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Thursday, 22 March 2012

From the Pages of Indian History. March 22nd 1739.



 
 

From the Pages of Indian History.
 
Now a day whenever a massacre happens anywhere in the world, the atrocity becomes news and media is always awash with reports with some televised horrifying images, but such was not the case in 1739.
Delhi is a city of many memories. The streets of Delhi seem to have left very little room for marking historic events of the so many to invade India. Some of its anniversaries are still observed, some just remembered, and others fully forgotten. A grim one belonging to the forgotten category which falls on March 22nd 1739. On that date, over two centuries ago, the national capital witnessed a human carnage of unparalleled intensity and scale which invites us to imagine the day Nadir Shah unsheathed his sword for the qatl-e-aam in Shahjahanabad
 
This was the notorious qatle-aam of Delhi, a general massacre ordered by the invading king Nadir Shah of Persia. His soldiers slaughtered a staggering 20,000 men, women and children in the city on March 22, 1739, within a spell of six hours. It is almost unbelievable that such a large number could be killed in such a short time. It would have been a difficult feat even with modern weapons. But there were independent eye-witness accounts of this horrific happening.
The killing of about million Jews by Hitler during the Holocaust was not carried out in one but was systematic and spread over many years.
The Mughal Empire had been weakened by wars of succession and secession in the three decades since the death of Aurangzeb. The regime was corrupt and disunited, but the country was still extremely rich and Delhi's prosperity and prestige unblemished. Nadir Shah came in to grab a piece of the pie, like so many before and after him in India's history.
On March 22, Nadir Shah rode out in full armour from the Red Fort and took a seat at the Sunehri Masjid of Roshan-ud-dowla near the Kotwali Chabutra in the middle of Chandni Chowk. Around 9 am, he unsheathed his sword as a signal to commence the public slaughter.
Soon the pathways of areas like Chandni Chowk and Dariba Kalan, Fatehpuri and Faiz Bazar, Lahori, Ajmeri and Kabuli gates, Hauz Kazi and Johri Bazar — densely populated by Hindus and Muslims alike were littered with bodies. Shops were looted and mansions were set ablaze. Women were ravished and abducted, many committing suicide. Even Muslim citizens were reported as resorting to jauhar, killing their own women and children. Here and there some opposition was offered, but in most places people were butchered unresistingly. The Persians laid their hands on everything and everybody. For a long time, streets remained strewn with corpses, in the gardens with dead leaves and flowers. The town was reduced to ashes.
Nadir Shah ordered the bloodshed halted around 2 pm. But the plunder continued for some days. The contents of the imperial treasury, including the Peacock Throne, jewels and gold were seized. "The accumulated wealth of centuries changed hands in a moment. Nadir Shah returned with the loot to his country where he was murdered some years later.
It is said that the whole population of the city of Delhi has been wiped out several times.  The 1739 massacre was neither the last nor the first Delhi has suffered. Three centuries earlier it had been sacked by Timur and more than 100.000 were killed or converted to Islam. The killings continued Later by Mongol invaders followed by the Muhgal rulers and ultimately by the British Imperials Rulers. It is believed that more than one billion people of India majority of them Hindus were killed. This should have reduced the population of Hindu to a minority but still the population of Hindu in India is almost 83%.
All those soothsayers and others  who have been predicting that the Hindus will eventually be wiped out and the whole country will become an Islamic have been and will be proved wrong.
Law and order obviously depends on respect and fear for the power meant to maintain it, and to ensure them with due care is the prime business of a government.
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