Muslims brought with them several modern branches of learning to India, One of the most important of which was history. Before the arrival of Muslims the writing of history was almost an unknown art in India, there being hardly anything to speak of in the line save religious treatises and a few epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Muslims produced a whole library of historical works that could compare favorably in authenticity and comprehensiveness with the endeavors made in this branch in any other country. A glance through Maulana Syed Abdul Hai’s monumental book in Arabic, Es-Saqafal-ul-Islamia-Fil-Hind1 (Islamic Culture in India), will indicate what tremendous efforts were made by Muslims for the compilation of the history of India.
To quote Dr. Gustave le Bon :
“There does not exist a history of ancient India. Their books contain no historical data whatever, except for a few religious books in which historical information is buried under a heap of parables and folk-lore, and their buildings and other monuments also do nothing to fill the void for the oldest among them do not go beyond the third century B. C. To discover facts about India of the ancient times is as difficult a task as tile discovery of the island of Atlantis, which, according to Plato, was destroyed due to the changes of the earth.”2
The writer, after admitting that the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, do shed some light on the conditions obtaining during those days, goes on to add that
“The historical phase of India began with the Muslim invasion. Muslims were India’s first historians.”2
New Techniques in Poetry and Literature
Liberality of the mind, originality of thought and new techniques of poetry and literature were taught to the Indians by Muslims. A new angle of vision and a new horizon of thought could not be possible without intellectual and literary integration. To the credit of Muslims also goes the birth of a most beautiful living, growing and expanding language which became the medium of intercourse among people of the various parts of the country and an excellent vehicle of literary expression. By it, we mean Urdu whose richness and elegance begs no description.
The impress of Muslims is most prominent in the sphere of culture, social manners and general mode of living. The Muslims revolutionized the pattern of life in the country and gave it a new form which was entirely different from what was known here formerly, just as the design of life in modern Europe is totally dissimilar to what prevailed there in the Middle Ages.
- The book has recently been published by the Arabic Academy, Damascus, Syria.
- Gustave te Bon : Les Civilisations de L’Inde (Urdu Translation by Syed Ali Bilgrami) Book III, p. 146.
P.S. The article has been created from the works of great Islamic scholar Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Ali Miyan)