Was Bhakti Movement Anti - women?

Bhakti or Devotion

By K.V. Ramakrishna Rao, B.Sc., M.A., A.M.I.E., C.Eng.(I)., B.L.,


odern scholars have perceived, conceived, debated and interpreted Bhakti movement differently – reactionary (implying diehard, retrogressive, regressive), sectarian (conveying partisan, cultist, non-conformist), counter-sectarian (against other sects, groups. communal), ideological, feudal, anti/non-Vedic, anti/non-Brahmanic, anti-women and so on1. The saints who were previously considered as reformers are dubbed as cult leaders, sectarian gangsters, sectarian leaders, sectarian heads, political agents and so on2. Here, the anti-woman aspect is taken up for study.

About the role of women in the Bhakti movement, certain interpretation has been given that the movement –

  1. Curtailed progress and freedom of women.
  2. Took away their rights considerably.
  3. Women were considered ignoble, contemptible and inferior.
  4. Thus, they were treated badly.
  5. Males dominated relegating women to background.
  6. Even Bhakti literature was operated to achieve such ends.
  7. Religious scriptures were employed to sanctify such move and so on.

In short, it was a movement directed to suppress and oppress Indian / Hindu women. Reliance is placed upon the very words of the saints, religious leaders and others. Kabirdas, Tulsidas, Surdas, Kesavdas, Gurunanak, Dadu dayal, Shankaradeva, Chaitanya and others were depicted as such oppressors and suppressors, who are hitherto considered as reformers, revolutionaries and torch bearers of equality, egalitarianism and ultimate utopian society3. This contradicting, conflicting and negating interpretations are not only intriguing but also interesting to a researcher to analyze the issue critically and investigate the facts of myth and reality leading to such interpretations.

To tackle the issue directly, the famous sati is taken first, as it has projected as the most heinous crime committed against womanhood. Incidentally, it is an accepted fact that sati became prominent with the invasion and the rule of Muslims. History books too faithfully record Purdah system, sati, child-marriage, restriction on the liberty of women etc are the effects of Delhi Sultanate rule and the interaction of Islam with Hindu religion. Therefore, one can note that the cited effects had direct bearing on women of India, which are now interpreted as social evils.

What is revealed in the incidences of Sati and Jauhar?

It is evident that most of the modern writers, journalists and researchers have confused the issue of Rupkanwar without knowing the meaning of and difference between the words and concepts of sati and jauhar.

We find so many such incidences of which some famous ones are noted here as follows:

Samyogita, the daughter of Jayachandra married to Prithwiraj, sacrificed her life when Prithwiraj was killed by Mu’izuddin Muhammad of Ghur5.

When Chitor was besieged by Alauddin Khilji, Padmini and other women preferred heroic death to a disgraced existence by plunging into jauhar (self-immolation)6. Col. James Tod narrates:

But another awful sacrifice was to precede this act of self-devotion in that horrible rite, jhar, where the females are immolated to preserve them from pollution or captivity. The funeral pyre was lighted within the ‘great subterranean retreat’ in chambers impervious to the light of day, and the defenders of Chitor beheld in procession of the queens, their own wives and daughters, to the number of several thousands. The fair Padmini closed the throng, which was augmented by whatever of female beauty, or youth could be tainted by Tartar lust. They were conveyed to the cavern, and the opening closed upon them, leaving them to find security from dishonour in the devouring element ”

When Sultan Bahadur shah of Gujarat (1534-35) sieged and sacked Chitor, hundreds of Rajput women under the leadership of Karnavati, burnt themselves in jauhar7. The incidence is described by Tod as follows:

The infant Udai Singh, was placed in safety with Surthan, prince of Bundi, the garrison put on theor saffron robes, while materials for johar were preparing. There was little time for the pyre. The bravest had fallen in defending the breach, nor completely exposed. Combustibles were quickly heaped up in reservoirs and magazines excavated in the rock, under which gunpowder was strewen. Karnavati, mother of the prince, and sister to the gallant Arjun Hara, led the procession of willing victims to their doom, and thirteen thousand females were thus swept at once from the record of life. The gates were thrown open, and the Deolia Chief, at the head of the survivors, with a blind and impotent despair, rushed on his fate. Bahadur must have been appalled at the horrid sight on viewing his conquest (1533/1534) ”

When Akbar directed Asaf Khan I to invade Rani Durgavati, she fought courageously against the Muslim army. But, when her army was defeated and she herself was injured in the battle, she preferred to die than to be caught by the alien forces. She stabbed herself to death to save her honour.

Here, some important questions arise:

1. Why women should fight with Muslim armies?

2. Why they should self-immolate themselves or jump into fire etc., after getting defeated or they were surrounded by the Muslim army?

3. Why such incidences should have been recorded by the Muslim chroniclers and European travellers and administrators?

4. Why historians and history book writers prominently record the incidences of sati and jauhar, but keep silence about the cause, reason and circumstances leading to such incidences?

5. What was the mod psychology behind the self-immolation of more than one woman even up to thousands as has been faithfully recorded, even though they were not married?

It is evident that interpreters of Bhakti movement have not gone into these details before accusing the saints as oppressors and suppressors of women. But without mincing the words, the questions are to be answered. An attempt is made as follows:

1. History proves that most of the north Indian women had to face and experience the scourge and violence of the Muslim invasion in one way or the other. The Rajaput women virtually fought with them in the battles to save their kingdoms, royal rights and honour.

2. The habit and obsession of the Muslim army had been to capture, kidnap and abduct Hindu women after their victory. Their target had been on the civilian women also, irrespective of their martial status. After their sexual exploitation, they used to enslave them in their houses to do domestic work, sell as slaves and dump in harems. Therefore, when Muslims treated Hindu women in such a disgraceful and dishonourable manner, they had no other way but to die with honour and also teach a lesson to the abductors, kidnappers and womanisers sending warning to other women to follow the suit. The temples constructed in their memory become immediate attraction sending shock waves in the minds of the Muslim rulers and administrators, particularly who had indulged in such sexual abuses.

3. These incidences had been unique in the history of the history of women affecting the offenders considerably. As they were treating women as inferior to men, they could not imagine and digest the valour, courage and preparedness of Hindu women to fight and die. Therefore, the chroniclers recorded them faithfully.

4. The European writers were enthralled to find the incidences and initially, they thought that only witches were hunt and burnt at stakes as in inquisition. In Christian society, women were not given equal status with men. In fact, women’s becoming saints or ordained to become so was unthinkable. When they tried or attempted to project so, they were hunted, declared witches and burnt at stakes (think of Joan of Arc etc.,). But, when the European scholars could notice that Indian women could fight the invaders, equally educated, compose poems, become saints, preach religion and so on, they could not digest. Because, in the medieval period or even up to 19th century, women becoming saints was unimaginable in the western society. Therefore, they decided to misinterpret the facts and that is what happened in the historiography. The Muslim chroniclers too could not assimilate the facts. That is why the period was dubbed as medieval period.

5. As the Mohammedan invaders had been particular in defiling the honour of the Indian womanhood, the Indian women were given importance in the society, because, it becomes the duty of their counterparts to protect them at any cost. Thus, they were elevated to Godhead so that others followed their actions, deeds and exemplary character. Moreover, the johar incidences sent shock waves in the minds of lecherous Muslim invaders, rulers and officials at one side and throwing challenge to their religion at the other side with cropping up of more and more sati temples. It was a psychological attack on the Muslims by the Indian womanhood.

Why a woman should die for her honour or chastity?

Women, particularly modern women ask many courageous, thrilling and affecting questions. Why should I marry? Why Should I bear children? Why should I have family? Why should I work for others? It is not known as to woman wants preserve her chastity forever by doing so otherwise. But, they should answer why woman should die for honour or should have died so?

Women should deal the issue without mincing the words. Chastity is definitely like her life for any woman, whether it has to be treated as a biological, moral or social entity or issue.

Biological entity: It is fact that chastity is a biological entity that is why it is preserved and honoured by all in aspects. Chastity is purity i.e. sexual purity and therefore, its breaking with the bondage with a single man is regulated and even sanctified. Even in monogamous system of society, for maintaining such purity, single male is prescribed. Of course, polyandrous society is exceptional and uncommon. Anyway modern woman too wants to preserve her chastity at any cost, otherwise, there would not be so much hullabaloo about aids and AIDS propaganda against AIDS propagation.

Moral entity: This aspect of treating chastity is more ethical, virtuous and moralistic. When biological entity treatment of chastity ceases or ignored, moral code is imposed to what extent the chastity of woman can be treated comes under concern. As morality, moral values and virtues vary from society to society, social aspect of treatment of chastity comes into play.

Social entity: Societies have different types of marriages acceptable to their manmade code, system and established la later. It is connected with civil, cultural, political aspects too.

Modern entity: The modern, neoteric and developing concept of chastity boils down to freedom of sex presented in different expressions - freedom of sex, vaginal freedom and so on. As they are out of context, they are not discussed, as they are irrelevant for the material period taken for study.

Therefore, the issue has been more crucial to be dealt with instead of subjecting it to ideological interpretation tainted with political, communal or religious orientation. Ultimately, if the entire issue boils down to the preservation of chastity of Indian womanhood, can anybody interpret differently making compromises in this regard?

The Political Conditions of the Material Period and its Impact on the Indian Society:

During the period of 13th to 16th centuries, it is a fact that the rulers adapted and adopted suppressive and oppressive methods and even atrocities heaped against Indian womanhood. Taking away women, even they were married, forceful marriages, sexual exploitation, selling the captured kafir-women as slaves, dumping in harems and other woman related atrocities and heinous crimes were order of the day. This anti-woman attitude had resulted in the most retrograde, regressive and degenerative social evils like sati (self-immolation), jauhar (mass-immolation), child marriage, purdah, excommunication of affected women and their families, separation and disintegration of families, widowhood, orphans, formation of new caste groups, caste rigidity, and so on. Such sociological problems led to the economic problems because of division of properties and landholdings, breaking of traditional industries, destruction of certain arts and crafts.

Adbuction of Hindu women by Muslims:

About this topic, the examples given are only illustrative and not exhaustive, as the Muslim chronicles contain very detailed description of such incidences.

Muhammad bin Tuglaq was notorious for enslaving Hindu women:

The sultan never ceases to show the greatest zeal in making war upon the infiedels……Everyday thousands of slaves are sold at a very low price, so great is the number of prisoners8.

Ibn Battuta’s eyewitnesses account of the sultan’s arranging the enslaved girls’ marriages with Muslims on a large scale on the occasion of the Id, confirms the statement of Abbas:

First of all, daughters of Kafir (Hindu) Rajas captured during the course of the year, come and sing and dance. Thereafter they are bestowed upon Amirs and important foreigners. After this daughters of other Kafirs dance and sing..the Sultan gives them to his brothers, relatves, sons of Maliks etc. On the second day the durbar is held in a similar fashion after Asr. Female singers are brought out…….the Sultan distributes them among the Mamelike Amirs. On the third day relatives of the Sultan are married and they are given rewards. On the sixth day male and female slaves are married. On the seveth day he (the sultan) gives charities with great liberality9.

Ibn Battuta writes:

At (one) time there arrived in Delhi some female infidel captives, ten of whom the Vazir sent to me, but he was not satisfied. My companion took three young girls, and I do not know what happened to the rest10.

Thousands of Hindu women11 were captured in the minor yearly campaigns (Ibid, p.180) of Froz Shah Tughlaq, and under him the Id celebrations were held on lines similar to those of his predecessor12.

In all cases, the Hindu women were converted to Islam. Except the women, who were kept as wives, all others were sent harem, nauch groups etc. Therefore, their condition must have been unimaginable after separation from their fathers, mothers, brothers and other relatives, particularly, from their husbands, babies and children.

Muslims followed No Code of Conduct in the Battles, Invasions, Raids:

The Hindus had a code of conduct of war and battles, which are perhaps similar to modern day international war code. Was / battle was allowed only from dawn to dusk with clear announcements made. Civilians were never attacked, particularly, aged, women and children never touched. The wounded were always spared, but, it is evident that Muslims never followed such code – they attacked at any time; sieged forts and palaces without warning; hounded and killed the wounded; women were chased, abducted and carried away. The famous fight of Rana Pratap Singh can be remembered here. Therefore, the Hindus had to loose many battles.

Caste rigidity and Problems of Women:

The Hindu society had been torn into pieces, because of the frequent raids and abduction of Muslims without any morality or moral values. Even the married women were not spared. This had created an indelible impression of the atrocities of the Muslims in the minds of Hindus. However, there were some attempts to take such Hindu women back into the fold, because, she was required to take care of her babies and children, who were longing for mother’s love and affection.

Alberuni records a number of restrictions imposed upon reconversion to Hindu religion13, but he probably noted only the extremely orthodox view in this regard. On the other hand, Devalasmriti14 and other similar works15, lay down liberal rules for the reconversion of men and women who might have stayed with the mlechhas for even as a period of twenty years. Therefore, it is evident that Dharmasastras were amended for and against the acceptance of such women, leading to the formation of new caste groups with rigid rules.

Mohammedan Law Imposed on Hindus:

It is fact that the Muslim rulers imposed Mohammedan law on the Hindu subjects adversely and administered through Kazis. The official language and proceedings were in Persian in most cases. The Hindus hated this and thus, regional languages were promoted during the Bhakti movement.

“Through Bhakti the Hindu faith of each region found some of its most honoured expression in the regional language. Recorded expressions of the Bhakti spirit during centuries of Islamic attacks on Hinduism became a strong link for each region with the past16 (emphasis added).

In fact, the modern scholars interpreted that the factors of language, caste and region played a crucial role in dividing the people. But, it may be noted that the same dividing factors united Indians. Though the languages were different, the same songs / bhajans were sung by all. The saints hailed from different castes, they were respected by all. Though, they were from different regions, they travelled throughout India and were welcomed. Received and treated well by all. Here, women played a role in respecting all with their inherent qualities and promoting harmony.

Direct effects on Women:

The physical and psychological effects on the Indian womanhood during the material period were harrowing, appalling and deplorable and above all inexplicable.

1. The rulers differentiated Indian / Hindu and Muslim women (Muslim women were given privileged treatment, while Hindu women treated badly, Purdah was imposed on Hindu women also, while the dancing of Hindu women was encouraged, the dancing of Muslim women restricted and banned, the nauch groups increased with deserted and forsaken women).

2. Hindus laid specific instructions about the movement of their women (visit to places of worship, going to the houses of relatives and friends, drawing of water from the wells, rivers, washing of clothes at tanks, rivers, participation in religious and social functions, gatherings and traditional fairs) etc.

3. Their movement outside house was restricted or even banned (Muslim women were banned from going outside their homes. If they wanted to go, they were accompanied with their male relatives or servants. Even visit to toms was restricted and banned. But there was no official restriction on the movement of Hindu women).

4. Even inside home was not safe, because of frequent raids, attacks and forceful abduction and kidnapping of women (some male had to be present to take care of, thereby regular work, and livelihood of the family affected considerably).

5. The marriages between Hindu women and Muslims, even, if they are aliens were encouraged and promoted by the rulers. In most of the cases, the married women were sold to harems (Muslim rulers, officers, soldiers and slaves married Hindu women according to Mohammedan law, they also conducted fairs to buy women slaves, thus slavery encouraged. This indirectly led to the abduction of Hindu women, increase of harems, selling of abducted and kidnapped women etc).

6. The children born to such women and the women themselves were neglected by the exploiters and in turn by the society (invariably, they turned out to be tyrannical, despotic, cruel and criminal. Malikafur is the best example. He was a Hindu, but after converting into Hindu, he was the man who inflicted worst injury and destruction physically and psychologically on Hindus)

Indirect Effects on Women:

1. The psyche of women was very much affected adversely (virtually, they had been terrorized. They felt that there was no guarantee for their honour in the society).

2. Their urges, ambitions and drives were shattered (they could not participate in their traditional activities of learning and other avocations. Female illiteracy increased).

3. Their normal lives, day to day activities and freewill were attacked (as their participation in all social, economical and religious activities were restricted, they lost all their freedom).

4. All their rights were curtailed and even appeared to have been abolished ().

5. They had to behave puppets, handmaids and slaves of rulers and the ruling class.

The Interaction Between Hindu and Muslim Women:

Except few Muslim women who came along with the invading Muslims, most of the others were Hindus and they were abducted or carried away during their raids, attacks and seizures. Royal and ruling classes married women by force, authority and compulsion. Thus, the Hindu women played important role in the interaction between Hindus and Muslims, as Hindu women and converted Muslim women.

Many times, Hindu women had to encounter with Muslim women, because of the political and social compulsions imposed upon them. Whenever, any Muslim ruler, officer, soldier or other adducts, buys or marries and bring Hindu women, their wives must have known the fact. As long as the Hindu women were used for the sexual gratification and then left for household work, the Muslim women must have kept quite happily. How their natural jealousy worked against the atrocities of Muslims is interesting to study.

After conversion, because of the traditional brought up, they must have been obedient and faithful to their husbands. However, they must have also understood and realized the restrictions imposed on them, exploitations continued and atrocities inflicted in the name of religion. Therefore, as Muslim women, they must have been put up with all disgrace, shame and humiliation.

The concept of chastity among Hindu and women differ considerably. Traditionally, chastity was considered as a paramount virtue of women in India and the rites, rituals and ceremonies were codified, conducted and solemnized accordingly. But, the Mohammedan concept of chastity of women appears to differ considerably because of sanctified polygamy, talak (divorce), marriage after talak, prevalent of harem, etc. The concept of chastity related to “one man – one woman” had been totally absent in the scriptural, philosophical, theological and social levels. Thus, the acts of sati and johar would have also affected the Muslim women considerably.

Historians glorify that Muslim rulers married so many Hindu women and so on and present such instances as a great unifying force of Hindus and Muslims. But, they do not mention or record as to how many Muslim women were married to Hindus reciprocally to promote such lofty ideology.

The Hindu Attitude towards Muslims and Vise versa:

It is a fact that Hindus never accepted the rule of the Muslims in spite of their usurping, conquer, victory and so on. Politically or according to historical interpretation, they might have ruled India. But, they never conquered the hearts of Indians or ruled them as a social entity. The political regimen, domination of Muslim rule and religiously biased administration only resulted in the vulgar material life, looting of Indian wealth from every source, immoral social snobbery, degradation of traditional values, religious fanaticism, fundamentalism, communalism and terrorism, and ultimately the “We can do anything on Hindus” – attitude, In fact, they never ruled Indians in its entirety and totality. Even during the material period, except the marked area on the maps shown in the modern history books, one can find most of the India was still under the rule of Indians. The Muslims dubbed Hindus kafirs (unclean/non-believers/heathens/infidels) and Hindus considered them as mlechas (foreigners). The Hindus never agreed for the marriage of their women with Muslims. No mediaeval Hindu, however low in social status, liked a marriage with a Muslim, though of royal blood, as in Hindu eyes the mere touch of a Muslim was defilement or pollution17. The rulers allowed Hindus living in their Islamic State provided they were to pay tax and accept the status of zimmis (inferior citizens) subject to conditions. To counter the restrictions imposed on Hindus18, the Bhakti movement adopted effective way as explained below.

Was there any Spiritual Abuse during Bhakti Movement?

Spiritual abuse is an inherent damage inflicted on the spirit of the affected through Spiritual violent methods. This is more than psychological or emotional abuse in some cases considering the damage done. Spiritual violence affects deep than any other psychological violence. It involves the shame experienced when everyone in the community is aware of the violence, and when they too are implicated as victims of the violence. Spiritual Victimization may be based on race, color, or other forms of identification with that community, and it includes the abuse suffered from a history of genocide or persecution or aggression, but in Indian context all factors worked together in attacking women as explained above.

They were not subjected to any spiritual or psychological methods, as they had been the victims of violence, aggression and attack. The Bhakti movement, in fact, assuaged the feelings of women to forget their horror and terror and become normal, so that they can continue their duties according to their will as before. It had mainly worked in preserving and protecting their honour and restoring their rights.

Thus, she could come out of her house, join with others and participate in the social gatherings and functions. Singing the gory of God through bhajans and kirtans gave ample opportunity for such group activities. It had created awareness among them to realize their strength. They too could compete with male saints and become popular in the Indian society. Thus, there was no spiritual abuse against women through Bhakti movement, as it did not suppress them but elevated them. The Bhakti movement had been the most non-violent formulated with great care and applied against the violence. This is achieved mainly through defense mechanism as explained below.

The Defense Mechanism Worked:

The Defense mechanism of Hindus worked effectively through the Bhakti movement achieving immediate expected results through their gurus. All the above principles of Bhakti satisfy the needs of the devotees fulfilling their requirements at different exigencies. The Defense mechanism is nothing but the instinct of protecting oneself from the inflicting danger or threat posed by anything affecting his life and day to day activities, which was exhibited in the following ways:

1. Repression: It is the forceful ejection from consciousness of impulses, memories, or experiences that are painful and generate a high level of anxiety.

The victims of Muslims, in the name of Islam were many. Therefore, the affected were consoled and calmed with advice to relief from the traumatic experiences. Slowly, they were cautioned to be restrained and controlled. The weaker ones are assuaged with advice and the stronger ones with future action. They were made to forget the past and come to normalcy.

2. Regression: The act of retreating, moving backward or returning to earlier levels of development.

The morally and otherwise injured were asked to be patient at their respective places waiting for better times.

3. Projection: The action of ascribing one’s own traits or attributes to others.

The inflicted were consoled by comparing with others and take solace. They were also characterized with others so that their raging, pressurized and boiling feelings were brought under control.

4. Identification: The process of recognition or reacting one situation in the same manner in which one reacted in a previous situation or associating oneself closely with a group or cause.

The old examples were cited to be followed. They were asked to rise to the occasion just like their Gods / Goddesses and heroes / heroines.

5. Fantasy: The process of imaging objects or events in terms of imagery. In its normal range, it serves both a creative and adjustive function.

Temporarily, this process soothed their urges, drives and impulses. With inspiration of their heroes and Gods, they started getting mental strength.

6. Compensation: The process of engaging in substitute behaviour in order to make up for social or physical frustration or a lack of ability in a certain area of personality.

The inbuilt or inherent character or strength of persons were identified, recognized and chosen for action.

7. Sublimation: The redirection of socially unacceptable impulses into acceptable or more acceptable channels.

All members were encouraged to come out with their contribution according to their participatory levels.

8. Reaction formation: The development of a personality trait, which is the opposite of the original, unconsciousness, or repressed trait.

As only non-violence was perceived, preached and practiced, instead of violent, non-violent actions effected for the benefit of the people, society and nation.

9. Aggression: A hostile attack directed against a person or thing, or vigorous pursuit of one’s goals for achieving anything in society or nation.

Here, instead of physical aggression, aggression of love and non-violence was followed with the opponents and adversaries. Singing songs was the effective way of venting out feelings and calm down.

10. Retribution: Expressing and transforming affected impulses to others. It is not taking vengeance, but teaching a firm lesson to the opponents, because of the sufferings inflicted.

They showered love and affection in such a way that the perpetrators of crimes and atrocities themselves ashamed of their activities. The abducted and converted Hindu women serving or living with the Muslim women must have done much in this regard.

Here, anyone can notice as to how the affected, injured, hurt, wrecked, impaired and concerned men, women and children were psychologically treated with the processes of Bhakti. Had they not been dealt with so or otherwise, the defense mechanism would have made them to react and oppose leading to counter-violence. Therefore, the leaders of Bhakti movement had handled the situation and connected people so cautiously for the welfare of the nation.

Thus, more and more temples were built, renovated and consecrated; pilgrimages and tirtha yatras increased with the list of 12 Jyotirlingas, 51 Saktipitas, 108 Vaishnavaite holy places, and so on; festivals hitherto celebrated in the past or restricted to one particular area was made to be celebrated at all places; and the national consciousness was roused with the ordinary people. Thus, the Bhakti movement had been an all India phenomenon and not restricted to any particular area, language speaking people or followers religion of India with the participation of women. All the steps taken clearly indicate that the movement was for promoting, preserving and respecting the Indian womanhood taking all their affecting factors into consideration.

Suggestions for Further Reading


Notes and References

The Muslim chronicles Tarikh-I-Firuz-Shahi, Tarikh-I-Mubarak-Shahi, Babarnama, Chachanama, etc.,and their translations abundantly explain the political, social and religious conditions during the 13th to 16th century period. As there are many examples, only some are quoted because of space constrain.

1. R. Champakalakshmi, Text and Context: Colonial traditions and Religious Communities in Pre-Modern South India, Tamilnadu History Congress Endowment Lecture delivered on Oct.24, 1999 at Vaniyambadi, pp.18-38. 

2. R. Champakalakshmi and S. Gopal (Eds), From Devotion and Dissent to Dominance: The Bhakti of Alwars and Nayanmars, in Tradition Dissent and Ideology, Essays in Honour of Romila Thapar, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1996.

3. Rekha Pande, The Bhakti Movement – An Interpretation, Proceedings of Indian History Congress, Goa (48th session), 1988, pp.303-304.

4. Col.James Tod (records that this information was provided to him by Sir G. Grieson), Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi, 1971, Vol.I, p.300-301, f.n.No.4.

5. James Tod, Ibid, Vol.II, pp.725-727.

6. Ibid, Vol.II, pp.310-311.

7. Erskine, Babur and Humayun, Vol.2, p.48.

Tod, opt.cit, Vol.II, pp.363.

8. Shihabuddin Ahmad Abbas, Masalik-ul-Absar, p.580.

9. Ibn Battuta, p.63

Hindi translation by A.A. Rizvi in Tughlaq Kalim Bharat, Part.I, Aligarh, p.189).

10. Ibn Battuta, p.123.

11. Shams Siraj Afif, Tarikh-I-Firoz Shahi, Calcutta, 1890, p.265.

12. Ibid, p.360.

13. Edward Sachau, Alberuni’s India, pp.162-163.

14. M. N. Ray (trs), Devalasmriti, Published by Anandarasama series, Poona, in J.B.O.R.S, 1927.

15. P.V. Kane, History of the Dharmashastra Literature, Vol.II, pp.390-91.

16. Seling S. Harrison, India: The Most Dangerous Decade, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1960, p.53.

17. A.L.Srivatsha, Akbar the Great, Political history 1542-1605, Shivlal Agarwala & Co.P.Ltd., Agra, Vol.I, p.113.

18. The Hindus who agree to pay jizya were allowed to live and work in the Islamic state with the following conditions. The operation started with Khiljis (1290-1320 CE) and pursued by other Muslim rulers:

1. They are not to build any new places of worship.

2. They are not to repair any old places of worship which have been destroyed by the Muslims.

3. They are not to prevent Muslim travellers from staying in their places of worship.

4. They are to entertain for three days any Muslim who wants to stay in their homes, and for a longer period if he falls ill.

5. They are not to harbour any hostility or give aid and comfort to hostile elements.

6. They are not to prevent anyone of them from getting converted to Islam.

7. They have to show respect to every Muslim.

8. They have to allow Muslims to participate in their private meetings.

9. They are not to dress like Muslims.

10. They are not to name themselves with Muslim names.

11. They are not to ride on horses with saddle and bridle.

12. They are not to possess arms.

13. They are not to wear signet rings or seals on their fingers.

14. They are not to sell or drink liquor.

15. They are to wear a distinctive dress, which shows their inferior status and separates them from Muslims.

16. They are not to propagate their customs and usages among the Muslims.

17. They are not to build their houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.

18. They are not to bring their dead near the graveyards of the Muslims.

19. They are not to observe their religious practices publicly or mourn their dead loudly.

20. They are not to buy Muslim slaves.

Here, Hindus include both men and women. Even if men were to follow the conditions, imagine the resulting practical difficulties and sufferings of the Hindu women. The condition of Hindus living as second or inferior citizens at certain parts of India, whereas others living normal, must have embolden them to activate Bhakti movement quickly on all India basis. From this, one can understand how the Bhakti movement effectively codified to nullify their conditions, but through non-violent means.


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