one of the tombs.“

—  Alexander Cunningham
Archaeological Survey of India, Volume I: Four Reports Made During the Years 1862-63-64-65, Varanasi Reprint, 1972, Pp. 440-41. Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Volume I.

Muhammad bin Qasim photo

„On the receipt of this letter, Hijaj obtained the consent of Wuleed, the son of Abdool Mullik, to invade India, for the purpose of propagating the faith and at the same time deputed a chief of the name of Budmeen, with three hundred cavalry, to join Haroon in Mikran, who was directed to reinforce the party with one thousand good soldiers more to attack Deebul. Budmeen failed in his expedition, and lost his life in the first action. Hijaj, not deterred by this defeat, resolved to follow up the enterprise by another. In consequence, in the year AH 93 (AD 711) he deputed his cousin and son-in-law, Imad-ood-Deen Mahomed Kasim, the son of Akil Shukhfy, then only seventeen years of age, with six thousand soldiers, chiefly Assyrians, with the necessary implements for taking forts, to attack Deebul'… 'On reaching this place, he made preparations to besiege it, but the approach was covered by a fortified temple, surrounded by strong wall, built of hewn stone and mortar, one hundred and twenty feet in height. After some time a bramin, belonging to the temple, being taken, and brought before Kasim, stated, that four thousand Rajpoots defended the place, in which were from two to three thousand bramins, with shorn heads, and that all his efforts would be vain; for the standard of the temple was sacred; and while it remained entire no profane foot dared to step beyond the threshold of the holy edifice. Mahomed Kasim having caused the catapults to be directed against the magic flag-staff, succeeded, on the third discharge, in striking the standard, and broke it down… Mahomed Kasim levelled the temple and its walls with the ground and circumcised the brahmins. The infidels highly resented this treatment, by invectives against him and the true faith. On which Mahomed Kasim caused every brahmin, from the age of seventeen and upwards, to be put to death; the young women and children of both sexes were retained in bondage and the old women being released, were permitted to go whithersoever they chose… On reaching Mooltan, Mahomed Kasim also subdued that province; and himself occupying the city, he erected mosques on the site of the Hindoo temples.“

—  Muhammad bin Qasim Umayyad general 695 - 715
Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated into English by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, 4 Volumes, New Delhi Reprint, 1981. p. 234-238

Alauddin Khalji photo

„They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000, and children of both sexes, 'more than the pen can enumerate'… In short, the Muhammadan army brought the country to utter ruin, and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants, and plundered the cities, and captured their offspring, so that many temples were deserted and the idols were broken and trodden under foot, the largest of which was one called Somnat, fixed upon stone, polished like a mirror of charming shape and admirable workmanship' Its head was adorned with a crown set with gold and rubies and pearls and other precious stones' and a necklace of large shining pearls, like the belt of Orion, depended from the shoulder towards the side of the body….
'The Muhammadan soldiers plundered all these jewels and rapidly set themselves to demolish the idol. The surviving infidels were deeply affected with grief, and they engaged 'to pay a thousand pieces of gold' as ransom for the idol, but they were indignantly rejected, and the idol was destroyed, and 'its limbs, which were anointed with ambergris and perfumed, were cut off. The fragments were conveyed to Delhi, and the entrance of the Jami' Masjid was paved with them, that people might remember and talk of this brilliant victory.' Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. Amen! After some time, among the ruins of the temples, a most beautiful jasper-coloured stone was discovered, on which one of the merchants had designed some beautiful figures of fighting men and other ornamental figures of globes, lamps, etc., and on the margin of it were sculptured verses from the Kurdn. This stone was sent as an offering to the shrine of the pole of saints… At that time they were building a lofty octagonal dome to the tomb. The stone was placed at the right of the entrance. "At this time, that is, in the year 707 h. (1307 a. d.), 'Alau-d din is the acknowledged Sultan of this country. On all its borders there are infidels, whom it is his duty to attack in the prosecution of a holy war, and return laden with countless booty."“

—  Alauddin Khalji Ruler of the Khalji dynasty 1266 - 1316
Quotes from The History of India as told by its own Historians, Somnath. Abdu’llah ibn Fazlu’llah of Shiraz (Wassaf) : Tarikh-i-Wassaf (Tazjiyatu’l Amsar Wa Tajriyatu’l Ãsar), in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 43-44. Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.

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