Talbot_InscribingOther

Talbot_InscribingOther - Inscribing the Other, Inscribing...

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Unformatted text preview: Inscribing the Other, Inscribing the Self: Hindu—Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India CYNTHIA TALBOT University of Term (II Austin The nature of medieval Hindu—Muslim relations isan issue ot'great relevance in contemporary India. Prior to the 200 years of colonial subjection tti tli British that ended in I947, large portions of the Indian subcontinent we c under Muslim political control. An upsurge of Hindu nationalism over thre past decade has led to demands that the state rectify past wrongs on behalfof India s majority religion.I In the nationalist view. Hindu beliefs were contin I ally suppressed and its institutions repeatedly violated during the man centit- ries‘of Muslim mle from I200 C.E. onward. The focal point of naIionali I sentiment. is the most visible symbol of Hinduism, its temples. As man ass 60,000 Hindu temples are said to have been torn down by Muslim rulers )iind mosques budt on 3,000 of those tcniples' foundations.2 The most famoi; f these alleged former temple sites is at Ayodhya in Nonh India Ion conziil) ered the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama. The movement to libegrate this sajcrcd spot, supposedly defiled in the sixteenth century when the Iiabri Mas- jt mosque was erected on the ruins of a Rama temple, was one of the hottest political issues of the late l9805 and early 19905. Tensions reached a peak in December I992, ’ -- . _ . mosque-3 when Hindu militants succeeded in demolishing the Earlier versions of this article were ' I i I ' presented at the I99] Western Conference of th ' ~ 2::nggi2r/fsgpundamazeggfenrig in Mexi'co City and the I994 national meeting of the Aesséizsigt‘iifn on. am eep y indebted to Richard M Eaton ' d I’h‘ll' my fellow panelists on botli occasions whose id I ' ' an I In B‘ wagon". I . ' . .. . cas have so heavtl I II ' edi'togalssSLstance is also gratefully acknowledged. as is the help hf gu:::chc1d Thur n In unatinnalism see DanicIGoId “Orgitiiiled Hindtii 'I l i _ u ' I , . . sins: From Vcdic T tl ' ;n flgl'dillmflfllzfllllllJ Observed, Martin E. Mitrty llml R. Scott Applehy '. o icago ress. l99l). 5.” ~9.l;l’eter Vimder V" It" ‘1' ' ' 'l ‘ ' . (mgr Muslims in India (Berkeley: University of Califomia Pr:er tégiim” WWI/mm "mm 3 Esta: for the date l688 in "Hindu Timeline." Hinduism Today, December I994. "In" Tlr IIS,CI;,SSIIOII ofthe Ayodhya StIIIflIIOI‘I, sec Asghar Ali Engineer, ed. I’nlitt‘m n](‘onfmntn. . ir a rt-Mttt/ttl Rmn/uutimhhiimui (‘nutrm'rrrv Rum Riot (Delhi. Aiantti I’uhlicntions I‘l‘lll: Riimesh Tliiilttt " . r -. 4 . . , “my W)”. MS 04‘ r. Ayodhya and Hit I’ullltn ol IIItIItI \ Secularism." /I|lllll .S‘mw'v. 11:7 0 _ _ . )I() “75/95/4393 5303 37.50 + .lt) 0 I995 Soctety for Comparative Study of Society and History 692 HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 693 Today, Indian Hindus and Muslims see themseliies as distinct religious communities, essentially two separate nations occupying the same ground. Hindu nationalist historians have projected this vision of separateness into the past, stating that Indian Muslims of the middle ages were a community totally different from. and implacably opposed to, the Hindu majority on religious grounds.“ Moreover, Indian Muslims are defined as a social group that is not indigenous, but of foreign. origin to the subcontinent. This implies that Mus- lims do not belong in India and have no real rights there. Secular Indian historians have decried this interpretation as a misrepresentation, a reading of the past that modem communal biases distort.5 Since most Indian Muslims have descended from converts and not from immigrants, how can they be cast as an alien group whose way of life dill'ered radically frotn that of their erstwhile Hindu brethren? At least at the village level, secular historians argue that Ilindus and Muslims shared a wide spectrum of customs and beliefs, at times even jointly worshipping the same saint or holy spot. The dominant scholarly trend of the past ten years has emphasized colonial- isrn‘s impact on identity formation. Because large-scale conflicts between Hindus and Muslims began under colonial rule, the emergence of broadly based community identities during the nineteenth century has been closely investigated.6 Communal violence was itself a British construct in some an- alyses because many other kinds of social strife were labelled as religious due to the Orientalist assumption that religion was the fundamental division in Indian society.7 There is a general consensus that it is questionable whether a Hindu or Mtislim idctitity existed prior to the nineteenth century in any incan- ingful sense." I’aradoxically, given the current criticism of the colonial soci- ology of knowledge and its emphasis on caste, most scholars of the colonial period feel that pre-colonial society was too fragmented by subcaste and local loyalties to have allowed larger allegiances to emerge.9 The primacy attri» buted to colonialism in fortning contemporary Indian identities reflects the central role of modernity in current theories of nationalism and the emergence of nation-states. The work of Benedict Anderson, with its stress on the role of ‘ For an older example of Hindu nationalist historiography. sce R. C. Majumdar. "Hindu- Muslim Relations." in The Strugglefur Empire. vols 5 of The History and Culture nfthe Imlimt Prop]:v (Bombay: flharatiya Vidya Bhavan, I957), 498‘ ‘ Romila Thapat. Harbims Mtikliia, and IIipan ('liandta, (‘4mtmmtuliim ("Ill the lI’ritt'ng of Indian Ilium-v (Delhi: People's Publishing. l‘lt-‘lt; llinlians Miiklila. “('oimnnniil'ism and the Writing at Medieval Indian History: A Reappraisal." in I"r.‘[)('l‘fil'¢’.‘ nu Mt'tlfl‘t'dl History (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing, I993). 33-45. " Sandria Freilag, Collective At'lilflll and Community: Public Arenas mu! the Etttergem‘e til (‘ninmtumlitm in North Imlitt (Berkeley: University of (‘alifomiit l‘ress, WIN). 7 (iytint-ntltii l‘imtley, Thr ('tiuiltiu'tioh "I ('mtttiutmtliim in (‘olutihtl Not/It [lit/ft! (Delhi: ()xloiil IlItIVt'Hlly I’icss. l‘l‘ltl). " I‘. A Ilayly. "'I'he I’tc-Ilistory ol' '('ommunalism"? Religious Conflict in India. I700 1860," Mot/rm Asian Studies. I9:2 (I985). 202. 9 Pandey, C(Itt.tlrttt'lit)ll of Commuimlirm. I99. tldGH IIIIM pGIU esn womssejo emit-ant) 10; uoussruued 094 t'YNIIIIA lAl not print-capitalism. has been particularly influential in promoting the belief that identities uniting large numbers of people could arise only alter tt certain technological level had been attained.” No ottc would deny that modernization has led to the sharper articulation of identities encompassing broad communities or that such identities have been "imagined" and “invented” to a large extent. Nor can we uncritically accept the primordialist view that postulates the inherent and natural roots of national and ethnic identity. However, modern identities do not spring fully fashioned out of nowhere. They commonly employ the myths and symbols of earlier forms of identity which may be less clearly formulated and more restricted in circulation but are nonetheless incipient cores of ethnicity.“ Thus, this essay joins a mere handful of other works on India, both in its insistence that supra— local identities did indeed exist in pre~colonial India and that these identities themselves were historically constructed and hence constantly in flux.” Understanding earlier fomis of Hindu—Muslim identities may help us grasp the impulses leading to modern communal conflict. It even offers us the dim hope of defusing present-day tensions by demonstrating that the communities of the past were not identical to those of the present. For. as Sheldon Pollock states in reference to the present Indian situation, "the symbolic meaning system of a political culture is constructed, and perhaps knowing the pro- cesses of construction is a way to control it."'3 Particularly critical is the recognition that Hindu and Muslim identities were not formed in isolation. The reflexive impact of the ()ther's presence molded the scif~dcfinition of both groupswindccd, the label llindu was coined by Muslims to describe the people and culture of the Indian subcontinent. Only after prolonged contact with Muslims did the earlier inhabitants of India adopt the term. Although it ntay not be possible to reconstruct a detailed picture of Hindu—Muslim inter— actions in medieval India in terms of actual practice and behavior, we can and must rec0ver the history of their mutual and self—perceptions. In asking what it meant to be a Hindu or a Muslim in middle-period India, I focus on one panicular region, Andhra Pradesh in the southeastern peninsula, from l323 to 1650 C.E. This period commences with the collapse of Andhra’s indigenous Kakatiya dynasty under repeated military pressures from the Delhi Sultanate and ends at the point in time when the last major llindu dynasty in ’“ Imagined Communities: Reflection: on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. 2nd ed. (London: Verso. I99I). " Anthony I). Smith, Ethnic Origins ofNytions (Oxford: Basil Blackwell. I986). '1 Van der Veer, Religious Non’mmlirm. [2-242 John I) Rogers, "l’ost-Orientalism and the Interpretation of Prcmodern and Modem Political Identities: The Case of Sri Lanka," Journal of Asian Studies. 531| (I994), t0—23; David N. Lorenzcn. “Introduction: The Historical Vicissi- tudes of Bhakti Religion." in Bltokti Religion in North India: Connmmt‘ty Identity and Political At‘limt. D. Lorenzen. ed. (Albany: State University of New York Press. W941. 2-l3. ‘3 Sheldon Pollock, “Ramayana and Political Imagination in lndia.“Jnm'nul ansian Slndier. 52:l (I993), 264. HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 695 Andhra was extinguished. In essence. the years examined spurt the period from the early stages of Muslim military presence in Antlhra to ultimate Muslim dominance. The primary sources utilized consist of approximately IOO records inscribed in the Sanskrit or Telugu languages." The majority are situated within Hindu temple complexes. on stone slabs, pillars or walls. Because the vast majority of inscriptions document the endowment of land and other valuables to religious institutions, they are by nature the products of the propertied class. The perspective on medieval South India that we can obtain from these sources is strictly a privileged one. limited chiefly to the religious and political elites; yet it is from this strata of society that pre- modern ethnicity typically arose. By utilizing inscriptions, we can get some idea of how the powerful and influential segments of medieval Hindu society viewed Muslims and, conversely, how they viewed themselves. TIIE MUSLIM AS DEMONIC BARBARIAN The early centuries of Islamic expansionism left South Asia largely un- touched. Although the lower Indus valley region of Sind in modern Pakistan was conquered by Arabs in the early eighth century, the effects of the Arab presence were restricted to the western portions of the subcontinent. From approximately I000 C.E. onward, however. major centers of power in north- western India came under intermittent attack by armies of 'Ibrkic Muslims who were based in what is now Afghanistan. 'I‘hese raids into Indian territory culminated in the seizure of the Delhi region circa I200 CE. and in the establishment of a series of Islamic dynasties, collectively known as the Delhi Sultanate. that survived into the early sixteenth century. Much of North India came under the hegemony of the Delhi Sultanate in the early thirteenth centu- ry, while Sultanate expeditions began penetrating South India at the very end of the thirteenth century. The most momentous era of contact between Islamic "and earlier peoples of the Indian subcontinent thus occurred between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. The threat felt by Hindu society in the face of superior Muslim force during these initial centuries of interaction led to the political valorization of the ancient Ramayana epic, according to Sheldon Pollock’s recent argument. Although the story of the hero-god Rama's conflict with the demonic .kmg Ravana of distant Lanka had circulated wider throughout the subcontinent and beyond in the previous millennium, there are few signs of a temple cult of Rama worship prior to the eleventh century. Nor was Rama imagery often employed in the literature produced at royal courts. After approxrmately 1000 ‘4 The inscriptions examined for this study. which all contain some‘referen'ce to Muslims. were culled from a larger corpus of about L600 records issued in Andhra In this tlme perlod. The existence of another 400 inscriptions front the satire era and place has. been reported by the epigraphieal branch of the Archaeological Survey of India. but the majority of these records are either heavily damaged or no longer available for consultation. 696 vrttrx TALnor C. 5.. the situation changed dramatically with the spread of Rama temples and the frequent appropriation of Rama as a model for royal behavior. Pollock believes that this is because Rama‘s legendary battle against (and victory over) the forces of evil represented by Ravana‘s demon hordes provided a profound symbol for Indian kings beleaguered by Central Asian Muslim warriors entering the subcontinent in growing numbers. Unlike earlier con- querors or immigrants who had been gradually absorbed into Indian civiliza- tion. Indo-Muslims retained the distinctive religious and linguistic practices derived from the high culture of Islamic civilization. Because they were “largely unassimilating.“ Muslims were the Other par excellence. and their presence heightened Indian society's sense of self. Since the Ramayana epic was “profoundly and fundamentally a text of ‘othering'." in Pollock's words. it was the perfect vehicle for demonizing these alien and dangerous new- comers.” Inscriptions from Andhra provide little support for Pollock's thesis, as far as the Ramayana itself is concerned. for there are few direct references to the epic story. The demonization of Muslims that he argues constituted the medi- eval meaning of the epic can be perceived. however, even in the absence of explicit allusions to Rama. The most negative representations of Muslims in Andhra records appear in the immediate aftermath of the cataclysmic events of I323 c.t~:., when armed forces of the Delhi Sultanate swept through the Andhra region and caused the collapse of the indigenous Kakatiya royal dynasty. Andhra warriors united under the Kakatiya banner had repeatedly fought the 'Ibrkic armies of Delhi during the previous twenty years. This was part of a larger conflict between the Delhi Sultanate and several kingdoms ol peninsular India that began in l296 with the Sultanate's attack on Devagiri the capital of the Yadava dynasty in modern Maharashtra. Within a roughly quarter-century span, the four regional kingdoms of peninsular lndia—thosr of the Yadavas, Kakatiyas. Pandyas (of southern Tamil Nadu) and lloysala (of southern Kamataka)—disintegrated under the Sultanate's onslaught. B} I325, virtually all of southern India had been subdued by Muslim militarj force. and existing political networks were thoroughly disrupted. The magnitude of the sociopolitical upheavals that the early fourteenth century Muslim conquests induced in peninsular India is reflected in the ton: of Andhra inscriptions issued soon thereafter. Particularly striking is the Vi Iasa Grant of Prolaya Nayaka, a long copper-plate grant written in Sanskri and issued sometime after I325 but before I350 C.E. ‘6 The beginning portior of the inscription praises the greatness of Andhra's previous Kakatiya dynast‘ and its last king. Prataparudra. The record then goes on to describe th '5 Pollock. “Ramayana and Political Imagination." 282. "‘ N. Venkatarnmttnayya and M, Sorttasckharn Sarmn. etl.. "Vilasa (intnt of Prolaya Nayaka EI.32:239—6R. Parts of the inscription are translated in M. Sonrasckhura Sarma. A Forgot“ Chapter nf/Imlhra Hirmry (Madras: Ananda Press. I945). 20. 35—36. 44-45. HINDU-MUSLIM IDEN'I‘I'I‘IES IN INDIA 697 ostilities between I’rataparudra and the lord of the 'Ibrks, Sultan Muhammad win 'Iughluq. After successfully fighting off the Sultan‘s army seven times, ’rataparudra was eventually captured and died on the banks of the Narmada iver in central India while being taken to Delhi as a captive. '7 With the death )I the righteous king. Kakatiya Prataparudra. the forces of evil became ascen- lant. In the words of the inscription, “when the sun who was Prataparudra thus set. the pitch darkness of the Thrks enveloped the world."‘8 Various proofs of the wicked character of Muslim rule are next adduced—Brahmins were forced to abandon their sacrificial rites; Hindu temple images were overturned and broken; tax-exempt Brahmin villages confiscated; and cultiva- tors deprived of their produce. Moreover, the vile Muslims were incessant in drinking wine, eating beef, and slaying Brahmins. And so. “tortured in this way by the demon-like Yavana soldiers. the land of Tilinga [Andhra] suffered terriny without hope of relief, as if it were a forest engulfed by a rampaging I'tre."“’ Although some llindu historians of Andhra have accepted the charges contained in the Vilasa grant as evidence of actual Muslim atrocities. the supposed depravity of the Muslims conforms too closely to a popular literary convention to be accepted as actual fact. The way that this inscription repre- sents Muslims echoes the gloomy predictions of a body of Sanskrit literature known as the puranas. composed during the first millennium C.E. Among the contents of the major puranas is the history of India. narrated in the form of royal genealogies that end in the fourth century C.E. with the dynasties of the Kali age. the fourth and last era in the cycle of time. In the ancient Indian conception. truth and morality declined in each successive era, and one of the main symptoms of the Kali age‘s degeneracy was the growing strength of foreign dynasties. Because political power would increasingly pass into the hands of foreigners and non-royal Indians. the puranas prophesied a terrible =Iuture. People would no longer have respect for the Vedas, the central ritual texts of the Brahmanical tradition. in a world in which the hierarchical order of caste society was inverted through the aseendance of low-ranking castes over the ritually preeminent Brrahmins.20 '7 The last two Sultanate expeditions into Kakatiya territory (in I32l and l323 C.E.) were led by the man then known by the title Ulugh Khan. who became Sultan Muhammad bin 'IIIghluq in I325. The Khiljis had conducted several earlier campaigns against the Kakatiyas. beginning in I30] C.E. Although this inscription indicates that there were eight Sultanate campaigns during the reign of KakatiyaPratapamdra. Muslim sources describe only five (N. Venkataramanayya, The Early Muslim Expansion in Smith India (Madras: University of Madras, I942], 23-24, Ill—~43, 83-85. 99-l08, llS-l9). '3 Author's translation from Sanskrit; Venkataramanayya and Somaseltharl Sauna. “Vilasa Grant." verse 2|. '9 Author's translation from Sanskrit. "Vilasa Grant." verse 28. 7" Aloka Pantsher. Ailt't't'IlllJ in Early India,- a Study in Attitude: toward: Foreigner: (New Delhi: Munshinim Manolutrlal. l9‘)l). I2I-4 and 240—3; Romila Thnpar. "The Image of the Barbarian in Early India." Cmrrpurutit'e Studies in Socier and History. I331 (l97l). 420—I. \ l t l we. ciniiiin tALUUI The historical incriiories embedded in the puranas reflect the anxieties of their Brahmin composers and preservers in the period between the second century acts. and the third century C.E.—-tt time when numerous peoples entered India from the northwest and, simultaneously. an era when the non- Brahmanical religion, Buddhism, achieved its greatest popularity. Similar fears of a loss of status resurfaced in the much later Vilasa grant of fourteenth- century Andhra. during another time of turbulence, when Brahmanical privi- lege was threatened. The 'Ilirks who invaded medieval Andhra are said to have oppressed Brahmins and suppressed religious practice, just as the earlier foreign invaders of the ancient period supposedly had done. It is notable that most of the evil acts attributed to Muslims in the Vilasa grant~—confiscating villages endowed to Brahmins. destroying Brahmin-controlled temples, and ending ritual sacrifices performed by Brahmins~directly affected the Brahmin segment of the Andhra population. The majority of the people. the cultivators, are said to have suffered because their crops were confiscated, but this accusation is appended almost as an afterthought. The depiction of Mus- lim behavior in the Vilasa grant is formulaic. in other words, and follows a pattern expected of foreign groups in the Brahmanical tradition. In the Sanskrit literature of ancient and medieval India, foreigners were frequently described as mien-1m. The best [English translation of mleccha is barbarian. for the word clearly connotes a lack of culture and civilization. By the end of the first millennium a.c.e., mleccha was applied not only to aliens but also to indigenous tribes—communities who were not part of the agrarian caste society of Indie civilization.“ As Romila Thapar has pointed out, mlec- cha was hence primarily "a signal of social and cultural difference."22 It was a generic category into which all social groups lacking an adherence to Brahmanical norms were thrust. Among the early barbarians of foreign origin often mentioned in the puranas were the Yavanas and Shakas. Yavana, derived from Ionian, originally referred to the Hellenistic dynasties that controlled large areas of northwestern India and Afghanistan in the second century B.C.E. These Indo—Grecks or Yavanas were displaced by another invading group. the Shakas of Central Asia, in the first century B.C.E. The Shakas soon lost their hegemony over the entire northwest but remained entrenched in the Gujarat region of western India until the fourth century (LE. The names Yavana and Shaka were revived in medieval India to designate Muslims, along with the characterization of barbarian.” As with earlier 7' I’arasher. Mlerr'hus in Early India. 45 and 2i}. 2’ Romila Thapar. "Imagined Religious Communities? Ancient History and the Modern Search for a Hindu Identity." Modem Asian Studies. 23:2 (I989). 224. 7’ North Indian uses of these terms are frequent as well. see Rani Shankar Avasiy and Amalananda Gliosh, “References to Muhammadans in Sanskrit Inscriptions in Northem India—- AJ). 730 to l32f),"Jmmml aflmliuri Iliitury. "10936), 24~26 and I7 H937), Nil—84'. Pushpl I’rzisnil, Smirkn'l Imrriplimir of the Delhi Sultanate (Delhi: Oxford University Press, I990). HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 699 Others. whether foreign invaders or indigenous tribal peoples. those follow- ing the Brahmanical tradition were not concerned With the specd‘ies of Is- lamic belief. What was significant was their common failure to uphold the hierarchical order of caste or, in short, Brahmanieal privilege. This is why Muslims could be called by the same names as barbarian peoples of the ancient period, such as the Yavanas or Shakes. In another transposition, the Muslim barbarian could be equated with all beings hostile to the Dominant- cal order. And. thus, Muslims were demonized. that is, represented as be- ing like the demons of ancient myth who engaged in endless battle against the forces of good. Assimilating Muslims to the mythological category of demons and substituting the names of various other foreign groups for them erased the distinctiveness of Muslims. All that matters in this perspective is their Otherness. ' ' The very fact that Muslims could be incorporated into a generic category of barbarians presupposes an existing sense of identity, at least among the Brahmin composers of Sanskrit literary texts and inscriptions-A Brahmin: if not llindu. consciousness clearly predated the Muslim entry‘into the Indian subcontinent. Upholding Brahmin preeminence in a hierarchical soctety was the critical feature of this orthodox identity. In this respect, I take my stance with scholars like Anthony D. Smith, who believe that there are shared elements which unify members of an ethnic group and that the attnbutton of alienness derives from a pie—existing sense of shared experience.“ Others put more stress on the importance of boundaries in the formation of ethmctty, rather than on any commonly held content. For example, John A. Armstrong. following the Norwegian anthropologist. Fredrik Barth, thinks that groups define themselves primarily by exclusion. This explains how ethnic identities can persist for so long, even when the composition of the group changes. Identity formation in praxis always involves both processes—the articulation of group boundaries that excludes others and the development of interna criteria for solidarity. These complementary aspects of ethnicuy have been aptly described as “us-hood” and “we-hood,” respectively. by Thomas‘Hyl- land Eriksen.26 In the case of pre-modern India, it is clear that a persrstent core of Brahmin identity—a definite “we-hood“~——-had existed Since ancrent times.” _ N Smith. Ellriu'i' Origins ofNrriirms. 49. ‘ ‘ . I 2’ John A. Armstrong. Nlttirllu before Nuiimmlism (Chapel Hill: University of North‘garoIPa Press I982), 3—7. For more on boundaries between groups, see Kerwrn L. Kleinhc ton Tales: The Narrative Construction of Cultural Borders in Twentieth-Century California. oriipa . s l' 5 ii Society and Hillary. 3423 (July I992). 464—?0. A . u 'I . a“: “I‘lllaiifmalism. Mauritian Style: Cultural Unity and Ethnic Diversdy. Comparariie Studies ‘ -‘ ' (Histor', 36:3 (July I994). 566—7, ‘ mimg‘fyldil‘ll: Kepley) Mahmoud. “Rethinking Indian Communalism: Culture and Grimmer-I Culture.“ Mimi Surrey, 33:7 “991). 722—37; Wendy Doniger. “Hinduism by Any Other ame. Wilson Quarterly. l513 (l99l), 35—4I. A 700 I'YNIIIIA IAI IIUI Ii'l'IINOUIENIiSIS IN A FRONTIER SETTING Although the emergence ofa sense ofllindu unity can not be attributed solel t the stimulus of an opposing Muslim community. it is widely reco 'y 3 that prolonged confrontation between different groups intensifiesgnlzlf identities. While I believe that the Brahmanical tradition had a degree of :clf. awareness before the presence of Muslims, it seems that a broader me - incluswel. lndic identity began to develop after the Muslim polities wore founded In Sputh Asia. One sign ofthis is the non-Muslim writers‘ ado tionml" the desrgnation Hindu, which begins to figure in Andhra inscriptions frolin I3g2 c.r5. onward, in the title “Sultan among Hindu kings" (Hindu-raya-suratran ) assumed by several kings of the Vijayanagara empire." To the best of a knowledge. this is the earliest dated usage of the term Ilindu in an Indi'tiy language source. Hindu was originally the Persian name for the Indusyriver oil modern Pakistan. but the Arabs first included the entire Indian subcontin t under the rubric, "the land of the Hind" (cl-Hind). By the eleventh centuen Hindu had come to mean "the inhabitants of India" in Persian the literally. language patronized by the Turkish warriors of the Delhi Sultanate. 1" When thy early Vijayanagara kings of inid-fourteenth-century South India invented II c title “Stiltan among Ilindu Kings," they were borrowing both a phrase and“: conception of being lndiaii that had originated in Muslim society 3" a The fact that some non-Muslims called themselves Hindu in fourteenth- century South India does not imply that a unified religious consciousness developed in this period. however. contrary to the current Ilindu nationalist View. Even among Muslims. the term Hindu initially meant a resident of India rather than a person holding certain non-Islamic religious beliefs Not until the late thirteenth century did Persian literature written in India routinel use Ilindu as a religious designation.’l When the Vijayanagara kings saidythat they were the sultans among Hindu kings, they were most probably declaring their paramount status among the non-Turkish polities of the peninsula That IS..I(') them Hindu meant Indie as opposed to 'Ilirkish. not “of the llindu religion‘ as opposed to “of the Islamic religion." In this interpretation the definition of the self as Hindu can be seen as a sign of an incipient I'ndic ethntcrty—incorporating territorial associations. language. a common ast and customs. as well as religious affiliation—for ethnicity is composed) of numerous elements, unlike linguistic or religious identity. Which of the sev- cral aspects ofcommonality is most emphasized in any particular ethnic group 3" SII. I6.4' NDI copper-plate I0 and Kani ' ' 7 ' I ‘ H , I _ gm -3, El III; N. Ramesan, "T ' H'arihara II, in Epigruplnu Anrllirit'u. vol. 2. N. Venkataranianayya and It": Chili: (in!th Sasiréed.xlyélerabad: Government of Andhra Pradesli. I974) 73-87 - I m m ma - ar . rnst. Eternal Ganli'n.‘ Mvslit'ism. History I'P I' ' Cray/er (Albany: State University of NewVYork Press. I992 {Hall—gill” 1‘ m 0 SW”! Am," sufi Andre Wink. lzrirli' Mi'ilit'i'ulliiiliu inulllw Iz'i/mnrivn of lilmn. vol. I. pp, If)" and 5 (if/Il- “ m 1‘" Ml" ’R ’f 'l ‘ lm" ll “""l “ "m (“L l" 0‘ l “I l my“ my llL‘N l))ul I I‘.III\II klt‘llltll (It'll/(II, 24 2.3. HINDU-MUSLIM II)I£N'|‘I‘I'I|£S IN INDIA 70l can vary considerably.-‘2 But the perception of sharing a whole set of traditions that differentiates one group from another is crucial to ethnic identity. Support for my assertion that the fourteenth-century epigraphical meaning of Hindu was not primarily a religious one comes from the negative evidence that the terms Islam and Muslim (in its Persian variant, Musalman) never figure in Andhra inscriptions of the fourteenth through mid-seventeenth cen- turies. The Vilasa grant of Prolaya Nayaka instead uses the ethnic labels “Ibrk (Thrushka), Persian (Parasika). and Greek (Yavana) for Muslims. Nor do we get any allusion to Islamic religious beliefs or doctrine, other than the prohibi- tion against eating pork. Inscriptions from other areas of the Indian subconti- nent during the first centuries of contact are similarly silent about Islamic religion and the Islamic affiliation of the Turks.33 The ’Ibrkic intruders were certainly considered to be a people other than the earlier inhabitants, but the sense of difference was not grounded primarily on a religious base.” If religion was not the central feature of a budding Hindu self-identity, how do we explain the demonic representations of Muslims in early fourteenth- ecntnry Andhra inscriptions? To answer this question. we must first recognize that these records arose in the context of an advancing zone of military conflict. In frontier conditions such as these, large-scale destmction of exist- ing sociopolitical networks is common, resulting in widespread uncertainty and feelings of crisis. At the same time, because of the rapid change occurring in a frontier setting, new sociopolitical groups are coalescing. Hence, fron- tiers are prime settings for cthnogenesis—the formation of new ethnic identi- ties.“S With war almost endemic along an active frontier, people were often brought together through some type of military association. The Franks of the late Roman Empire. for instance, were basically a confederation of warriors assembled around kings claiming descent from the wargod, Odin.“ - -‘3 George de Vos. “Ethnic Pluralism: Conflict and'Accommodation." in Ethnic Identity: Cultural C miii'nuitier and C Image. George de Vos and Lola Romanucci-Ross. ed. (Palo Alto: Mayficld Publishing Company. I975). 9-I8'. Charles F. Keyes, "The Dialectics of Ethnic Change." in Ethnic Change (Seattle; University of Washington Press. I98I), 7-I0. 1‘ Thapar. “Imagined Religious Communities?," 77—78; Pollock, "Ramayana and Political Imagination.“ 286. -‘" In this early period, the majority of Muslims in India most probably were either foreign immigrants or their descendants. They were thus marked with many distinctive non-Indian features in areas such as dress and food. in addition to their separate languages and religious beliefs. As the number of convcns to Islam increased. the initial sense of ethnic separateness must have faded. explaining why ethnic referents were largely discarded in favor of the religious label Musalman in the Andhra of later centuries. Very little research has been conducted on conversion to Islam in medieval South India. unfonunately. so it is not possible to pinpoint when the trend emerged. -‘~‘ David A. Chappell, “Ethnogenesis and Frontiers." Journal of World History. 4:2 (I993). 267—75; Igor Kopytoff, "The lntemal African Frontier: The Making of African Political Culture." in The African I-mnlir'r; Tlu' qurmlm'timi of Trmlitimuil African Societies. Igor Kopyloff. cd. (lilomninglon: Indiana University Press. I987). "' Dan-id Ilnrry Miller, "lithnngeucsis and Religious Revitalization beyond the Roman Fron- tier: 'I'Iic Case of l‘I’lllIklhlI ()rigins." Journal of World History. 4:2 (I993). 277-85. in; l|l1l||lfi IAlllIlI g :u the case of fourteenth—century Attilltrn. the armed incursions ol' the Delhi . tt Innate tttpplctl the upper level of the political system when the Kai: t' dynasty was extinguished. But since the Kakatiya polity was a loose! akl)"a organization of warrior bandsI the loss ofthe capital did not mean the el'y 'n" tron of all armed resistance." Prolaya Naynka and other warriors wl Imma- entrencltetl tn the localities continued to tight the Delhi Sultanate whiohwcm also beset with internal strife. As quickly as the tide of conflict had Email: 2:; ::er:h;:.::[r:ceded. By the I340s, Muslim control in Andhra extended borderland' was :1 Ewwresfigusgtor. What was left behindI in this frontier Presumably. the principal Kakatiya military leaders either died or captured in the last days of the kingdom‘s defense; for none of them a wait inscriptions issued after the demise of the Kakatiyas. Instead a totallpptfiafl m ent group of warriors figure in Andhra inscriptions of the l3303 anyd later. Emmy": Nayak'a. who had the Vilasa grant composed. was the first membereorl unurt tneage to leave behind historical traces. Risin have been a humble background. he carved out a sizable tlotttgnirtriofi: id‘sI the chaos following the Delhi Sultanate's incursions. A second man V m Reddi. ts likewise the first historic figure in the Kondavidu Reddi liner:ma Unlike Prolaya Nayaka's lineage. which waned rapidly the Reddi lineage. dominated coastal Andhra for nearly a century. Both oi these men alle 5; prior assocration with the Kakatiya dynasty. and their descendants roufll publicized this connection. While it is possible that they may have helii minoy posrttons under some Kakatiya subordinate. there is no independent testimo r to corroborate this assertion. It is more likely that the claim to have served tilt: Kakattyas stemmed from a desire to bolster their own tenuous positions Additionally, both Prolaya Nayaks and Vents Reddi emulated a classic-all royal style of behavior by making generous benefactions to Brahmins Th: expltcrt purpose of Prolaya Nayaka‘s Vilasa grant was to document a villa endowment to a teamed Brahnrin in Kona-sima. a small area in the delta of (iodayart river that even today is the heartland of Brahmin scholasticism and ritualtsm tn Andhra. Vema Reddi‘s Madras Museum Plates of 1345 c E. w also a copper-plate grant recording the transfer of a village to a B'rahmilt: TCCIptCllLI” ISeveral other upwardly mobile warriors of fourteenth-centu Andhra stmtlarly boasted that they restored lair-free villages confiscated by the 'lltrlrs to their rightful Brahmin proprietors. Generally. these endowment: were recorded in Sanskrit on copper lates t d‘ ‘ ‘ ' Land inscriptional medium.” p ’ a m monally kmgly type or 81“ it Cynthia Talbot "Political litterrnediari ' ' ' I . e! K " ' noun: and Social! Hirtary Review: 3| :3 [I994]. Igél 3:?" Andhr" 1 “54325. hm” Em :: :‘. Rllrnayya. ed. "Madras Museum Plntes ttf Vents." H. 8:9-24. cope of less elevated slltus typically made religious gifts to temples rather than to [ltrthrrtins in this period and had thel ‘ _ _ . r benefacttons recorded in stone at the end most widespread gift was that of milk-bearing animals to provide oil [or temgttfirifgplel The HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 703 in their quest for acceptance as legitimate kings. chiefs like Prolaya Nayaku and Venta Reddi sought the most prestigious support possible. That included not only the use of the all-India literary language of Sanskrit. the patronage of Brahtnins. and the memory of the previous Kakatiya dynasty but also the rich syttiholisnt of the age-old fight against demons and disorder. This is the context for the Vilasa grant's demonization of the Turks. As previously de- scribed. this document bemoans the unfortunate state of Andhra after the Titrks conquered the Kakatiyas. But all was not lost. The grant goes on to inform us that the depredatiorts of the evil Muslims were halted by a savior. Prolaya Nayaka, who appeared almost miraculously. like an incarnation of the god Vishnu descending from heaven out of pity for the peoples‘ suffer- ing. Prolaya Nayaka resurrected righteousness (dimrmn) by reestablishirig Brahtnin villages. reviving Vedic sacrifices. and restricting himself to the lawful portion of the peasants‘ crops in revenue. He thereby "purified the lands of the Andhras which were contaminated by sin because the Turks had passed through them.”u By granting a village to a learned Brahmin. Prolaya Naynkn could thus represent himself in the Vilasn grant as restoring order to a world that the Muslim incursions had disordered. Verna Reddi also sought to portray himself in the Madras Museum Plates as a protectoi' “if Brahmins when he boasted that he had "recovered all the Brahmin villages that had been appropriated by the wicked barbarian kings since the time of Prataparudra, who was the jewel in the crown of the Kakatiya clan.“‘“ The use of tropes drawn front the Brahmin tradition does not indicate that the upstart warriors of fourteenth‘century Aridhra were religiously motivated in their actions. Nor can we assume that the pejorative language of these inscriptions reflects a deep hatred of the Muslim, much less proof of Muslim atrocities. But in a turbulent situation. where earlier sources of authority had been destroyed. the newly risen warrior leaders were attempting to mobilize public opinion. and gain allegiance. One of the easiest ways of doing this was by resorting to older Brahmanical conceptions of barbarians and their demon- ic behavior. Elsewhere outside of India. pre-modem political elites similarly employed religious myths and symbols because they were the most resonant images in a collective social memory transmitted largely by religious institu- tions and specialists.“ By accentuating the threat from Muslims and their strange alien ways. aspiring kings in fourteenth-century Andhra could suc- cessfully cast themselves in the role of defenders of the Indie social order. the most essential justification for kineg status. The representations of Muslims as demons may therefore have been instrumental (that is. secondary) to the primary goal of providing Andhra warrior lineages with a secure notion of self ‘” Author's translation from Sanskrit; Venkntutinttnttuyyl mid Sotttusekhutu Sarina. "Vii-5| Grunt verse .l'l “ Author‘s translation from Sanskrit in Rantuyytt: "Madras Museum Plates.“ verse 12. ‘3 Smith. Eilmn- Origin: of Nani-mi, fill-til; Armstrong. Notions flrfore Nationalism. Elli-nit]. 704 (I'NIIIIA IAIJIUI and legitimate authority. In other words, the self-identity of an emerging warrior elite in Andhra was strengthened through recourse to traditional no- tions of the enemy Other. COLLABORATION AND ACCOMMODATION ON THE OPEN FRONTIER For the past several decades, historians have extended the frontier paradigm to many societies outside of the United States.‘J Yet, unlike its western counter- pan, the Christian—Islamic frontier in medieval Europe. the Muslim—Hindu frontier in medieval India has been virtually overlooked. One exception is Richard M. Eaton's work on Bengal.“ He differentiates the political frontier of Islam, which moved eastward most rapidly. from the religious frontier of allegiance to Islam. A further frontier was an agrarian one in which forest land was brought under settled agriculture. Where the agrarian and religious fron— tiers coincided for the most part, groups only recently introduced to settled agriculture identified lslani as a civilization-bidIdiiig ideology, a religion of the plow. As a reslilt, the majority of the rice-cultivating population in eastern Bengal (modern Bangladesh) eventually became adherents of Islam. Islam never attained such religious dominance in South India, however. where the number of Muslims remained fairly low. Nonetheless, Muslim regimes were embedded in the peninsula‘s geo-political landscape after the early fourteenth century. The continuing South Indian political frontier between Muslim and Hindu can be characterized as “open,” since neither side had complete hegem- oiin5 From the early fifteenth through mid-sixteenth centuries, a relatively stable balance of power was maintained between three major power centers in the peninsula. A Muslim polity of some sort occupied the northwestern ponion of the peninsula in what is today Maharashtra and northern Karnataka. The first to be established was the Bahmani sultanate, which broke off from the Delhi sultanate in I347. Subsequently, several other sultanates were formed out of portions of the Bahmani realm. Of these, the Adil Shahi kingdom of Bijapur and the Qutb Shahi kingdom of Golkonda had the biggest impact on Andhra. Opposed to the sultanates of the peninsula‘s northwestern corner was the Vijayanagara empire. Under its first three dynasties, Vijayanagara controlled ‘3 For example. Dietrich Gerhard. “The Frontier in Comparative View," (‘onilmruln'e Slmlies in Sociely and Hislory, |:3 (I959), 205—29; Ruben Bartlett and Angus MacKay, ed.. Medieval anlier Societies (Oxford: Clarendon Press. I989); Howard Lamar and Leonard Thompson, ed.. The anlier in History: North American rind Sou/hem Africa Compared ( New Haven: Yale University Press, I98l); William H. McNeill. “The Great Frontier: Freedom and Ilierarchy in Modern Times." in The Global Condition (Princeton: Princeton University Press. I992), 5—63. ‘4 The Rise ofIJ'Iam and the Bengal Frontier. [204—1760 (Berkeley: University of California Press. I993). An additional exception is John F. Richards, “The Islamic Frontier in the East: Expansion into South Asia," Smrlli Asia ii.s.. 4 (October l974). 9040‘). “ Leonard Thompson and Iloward Ianliir, "('onipiirtitive Frontier History," in The I’lmilierin Iliumji-x North IIIIlt‘rfl‘tIlI mul Sun/hem Afr-int ('miipuri'il. II. Liiniiir and l.. Thompson. ed., 7 and It). HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 705 most of the southern ponion of the peninsula, the area south of the Krishna river encompassing much of modern southem Kamataka, southern Andhra. and the Tamil country. No successive Hindu dynasties-fthe Eastern Gangiis and Gajapatis—held sway over the northeastern portion of the peninsu 3 along the Orissa-Andhra border. The areas in between were hotly conteste and vulnerable to military campaigns that could lead to temporaryexteristons of borders, but the nuclear zones of these respective powers remained intact. Within A'ndhra itself. the Muslim presence was cogfined primarily to the stern onion of the modern state‘s expanse. ' "orifilvi‘is contlext of relative stability, quite different representations of Mus- lims surface in Andhra inscriptions. Throughout the fifteenth and early SIX- teenth centuries, Muslims figure mainly as mighty warriors: YICIOI’ICS over Muslims were lauded in the heroic titles of Hindu kings and chiefs or praised in their genealogies. Sometimes specific Muslim kings or generals are named, but more often generic labels for Muslims were used. So, for example. it was said of Devaraya | of the Vijayanagara empire in I465 that "Even the powerful links were dried up in the fire of the prowess of this king. In this type of reference, one gets little sense that the Muslim is any more thfar‘ira typical, if respected, foe. lnscriptional eulogies of'the 'Ililuva litings o icl; jayanagara‘s second dynasty list the Tbrk along With non-Mus ii: Enem ti conquered by the dynastic founder, such as the Chera, Chola, an. |aiapla kings.“ In other words. Muslims are depitilted IIS'I’CSIIICCICd politlca rlva s, ' ‘ e other ma'or Hindu owers o t e peninsu a. JuslgliiI‘lipuI}. Wagonerjsuggests iiiat shifts in the balance of power affected the attitude of South Indian elites toward Muslims anddelineates three phases on that basis. From roughly l300 to I420 C.E., Hindu polities were on the defensive, and an anti-Turkic polemic was widespread. During the second phase (from circa I420 to l565), however, greater appreCIation of Tigrkic culture is expressed in Hindu literature. This state of affairs -correspon time with the apex of the Vijayanagara empire. The sacking of thed '1- jayanagara capital by a confederacy of Muslim states in. ISdeusnere in another period of defensive polemics. Yet by the time this thir p alsec: curred. many aspects of Islamic material culture and adiiiinistrativeqt’ec 1an e had been assimilated by the~non~Mus|im peoples of South India. Inscrip- "‘ Iohii F. Richards, Mughul Ailiniiiislrulimi in Golconda (Oxford: Clarendon Press, I975). 7—487. Based on translation of T. A. Gopinatha Rao. “Srisailflm PM“ Of VImPaksha: 5‘” Sam"! " I - I II o . e Ugf‘SIfIIt'ifW' P, V. Parabrahnia Sastry, "The Polepalli Grant of Achyutaraya. in Epigraph: Andhra.“ vol.‘.t, P. V. parabralinia Sastry. ed. (Ilyzlerabudli (sitniemiiietiytutif muggy," ’3‘"; I " to nusivurii . I975). ILL-II); N. Ramesan, ed., Ila. Iadavalli iraii fll.l‘('I'I/Illllll.\ ol' I/It‘ Sluic Alumna. vol. 2 (Hyderabad: (ioveninient of Andhra Prudesli, I970), l—Ztt. H I. ‘ I i 2 “' I'Iiillip ll. Wagoner, "Understamling Islam at Vijayanugaru (Paper presented at the meeting :if the Association for Asian Studies. Ilos‘ton, April I994). ,t... | Itlettn tnl.ltttl tional data front Antlhra confirms the general validity of Wagoner's thesis II '- tlte representations of Muslims varied according to the success of i -‘ polities in restraining Muslim power. The anti-Muslim rhetoric of the V i '- grant occurred during phase one, when Andhra society was in a def posture. But. from the early fifteenth through mid-sixteenth centuries. n ii. was little dramatic change in the power balance. and tensions subsided w: Inentarily. Hence. in this second phase. we witness no demonization of in: Muslim. Rather than an anti-Muslim polemic. the inscriptional sources ‘ 1- play a tolerance of Muslim warriors and political power. Along the quiet frontier of fifteenth-century South India. the Muslim presence was accepted; rather than rejected. Frederick Jackson 'Iltrner's vision of the frontier as an uninhabited wilder- ness subdued by heroic individualism has long been rejected in favor of an understanding of frontiers as broad zones in which two societies encounter each other."“1 Their contact may be violent in nature. particularly during the initial stages of encroachment by members of the intruding society. But it is not uncommon for frontier societies to maintain an equilibrium for consider- able periods of time, once this first violent confrontation is over. At about the saute time that Hindu—Muslim relations in South India were going through a tranquil phase. the frontier between the Iberian Christian kingdom of Castile and the Muslim kingdom of Granada was stationary ([369 to 1482 05.).“ Faced with the practical reality of coexistence. a number of institutions speci- fically designed to facilitate mutual transactions were developed there. includ- ing procedures for negotiating truces and redeeming captives. Among the elite. alliances were formed that ignored differences in religion. while com- mon people sometimes crossed the frontier and even converted to the other religion. Knowledge of each other's ways was widespread—in effect. a sub- stantial degree of acculturation had taken place. Since a majority of medieval South India's population continued to be non- Muslim population even within the regions where Muslims were politically dominant. the two societies always overlapped. A certain amount of coopera- tion and collaboration is to be expected in this setting.” The Muslim politics of the peninsula were dependent on Hindu officials and warriors for tax collection and maintenance of order in the countrysitle.5-1 Poets of Andhra's "" Robert I. Burns. "The Significance of the Frontier in the Middle Ages." in Medieval Frontier Societies. R. Bartlett and A. MacKay. ed.. 30?— I2. 5’ Jose Enrique Lopez de Coca Castaner. "Institutions on the Castilian‘Granadan Frontier," in Medieval anrr'er Societies. R. Bartlett ant! A. MacKay. etl., Iii-50: Angus McKay. "Religion. Culture and Ideology on the Late Medieval Castilian-Granadan Frontier." Iii—22. 3' For more positive coverage of Hindu-Muslim relations in medieval India. see if. K. Sher- warri. "Cultural Synthesis in Medieval India," .i'nm-nnl' it] intiintr History. 4] {H.361}. 239—59; W. H Siddiqi. "Religious Tolerance as Gleaned from Medieval Inscriptions in Proceedings of Seminar on Meriietyri inscription: l‘AIigarh: Centre of Advanced Study, Dept. oi History. Aligarh Muslittt University. [91-1]. fill-53. " filcwan (Bordon, 'i'i'tr ilfrtnttitnr. moo—tats (Cauthritlge: Cambridge University Press. I993). 4 I -58: Richards. Mngitui Aritniitt'strotimr in Gait-tinder, IB—SJ. IIINDU-MUSIJM IDEN'I‘ITIES IN INDIA 70'? acular language. Telugu. were generously patronized at the court of the ' teenth-century Qutb Shahi kingdom that also issued many of its inscrip- s in a bilingual format.“ Conversely. Muslim expertise in military and I ministrative affairs was admired and adopted by their rival Hindu polities. Vijayanngara army included contingents of Muslim on horseback. a tacit acknowledgment of Muslim superiority in cavalry warfare.” Matty secular intactures at the Vila; anagsra capital exhibit an original Indo—lslmuc-styie of ucbitecntre. compiete -.-. ttr. domes and arches .5=' Adaptations ot Muslim dress were also iearured or. hams-.1 ecurt occasions!" Nor did the ostensible den-tar- eation between Hindu and Muslim preterit military and marital alliances t'rorn being iorrned across religious boundaries in this period oi South Indian histo- ry. These centuries of contact and interaction also resulted in an influx of Persian and Arabic words into the Telugu language.” Many parallels can be drawn between medieval Spain and medieval South India. in terms of the prevalence of cultural adaptations and borrowing. I ’ I In one significant aspect. however. the HindufiMusltm encounter in medi- cvnl South India tlilfctetl front those of Christians and Muslims described 'by Charles J. Halperin.” "No of llalperin's case studies involve the Chnsttan conquest of Muslims [thirteenth-century Valencia in Spain and the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem). whereas the two others are examples of IMUSItm intrusion into Christian regions (the absorptiOn of Byzantine territory by Arabs. Seljuk Turks and Ottomans; and the rule of the Mongol Golden Horde over Russia). According to Halperin. cultural synthesis and tolerance were. displayed primarily when the intntders had not yet established total supen- ority. It was thus a function of the practical need for compromise. Cooperation violated the exclusivist thrust of Christianity and Islam. however, and so was never publicly discussed. In theory. the two groups remained ‘implacably opposed. despite the considerable collaboration tn practice. The ideology of - silence concerning mutual influence and borrowing enabled medieval reh- gious frontier societies to ignore the contradiction between theory and prac- tice. I _ y In contrast to the ideological negation of the other socrety found wtthtn “ K. Lakshmi Rattjanam. "I .uttgougc and Literature: Telugu." in History ofMen‘ievol Deccan. vol. 2. H K. Sherwani and P. M. Ioshi. ed. (Hyderabad: Government of Andhra Predesh. 1914). ' ' ' ‘ ' TD-‘H. lot—3. An exam I: of I bilingual tnscnplion Is ARIE No. 48 of I9 5’ Stein. Vijatv'inngum. 29; K. Nilakanta Sastri Ind N. Venkatlranunayya. Further Source: of " u t Ir Hisror I. 3 vols. (Madras: University of Madras. 1946}. vol. I. toe—s and 26?. VlflwhfilfirMa. Fritz. éeorge Michell. and M. S. Nagarlja Rao. “their King: and God: Meet: The Royal Centre or Vijayenagrtra. fodia (Tucson: University 0! Anton Press. I954). 1227115. i 5’ Phillip B. Wagoner. " ’Sultan among Hindu Kings' : Dress. Mdress.llnd the Islamte't'ut on of llindu Culture at Vijayanagara" (I’aper presented I1 Rockefeller Humanities Workshop. Shap- ing little-Muslim Identity in Pie-Modem India." Duke Umverslty. Durham. NC. Aan HRS). "' K Itwitm I'lutt. inu'riptiortot fiftirstrry of Amiht'tt P'rtttierit (liydcrlhatliuih. I. Slltttyl Aktttlcttli. I'Jt't'll. casv: Lakshmi Ranjuttnrn. "lJttguage and Literature: Telugu. ‘ITZ. I n “ "The Ideology of Silence: Prejudice and Pragmatism on the Mediele Reltglous Frontrer. (‘oomonttit'e Studies in Society and History. 26:3 {I984}. 442—66. r.... t imittIA IAIJIUI Christian: .slim frontier zones. an explicit scheme of accommodat' be found in the Hindu sources of medieval Andhra. This paradigm Iowrlhcizh incorporated. Muslim polities. appears from the early fifteenth centii ward. It pesos the existence of three major kings—the Ashva ati o Lrydoni Ilorses. the Gajapati or Lord of Elephants. and the Narapati orpLordrofohrrl 0 lzach element of the triad—horses. elephants. and men—forms a co t‘ a". in the traditional Indian army. Royal titles proclaiming a single icing tongficnd of the cavalry. elephant corps. and infantry are found elsewhere in Infilia during the middle ages!" But late medieval South India was unique in divid- ing the various parts of an army and assigning each to a particular dynast :he first of the titles to be assumed was Lord of the Elephant Corps ado to); "y the Eastern Ganga kings of the t'Jrissa-Andhra region as early aspthe iirteentli century.“ [he subsequent kings of this northeastem portion of the peninsula (fl. 1434-1538 on} used the epithet anapati. or Lord of Elephant Iorces. so frequently that it has become their dynastic label in modem hist riography: heavily forested Orissa—Andhra coast had indeed been famo: since ancrent times for the excellence of its elephants. By a logical corolla s lungs of northwestem India. where the best horses in the subcontinent wererty‘ he found. deserved to he called the Lord of Horses or Cavalry “2 A d nasto without access to superior elephants or horsesuas was the case in the d y interior of South indie—would by default gain the epithet. Lord of Infant ry The conception of a geopolitical universe divided into three realms eagi ruled by rt king laying claim to superiority in one contingent of an al'l'll ' first witnessed in an Andhra inscription of I423 ca.” The most detail I; treatment is found in a Telugu chronicle of the late sixteenth centu [felt Rnyovricrtknrmi. In this work. the Lord of Men {Narapittii is the k2): of Vijayanagarn. the Lord of lilephanls [Gajapatit is the Urissan king. andgthe “‘7 Phillip B Wagoner Tidingr rrfiiii- Kiri ' . g. A Trnnst t - ' '- ' Rit.‘_lltll”l'rtkmnii tllunolulu' Universin of Hawaii Press“ :3"; itimtl giving"? "I “Mb.” an!” Jrnpmmjl 56' . . . . . rasad. Sanskrit he hl . ' ' ' I'fldfltiilrflprmgi‘izndra:ao. thoiirtroiimi and Society or Medieiriinndl'irtt [it t) "138- i533] . err ' ' ' ' I lump 85—“- i angos and the Snryttirinirn frightful!” lNellore: Manasa Publications, “3' I thank Thiltlllfl R Trautinarin for hriii ' I ' I . ping the correlation hulw' -n H H I " ‘ :llgiiuf "IL-M. lords and the distribution of horses and elephants to iii; ltll:l:::lrlur‘-Ill)ll":1|:ll|ftta- “puts? glimmer“ :lpdia. scef'l'rautinunii. "Eiepliants and the M'iiuryas " in .l'ndiit- History (1:: . my: in (moor o .4. L. Bushuni S N Muhlicr'ee d I ‘ - taint. tat-s. For - discussion critic ' I I I ' I J ' mm"! summmml I quality of horses durin Ih d‘ | ' ‘ DI b JP H I I _ g e roe ievii perm]. see Simon “g y or one and Elephant in the Delhi Siii'rmmte (Oxford; ()rient Monographs. I9T| i. 2| - fl‘ ' Smrlm'l'h; Kaluvacheru grant of the Retldi queen Aiiitalli. partially published in Soiiiasekhara the his :hitp't‘er. t1 |-I§.(This Sanskrit inscription identifies the Lord of Elephants as a su -regton o Jrissal. the Lord of Horses as the ruler of 'I ' ' _ . the teml in: west. and the Lord of Men as Kakatiya I’rataparudra. the Andlira king. In this instaiic; ":3: of Horses in the west must refer to the H ' I I :ihinani Sultanate. which coolr illedt - - ' ' lttllttcdlalt: west oi northern Antllira during llte curly fifteenth century.‘ h- “mllmu Io Ihe HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN "4018 709 Lord of Horses (Ashvapati) is the Mughal emperor of northern lndia. The Mughals had replaced the Delhi Sultanate as the supreme Muslim polity in the subcontinent in the first half of the sixteenth century. Previously. the Rnyrivrii-oliimiii tells us. the sultan of Delhi was the Lord of Horses. The text calls the Lords of Horses. Elephants. and Men the occupants of the "Three Lion Thrones." as opposed to other petty kings who lacked legitimacy. Not only did the Lords of Horses. Elephants. and Men possess authority as the rulers of ancient and prosperous kingdoms. but they also exemplified royal righteousness. As the text's translator. Phillip B. Wagoner. points out. the three Lion Thrones were regarded as emanations of the three main gods of llinduismn—Brahma. Vishnu. and Shiva.“ More commonly in Aiidhra sources. the Lord of the Horses designated not a North Indian Muslim dynasty but a local Muslim polity of the peninsula. At times the title was applied to the Bahmani sultans in opposition to the Gujapnti kings of Orissa and the Narapati kings of \t'ijayanagara.“s Or it could refer to any of the leaders of the successor states that arose alter the division of the Bahmani Sultanate. in other words. the Lord of Horses was a designation that could signify any Muslim king. The Qutb Shahs of western Andhra even appropriated the title in a Telugu inscription of 1600 C.E.. in which we are informed that King Mahmud was ruling from the Lord of the Cavalry's throne at Golkonda.“ The concept of a triad of lords must have been widely known. indeed. for a Muslim polity to use it in reference to itself. Allusions to the three lords occur as late as circa 1800 (25.. when Andhra village histories were collected under the direction of Colin Mackenzie.“ The notion of a triple division of power is also embodied in the Pratapnriirlm Coriiramii. a Telugu prose history of the Kakutiya dynasty composed in the early to mid- sixteerith century.M The tripartite scheme of the Lords of Horses. Elephants and Men can be interpreted on one level as a pragmatic acceptance of the geovpolitieal realities of the Indian peninsula during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. When the Bahmani Sultanate was established in [34? (3.2.. the Muslim presence in the area had become firmly entrenched; it was now an inescapable fact. Yet the nature of this three-fold classification also suggests that Muslim polities were viewed as legitimate powers. ranking equally with the great llindu dynasties of Urissa and Vijayanagura. Just as the Hindu Lords of Elephants and Men were granted divine sanction in the Rnyowicrikainii. which described M Titling: of the King. tilt-til). 5‘ Anduguhi Vcnkiiyya's Noroimri Viioiiimiii. cited in Liilisl‘inii Ranjartani. "Language and Literature: ‘feiugu H15. ““ 5” "1.15.1. "7 T. V hiahalingam. ed.. Sionnmrier of the Historical Manuscripts in the Mackenzie Cal'i'rr- rion, vol. 1 IMudias: University of Madras. I9'HSI. lift—3T. "" C V Rainachaiiilra Run. eti. iiinini'rinirlnioiiPt'ritrtporinirrn'ori'truonilliydcrabad: Andhra Prudesh Sahitya Altadenil. Nil-l). 594']. .iili t lNIlIIt‘ IAI IIIJI them as emanations of the gods. so too was the Muslim Lord of the Horses.“ One Andhra inscription from the mid-sixteenth century claims that all three lords worshipped the god at Srisailam. Andlira's ntost renowned Shaiva tem- pie?“ Besides being valid in their possession of royal power. the Muslim kings were seen as an integral component of tire political order. No memberof tltis triad of lords could exist in tlte absence of the other two. in tlte same way that all tinny would be incomplete without the three contingetits of cavalry. elephant corps, and infantry or that tlte universe would be stagnant without the triple processes of creation. preservation. and destruction. Far from being alien intruders whose very existence was abhorrent to the natural order ofthe universe. as the early fourteenth-century Vilusn grant portrayed them. Must litns were now represented as an essential element in the sociopolitical world. TIIE GROWTH OF TELUGU ETHNICITY While Muslims. on the one hand. were increasingly viewed as intrinsic to the peninsula. the identities of non-Muslim groups were at the same titne becom- ing more firmly differentiated. These identities had emerged in the pre- Muslim era with two. largely congruent. focal points: language and territory. Andhra was understood as the territory within which Telugu was spoken. The association between region and language is clearly drawn even in the eleventh century. when the term Andhra language figures in reference to Telugu.“ It was in the eleventh century that the earliest extant Telugu literature was produced. although another century elapsed before numerous works were composed.‘2 As the 'l‘elugu linguistic sphere expanded over time. the conception of Andhra‘s regional extent grew larger. At first the territory encompassed within the Telugu realm of Andhra was quite small. lit the eleventh century. Andhra was defined as the region extending from southern ()rissa down along the coast almost to the modern state‘s southern border. But the western boundary of Andltra was severely truncated. reaching only about halfway across the modern state.“ This restricted notion of Andhra mirrors the paucity of'l‘elugu "' linrtlterexptcssion ol the idea tlitit Muslim kings were god-like in the same manner as Hindu kings is found in an episode from the l'mttitutrinlr'rt ('uritrrtimnt This story. repeated in the later R-Iivtivir-nkmiiti as well. concerns the Delhi snltnu's mother. who one night viewed the sleeping bodies other son and the captive. Kultiitiya I'r:ittip:irnilra. "llie brilliant light issuing forth from their forms tirade her realize that both the Delhi sultan and l'ralaparudra were manifestations of the gods Vishnu Ind Shiva IRaniacliandni Rao. l’l’ttl’flpflnuhul'rlrhrflflm. {to—oi“. Wagoner. mt. trig: ra'tlte King. 122— 3] 7“ Slit torts of I55" (315.; unfortunately. only the lirst lcw lines til the inscription survive. It was iSsued by Santa Illiiksliavritli Ayyavat'u. the head of the Virasaiva monastery at Srisailam. who also asserts that the three lords were his disciples. " lswara Dutt. l'risrrt'ptimiol Glossary. iii. '3 N. Vertltatararoanayyl and M. Somasekhata Sarrria. "The Kakatiyas nl Warangal." in Early History of the Den-an. G. Yardani. ed. {Londnm Oxford University Press. I960]. 69L 1‘ K. Sunduram. Studies in Errirtritttt't‘ and Social Condition: oerrl't'et-ol Airillirtt tlvlacltilipat- nani arid Madras: Triveni Publishers. I963). | . HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDlA 1'” inscriptions in the inland area. The expansion of Telugu inscriptions into the interior zone contiguous to the coast occurred during the heyday ofthe Ka- katiya dynasty from the late twelfth to the earlyToutteenth centuries. The spread in the geographic distribution of Ttlugu inscriptions can be partly attributed to the increased tempo of agricultural settletnent in interior Andhra. But the dynamism of the Knkutiyu polity is another contributing factor. As the sphere of Kakatiya influence enlarged. Telugu inscriptions increasingly-ap- pear in areas where other epigraphical languages (and-other political elites} had previously been prominent.“ By the time Kakattya Prataparudra was proclaimed the lord of Andhra in early fourteenth-century inscriptions. the conceptual dimensions of the region encompassed about three-quarters of the modern state‘s territory. When Titrkic armies entered peninsular India. the basic contours of the current Telugu linguistic community had thus already been established. The other language communities of the peninsula had similarly emerged in forms that roughly approximate modern distributions. Each of the four regional kingdoms conquered by the Delhi Sultanate in the early fourteenth century corresponded with a separate linguistic realm: the Marathi-speaking area in the case of the Yadavas. the Telugu area of the Kakatiyas. the Kannada area of the Hoysalas. and the Tamil area for the Pandyas. Despite losing their respec- tive political centers under Muslim attack. the nascent linguistic identities of these four communities continued to evolve in subsequent centuries. From the fifteenth century onward. in fact. Andhra inscriptions display'a heightened sense of being Telugu. Whereas earlier references occurred in isolation. Telugu identity was now frequently juxtaposed on other regtbnal and ethnic identities. Otie inscription dated I485 C.E.. for instance. appends a phrase at the end to state that “if an Orissan king. a Turkic: king. a longer Karnutuka. a Telugu lrirtg. or anyone who works for these kings should seize these (donated) cows. they will incur the sin of cow-killing and of Brahmtn~ killing."75 Similar verses are widespread in Andhra inscriptions. the one differ- encc being that the Muslim king is generally threatened With a more relevttpt curse. For example. an inscription from the early sixteenth century warns. if any ()rissan king or Telugu king should violate this charity. they will incur the sin of killing cows on the banks of the Ganges; if any 'I'urlttc kings should violate (this charity). they will incur the sin of eating port-om"I Greater contact ‘4 Prior to the Kakutiya period. most inscriptions from western_Andhra-wete composed in Kannada tthe language of the Kamatalta region to the-west). while inscriptions in soothe: Andhra were often composed either in Kannada or Tamil tthe language of Film! blade to t e south]. The description at the geographical distribution of Telugu insenpttons is derived from may own work in progress. It is based on the mapping of roughly six thousand inseriptions tssu within the boundaries of nirka Andhra Pradesh between tooo Ind 1650 (LE. 7’ Author's translation from Teiugu. ll. I2—I5 of 5” 4.659. ‘0 Author's translation from Telugu. ll. IST— lo! of El 6.12. ——t---l-l---'--.-_--.l'_-‘ 712 ('YN'IHA TALIIUT with other areas and politics of the peninsula may account for the increasing tendency to formulate 'l'clugu identity in terms of its others lit-twcnticlli-eeniury India. linguistic allegiance has been a liiglil char ed political issue capable of iiioltilizing millions. Popular movements dzmandlin homelands for particular language communities have resulted in the redrawing of many administrative boundaries to correspond with linguistic distributionsg Echoing the modernist view of Benedict Anderson. scholars of colonial India have recently cast doubt on the existence ofthese language communities rior to the nineteenth century. Both David Washbrook and David Lelyveld believe that bounded linguistic populations arose out of the British colonial pro'ect to count. classify. and control Indian society." The nineteenth-century Jreoc- cupatton with language as the cementing bond of social relations 33d the belief that races or nations were situated in set territorial locations were the underlying impetus. Indians gradually adopted their colonizer's view of lan- guage and incorporated it as one of the bases of a new social identity accord- ing to Lelyveld and Washbrook. ‘ To be sure. in the days before mass communication. the perception of shared commonalities would he far more attenuated than today whether we are speaking of language. caste. or religious or regional alfiliation The ten- dcacy to identify one's spoken tongue as belonging to a major-langua e recognized by linguists is certainly a new phenomenon. Moreover the till:- pilation of dictionaries, production of tcittluiolis. and dcvclopiiicnl of rint radio. aiid lilni media since the nineteenth century has led to consideliabh standardization of India‘s various languages. But even today bounded linf guistic populations are more of an abstraction than an observable reality As in pre-colonial times. in modern lndia the dialects spoken at home are iiurner ous. the line of demarcation between one language and another va ue mtilti-lingualism widespread. g I an More relevant than the question of whether territorialiy based language communities extsted in pre-colonial India is the issue of linguistic allegiance Certainly the number of people who thought of themselves as members of a particular linguistic culture may have been quite small in the [ire-colonial period, The depth of their attachment to a language may also have been relatively shallow when compared to the situation in modern India As Sudi - ta Kaviraj observes: I p Il:Iarlierhcommunities tend to be fuzzy in two ways in which no nation can afford to be irst.i ey have fuzzy boundaries because some collective identities are not territorially “7" David l'fashbroolt " 'To Each a Lari ' ' I _ “I . I guage of His Own ' Language. Culture. and S ' ' gigolomal India. in Language. History and Class. Penelope l. Corfield. ed lLondon: 3|:ltet‘vrell“ I]. “9-203: David Leiyveld. "The Fate of Hindustani: Colonial Knowledge and the of a National Language." in Orientation and the Postcoloniat medicament Carol A Breckenr'd e dPi - . , . . lag-2|; 3 an e er van der Veer. ed. (Philadelphia. University otPennsylvania Press. I993)_ umou-atustJtM IDENTITIBS IN INDIA 113 based. . . . Secondly, ptlt1 of this luzrincss of social mapping would arise because traditional coitiiitunitics. unlike modern ones. are itot eriutiierated." Because their boundaries were far more blurred. pie-modern communities were less likely to engage in collective action than modern ones. That is. they were not self-conscious to the same extent as in modern nationalisms. with their focused and intense allegiances. The sharply articulated identities of modern nationalism are. thus. far from being the only forms of collective identity. It is untenable to argue that there was no sense of linguistic community in pre-colonial India just because the population involved was a limited or ill-defined one. To be fair. belyveld mentions the earlier histories of literary languages. while Washbroolt con- cedes that pre~mndern grammarians viewed languages as objects that could be classified." But their main intention is to refute the notion of language communities as inherent natural entities by stressing the impact of nineteenth— ceniury ideology and technology. In the process. they downplay the impor- tance of pre-modern linguistic identities. at least at the literary level. Al- though peasants may not have consciously named the language they spoke. poets and scribes were indisputany aware of their linguistic heritage. as were the wealthy patrons who financed their literary production. In pie-colonial lndia. as in other pre-rnodem societies. social identities were most strongly developed among the privileged. Smith describes the elite sense of belonging in medieval Europe as "lateral-aristocratic“ ethnicity in contrast to the "vertical-demotic“ ethnicity of the modern period.am Medieval European ethnicity was centered in the aristocratic class. spanning geographic boundaries hilt staying within the strict confines of the upper social strata. Ethnicity in late medieval South India must have also been an elite phenome- non. Ccrtainly. the social identities displayed in inscriptions pertain to the propertied class. the only people who could commission expensive records to document their religious endowments. They were no less meaningful for being elitc in nature. nonetheless. A case in point is the Kakatiya dynasty's switch in epigraphic usage. While the Kakatiyas were nominally subordinate to the Western Clialukya dynasty of Karnataka. the bulk of their records was inscribed in Kannada. the language of Karnataka. Once the Kakatiyas ceased acknowledging Chalukyan overlordship. they iruincdiately stopped issuing inscriptions in Kannada.“ The Kakatiya shift in Telugu and Sanskrit inscrip— 1" Sudipta Kavrraj. "The liiiaginary Institution of India." Subultern Sttlrltfl' Vll. Partha Chut‘ terJee and tiyaneadru l’aodcy. ed (Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1992], lb. Kuviraj docs t'lt'il believe that language formed the basis for pie‘iinnlern communities in India. however. Whatever the situation might have been in the Ilcngiilivspeakirig area. which was Kaviruj‘s case slody. I believe that the medieval South Indian evidence sufiiciently demonstrates the existence of elite linguistic identities there. 7" Lelyvcld. "Fate oi Hindustani." IOI'. Wrishbrwk. "To Each a Language Nit]. "" Smith. Etliiir'i' Urigitis it} Notions. 79—84. "‘ Early Kakatiya icctads are HAS lib. T. l2;i}ll'—K nos. I4. I5. l9. 22. 24'.MP-ll" nos. I4. y... l ttvlllln IAIJHJI tions had a certain political significance. of course, but was also a symptom of a solidifying Telugu ethnicity. Linguistic atliliation was a large. but not the only. component in the forrna. tion of South Indian ethnicities. Region of residence and religion were also constituent elements reflected in tlte categories of "link. Orissan. or of the Kamatalta region (sometimes “the land of the Kannada language"“) found in Andhra inscriptions. But. despite the growth of an Andhra identity derived at least partially from linguistic unity. the land of the Telugu speakers was politically fragmented alter the [all of the Kaltatiya capital. Warangal. in I323. In the absence ola regional kingdom that was exclusively and uniquely Telugu, Andhra warriors increasingly relied on the memory of the Kakatiyas to construct a legitimizing past that provided thetn with both authority and a feeling of community. It is this emergence of a shared history that most clearly justifies calling the medieval Telugu sense of sell an ethnic identity. And for Andhra society of later centuries. the Telugu past led straight back to the Kakatiyas.“ A striking illustration of the role of the Kakatiyas in Andhra historical consciousness is provided by the man known as Chittapa Khana. Although his name is a Sanskritired form of the Persian name. Shitab Khan. Chittapa Kliana is called an infidel itt Muslim chronicles and was clearly not a Muslim. llc. owetl his aplminlment as governor of the northern Andhra territories that had fanned the core of the Kakatiya polity t'o Hutnayun Shah of the Bahmani Sultanate.“ In 1504 C.E.. Chittapa Khana cast olT his allegiance to the liahmanis and portrayed himself as an independent monarch in an inscription situated at Warangal. the former Kakatiya capital. Like Prolaya Nayalta and Vema Reddi of the fourteenth century. Chittapa Khana's antecedents are ob- scure. To secure royal prestige. Chittapa Khana drew an explicit linkage with the Kakatiyas of two centuries past in the statement: The great and prosperous ltling Chittapa Khana. . .captured the beautiful city of Ekashilapuri IWarangall formerly ruled by a number of virtuous kings belonging to the Kakatiya family. for the sake of worshipping the gods and Brahmins." ln cflect. Chittapa Khan was engaged in a form of cultural revival. for he tried to recreate the greatness of the Kakatiyaswthe Golden Age of Andhra warriors—through his own acts. The purpose of the inscription is to com» 22. 25. 29 Later Kakatiya inscriptions are ARIE no. no ol “Eli-59'. HA3 I11. St‘i: MP-W no. 31'. 5H 4.10“. I095. “0?; SH (L2H. '1' .‘ilf 6.1“in " For some other historical memories of the Kaltaliyas, see Talbot. "Political Intermediaries." 28 |—.\ '” llirananda Sastri. Shim}! Khan of “itfrtttgrlf, llyderahatl Archaeological series Nu_ 9 ill,» dcrabad: II E. H. the Nirunt's Government. IQJEI. J and it). '9 Based on translation of that. 23. IIINDU-MUSLlM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 715 memorate the restoration of two divine images. One was Krishna "who was removed front his place by the strength of the wicked." The other was the goddess who “was the font of prosperity ILalrshmil for the throne of the Kakatiya kingdom“ but "had been removed from her place by the wicked 1brks."'° Although it is unlikely that these images actually dated baclt to the Kakatiya period. that is clearly irrelevant to the symbolic meaning of Chittapa Khana's acts. which are intended to close the gap in historical time between the preSent and the pre-Muslirn past. The inscription ends with a vision of Chittapa Khana daily worshipping the Warangal deity who was the protector of the Kakatiya dynasty. Even in an era of relative political stability. when Muslims were widely depicted as a natural element in the South lndian sociopolitical universe. the symbolism ol' Muslims as evil enemies of the gods and of Brahmins could still he resonant. Chittapa Khana. in declaring himself and Warangal free from the nominal control of a Muslim polity. utilized the longstanding Brahmanical trope of the barbarian. Yet. the primary intent of Chittapa Khana's inscription is not to denigrate the Muslim per se but to evoke continuity with a glorious Telugu past in order to substantiate his own claim to kingship. The pejorative characterization of Muslims in this instance is n hy-protluct of the process of identity formation. Muslims are what Telugu warriors are not. but the main emphasis is on what a true Telugu warrior is—a spiritual descendant. so to speak. of the Kakatiya dynasty. The shifting use of the title Lord of Horses for both a North Indian Muslim polity and for one of the smaller Muslim polities of the peninsula indicates that non-Muslims did have some sense of Muslims as a distinct and unified group. regardless of their exact political affiliation. From a military perspec- tive. of course. the various Muslim polities could indeedhave been perceived as sharing a similar technology and emphasis on cavalry. justifying grouping them together in one larger category. Andhra inscriptions also use the various ethnic labels of Turk. Persian. and Arab interchangeably in reference to any given group of Muslims. The efi'acement of ethnic differences is further evidence that Muslims were seen as composing one common category. Con- versely. the term liindu continued to occasionally appear in inscriptions in opposition to “Park.” llut in the peninsular India of circa I500 C.E.. more relevant than any shared Ilindu identity were the emerging identities based on common language anti region of origin, And in the evolution of these incipient ethnicities. the construction and articulation of a common past played a signif- icant part. Escluding the Muslim other was one way through which Telugu ethnicity was consolidated. but the evoking of a shared history centered on the Kaltatiyzts was an equally impot1ant means. "" Based on translation of fluid . 24. P. V. Parabrahma. ‘7' 3!! than. F. V. I’arahrahuta Saatry. Selet't Epigraph: ufrlndhm Prudesft. Andltra Pridesh Archaeological Series No. 3| lilyderaliad; (iovcrnntcnl ol Antlltta I‘rttdesli. n.d.]. 'taw'n. It 'lIAIAIIIUI IIMI’I' I-' III .‘if t'ltlt I IIIN the balance of power between llllltlil and Mtlsltttt politics in South ltidia was Etltttllllly shattered iri ISoS when the peninsular sultanates launched a com- bincd attack against Vijayatnigara. leading to its defeat and the sacking ofthe capital city in Kamataka. The Vijayanagara kings of the fourth or Aravidu dynasty retrenched in southern Andhra but saw the territory under their control diminish rapidly over the next ninety years. The central portion of coastal Andhra fell to one Muslim polity—the Qulb Shahs of Golltondal- Hyderabad—in the l5805. Successful campaigns in somhem Andhra were conducted in the I62{)s by another Muslim polity, that of the Adil Shah of l3tjttpur. and again in the |640$ by the Qutb Shahi armies. The last Vi- jayanagara king. Sriranga Ill. eventually had to flee the region cntirely' arid by 1652 C.E. all of Andhra was under the hegemony of Muslim polities After i565. therefore, we witness a second rapid expansion of frontiers paralleling in enormity the events ofthe early fourteenth century. Fora second tune. existing political networks were shattered. and several new Tblugtt warrior lineages came to prominence in Andhra that were nominally subordi- nate to the tattered remnants of the Vijayniitigara itiipcritttn. Somewhat stir- pt'istttgly. Atttllira inscriptions of this period are silent on the catastrophic events of L565. Nor do they rail against the demonic Muslim enemy unlike what we find in the fourteenth century." One reason for the absence ‘of anti- Mttslim rhetoric may simply be the small quantity of inscriptions issued in Andhra after [565.“ This paucity of inscriptions is itself a consequence of the political instability that plagued Andhra in the decades following the Vi- jayanagara defeat. With nnarchistic conditions prevailing. temple patronage declined abruptly, and therefore few donative inscriptions were issued. Wor- ship may have been suspended at many Hindu temples due to the loss oflands and valuables that supported regular temple services. At several larger temple complexes with sufficient prestige and resources to survive-in the long run. there are reports of disturbances in the course of continumg Muslim expansion in Andhra after I565. FIDI']! these reports and other evidence. it appears that temple desecration was on the rise during this third phase of the llil'lleFMUSliltl encounter in Andhra. Unfortunately it is very difficult to gauge the extent of damage wrought on Hindu temples ‘with- out systematic and unbiased study of the subject, a project that has not yet '"t However other types of Iinstitutes do en- ' ' ' ' . . gage in an anti-Muslim polemic. Notable l 0 these tire IiICIRflJ'ulWI'rI-lllrlllt (Wagoner. Tidings ofrltr King] and the village. family and teflriitil: histories [innit-or: collected by Colin Mackenzie around tilt)“. many of which meniion anarchy and destruction in the decades after the battle of fin ' ' Fin-m" somru’ LES—SOL 5 tNtlaltattta Sastn and Venlut "" In contrast to the 862 records originating in the eight decades between H90 and [51°C E the et' ht - - - . . . “Ingmar-"r 5W" from 15?" In “$50 (.5. ytelds orinI 3H! inscrlr'tmns-a niere third ofthe Il'll'l'lll'llyyl. HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA TI? been conducted)“ My general iiiipressioti. based upon inscriptions and the secondary literature, is that some llindu sites in Andhra were demolished in the fourteenth century in the initial "llirkic conquest and shortly thereafter. Most notable among these are the temples in the Kakatiya capital, Warran- gal.“I However, there are few verifiable cases of Andhra temple destruction or desecration in the following period, when the balance of power was relatively stable {Wagoner‘s phase two from 1420 to 1565 cc). Maharashtra underwent a similar experience—temple destruction occurred there primarily in the four- teenth century.” The long lull in attacks on llindu temples seems to have ended in the late sixteenth century.” The best-documented incident pertains to the popular Ahobilam temple [Kurnool district). An inscription dating from l584 (LE. tells us that Ibrahim of the Qutb Shahi dynasty captured the Ahobilam temple with the help of the llitidii llande chiefs iii l519 and held it for five or six years.“ The record commemorates the recapturing of the site by a Vi- jayanagara subordinate who is said to have restored the temple to its past glory. The traditional account of Ahobilam additionally states that those jew- eis and silver or gold vessels belonging to the temple that survived a raid in I5ti5 were looted iii the 1579 attack.” Local folklore reports that the main Altobilant image was brought before Ibrahim Qutb Shah, who vomited blood and died as a result.W Evidence also exists for the plundering of another major Andlira temple site, Srilturman tVisakhpatnan-i district). An inscription issued by a Muslim general of the Qutb Shahs in l599 c.t»:. claims that be damaged the temple and ‘9 At present. lists of sites where Hindu temple; were destroyed and mosques or tombs [durgnlo built in their place are being circulated by nationalist scholars. The date upon which these lists are based are not always provided. making the evidence suspect. Muslin-i chronicles Ind Perm-Arabic inscriptions are sometimes utilized. but neither of these types of sources is totally reliable. Sita Rarn (Joel Is one scholar compiling such lists. see his "Let the Mole Witnesses Speak." in Hindu Temples: Whar Happened to Them. A Preliminary Survey. Arun Shourie (l' af.. ed. New Delhi: Voice of India. lWO). SB—IBI'. and Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them, Pt. 2 The fsfnnir'r Evidence [New Delhi: \i'oice of India. I99”. Think! In due to Richard M. Eaton fur acquainling me with these works. °' George Michell. "City as Cosmttgrarn'. The Circular Plan of Wsrangal." South Asian Stud- ies. 8 “992:. i1. “ S'Iterwani. "Bahrtianis." 205. ‘3 Although I believe Goel‘s lists are greatly inflated, this statement would be true even by his reckoning. 1n the approximately I40 sites of temple desecration that he records for Andhre Pradesb ("Let the Mute Witnesses Speak," 83-95], the dates for the alieged incidents are given in sixty instances. Five date from the fourteenth century [phase one]. six come from phase two. and nineteen date from |565 to I650 (as. (phase three]. The remaining thirty or to cases stem [ruin the century after insa. with a notable launching otineidents in the late toms, when the Mughel empire was absorbing the former Qutb Shahi kingdom of Golkunda. " 5” 16.296. '3 The Ahobilam Kait'iyst is summarized in Nilakantl Slsll'i Ind Venltetararnannyyl. Further Snort-rs iy‘ Vijnyrntrtgrtru History. 3:146. "" l'. Sitapati. Sri' Mailiilt'u Nnrnxnnhn Sit-nmy Tunple (Hyderabad: Government of Andhre I’tadeslt. l‘illll. IS. 7H4 t'YNIIIIA Ihl litll constructed a riiostiue there." Tire temple can not have suffered substantial destruction. however. as this inscription remains on its walls alongside many others. Furthermore. it riicic live years later. another subordinate of the Quth Sliahs—Ilris time ii llindu chief—recorded his gift of a village to the temple.” Srisailam. a famous temple in the Nallamallai hills. seems to have been affected several decades later. when the territory surrounding it fell under Muslim control. Around 1625 C.E.. the Ilindu chief who ruled this area ofAn- dhra's interior was defeated by Adil Shahi forces from Bijapur in Kamataka. Srisailam's traditional account tells us that this led to the appropriation of Brah- mill and monastic lands. forcing many people to leave the are and resulting in curtailment of ritual services.“9 At Aho'bilam. also affected by this particular advance of Muslim forces. temple valuables were again taken away. '0“ Two salient points arise out of the reports of temple desecration at Ahobilam. Srikurman. and Srisailam. The first is that all the incidents tool: place in contested territory. Ahobilam was plundered once when the Qutb Shahi forces were on a campaign against Vijayanagara and a second time when Adil Shahi armies were moving further into southern Andhra. The Srikurman incident occurred during ri ()iitli Shalii expedition into northeastern Antlhrii. At no time do we get reports of temples well within Mitsliiii spheres of influence lieiiig looted llftlilfltflgcd. only of those situated along the lines of conflict. Temple desecration in Andhra is thus a phenomenon of the moving frontier. an activity occurring primarily in the highly charged moments of armed encounter. Richard M. [Eaton believes that temple destruction by fluid and other Muslim rulers throughout India was motivated by political. far more than religious. considerations. The temples destroyed lay either in kingdoms in the process of being conquered or within the realms of rebels. Because a royal temple symbolized the king‘s power in Ilindu political thought. destroy- ing it signified that king‘s utter humiliation. The characterization of Muslims as rabid iconoclasts driven to destroy idols because of religious ideology is far from the truth, in Eaton's opinion.'°' The situation in medieval Andhra ap- pears to support Eaton‘s thesis. A second implication of the Andhra evidence is that violence to temples often only involved the appropriation of movable property rather than the "‘ 3f! 5. IJII. "' 5H IUJSS and Eff 5.1260. The same chief additionally granted a village to the famous temple at Simhacalam. also in northeastern Andltra This leads K. Sundal’tllll to surmise that the Sinihacalarn temple had been plundered at the same time as Srikurman (The Sirirlrar'alnin Temple ISimhacaIam. A.P.: Siirtliacalani Devasthanani. I969}. 33 and lfldt. “' P. Silapati. Srrmr'lanr Temple k’urfiior. 1 vols. (Hyderabad: Government of Andhra Pradesh. 198l l. I]. If“ Sitapati. Ahnbil'a Ill-mph. l6; Nilakanta Snstri and Venkatariimariayya. Further Sources. 1:246. II'II "Temple Desccralion arid the Image of the llrily Warrior iti lnrlrr-Musliiir Historiography" [Paper presented at the normal riieetirig of the Association for Asian Studies. Ilostiin. April [994). HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA 719 actual demolishing of idols rind buildings. The Andhrii incidentsdescribed iiliovc dating from tlte lute sixteenth and early seventeenth eeiituries'are .ln- stances of temple desecration and not actual destruction. unlike the Situation during the fourteenth century. However. the symbolic value of temple dese- cration was far greater than the material less experienced and was exploited by both Hindus and Muslims. At Ahobilam. for example. the recapturing of the site in 1584 is represented as a major objective of Vijayanagara strategy. and its successful conclusion is celebrated through the conferral of temple honors. The Srikumian case. on the other hand. clearly illustrates the gap between reality and rhetoric in Muslim sources. It is ironic. indeed. that a Muslim warrior would have used a slab on which numerous endowments were 1:; scribed to record his own attack, of which no visible evidence remainsl This last example should warn us to be more cautious about taking‘Mus-lim claims at face value. The rhetoric of religious war in Indo—‘Ilirlrrsh historical chronicles frequently served to either inflate the importance of minor military campaigns or to mask the raw political ambition ofrulers. “33 And not until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries does the image of the holy warrior (glmzt) iictuully figure in lotto-Muslim writing. althoughthis status was then. attri- liutcd retroactively to numerous individuals of earlier centuries. "" Tragically. the medieval Muslim rhetoric of iconoclasm is today being interpreted liter- ally by Hindu nationalists and used as a weapon against Indian Muslims. Yet. just its anti-Muslim polemic in Hindu sources like the Vilasa grant of Prolaya Nayaka had self-serving motives. so too should the boasts of Muslim warriors at the edge of the Islamic frontier be regarded as efforts to enhance legitimacy. In any case. it is evident that much more research needs to be aimed. out before we can make any definitive statements about the extent to which Hindu temples were damaged or demolished by Muslim armtes in medieval India. CONCLUSION in this essay. 1 have argued that the medieval Hindu-Muslim encounter should be viewed as a process occurring in a frontier zone. The intensrty of contact varied dramatically over time along the South Indian frontiersme the devas- tation of the first armed conflict through a period of equrltbrtum and mutual borrowing to a renewed era of advancing military borders and cultural hostili- ty. Only through understanding the changing contexts of Hindu-Muslim inter action can we account for the diversity in Hindu representations-of Muslims. Images of Muslims as demon-like barbarians did occur in medieval Andhiia but primarily in the aftermath of severe military strife. Reports of temp e desecration likewise surface mainly along the edges of an advancmg frontier. "“ The other inscriptions on this slab are published as 5” 5.I289—13| I. "1' Ernst. Err-rind Garden. 22-29 nnd 35—59. 1 fl "“ Richard M. liniuu. "Islamic lcorioclnsm in India—Sonic Case Studies {Paper presented It Around Conference nu South Asia. Madison. WI. Novcriilier I994}. 720 C" Nl'l HIA Th LIIG'I' When times were more peaceful and the atmoSphere more accepting. a con- ceptual scheme that incorporated Muslim polities circulated widely in An- dhra. But both dcnigrating and tolerant representations co-existed at any given phase—medieval Andhra conceptions of the Muslim were never monolithic or uniform. While Muslims were often cast as the Other in medieval Hindu discourse Andhra inscriptions never placed Islam in the foreground as the basis of theI Muslim‘s alien character. The Muslim warriors of 'Ihrlric origin who invaded and-settled in peninsular India were certainly a separate ethnic group com- prtsrng their own social unit and possessing their own culture. Bu‘t their Otherness included many distinct features beyond simply religion—language costume, marriage customs and fighting styles. to name but a few. This is ml to say that the non~Mus|im inhabitants of India were unaware of the particu- lars of Islamic beliefs and practice. Popular works by devotional poet-saints of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries explicitly contrast numerous aspects of Hinduism and Islam. often in the setting of a religious debate.” But for the political elites who financed the composition of inscriptions. religious diITcr‘ cores were at no great import. liar more significant were the tttilitary skills of the links and the administrative heritage of the Islamic civilization that they introduced into the peninsula. Ilccause the initial Audhra encounter with Islamic peoples toolt place in a contest of eoul'romation. we witness a sharp delineation between Muslim and non-Muslim in discourse. In my interpretation. both sides used the language of us-versus-them to strengthen emergent identities in a fluid and constantly changing sociopolitical milieu. Neither the parvenu Andhra warriors of the fourteenth century nor the Thrkic intruders of the Delhi Sultanate. relative newcomers to Islam. had much stature as authority figures. What better way to shore up shaky claims to legitimacy than to exploit the ancient symbols of their respective religious traditions? New Andhra leaders could draw on earlier Brahmin images of the struggle against demons and the godless. while the Central Asian Turks could present their activities within the paradigm of the Islttttttcjr'hrtrl. But the rhetoric ofthe destroyer oftcrttples in the case of Muslim elites and of the protector of temples and Brahmins in the case of Ilindu elites can be misleading in suggesting that the primary motivations for conflict were religious in nature. Instead. I believe that these representations should be understood as strategies aimed at consolidating community allegiance. While the presence of a markedly dilTerent Turkic people undoubtedly factlitatcd the formation of a llindu or non-Muslim identity. the growth of d'“" This is lrlllti of the North lndian {met-saints. Kahtr and Guru Nanaktl.orenren."\"1cissiv 3: es of Bhakti, I3i as well as Eknath front Maharashtra {Eleanor Zelhott, "A Medievat .ncounter between Hindu and Muslim' liltrlath's Drama-Poem lltndu-‘I'ttrl. Samvad.” in image: of Moo: Religion run! Htrmrtrnl Print-rt in 'i t ' ‘ . . . if A ' ‘ ‘ ‘ ' ' ' i ilnllli‘limmm “mm or I trrt. lretl I ItttItLy. rd lh‘lnrlnts. Niw Iltt HINDU-MUSLIM IDENTITIES IN INDIA Til regional identities in medieval South India was more striking. Though re- stricted to the elite segment of the population. the medieval definition of self in terms of region was a precursor of regional loyalties in the twentieth century. Because the core elements of medieval regional identity included collective memories of the past. as well as a common language and homeland. it can be classified as an early fon'n of ethnicity. For Andhlra warriors during the late middle ages. unity was fostered through construction of a shared history in which the Kakatiya dynasty played a seminal role. By focusing too exclusively on religion as a source of difference. scholars have overlooked the significance of other attributes differentiating the medieval communities of India. And by failing to contextualize the development of Hindu and Muslim identities within the historical processes of migration and a moving frontier, a static and simplistic view of identity fonnation in South Asia has prevailed for top long. The ethnic identities of elite groups in pre—modern India may differ from modern nationalisms in their restricted social range and rallying power. But too much has been made of the distinction between traditional and modern societies in this. as in litany other. respects. Whether we are speaking of medieval India or modern India. the sense of community evolved through a twofold process—the distancing of the group from others whose alienness is highlighted. on the one hand. and the elaboration of a set of common social attributes. on the other. In the development of an ethnicity, earlier myths and images were often appropriated to provide an all-important illusion of conti- nuity with ancient times. By representing themselves as extending far back in time. communities could claim to be natural entities. inherent to the social world. Although the antiquity of many ethnic groups is suspect. in terms of the continuity of actual membership. the symbols that represent the commu— nity's cohesion may indeed possess prior histories. In both pre-modern and "modern societies. in other words. the imagining of the past was an on-going creative process. APPENDIX In citing inscriptions. the following abbreviations have been used: ARIE Aomml Rrport no lnrt‘ino Epigraphy [New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of In- tliu} Iil l-fpigmplim Milan tNew Delhi; Archaeological Survey of India). IIAS I} I'. Srecmvasacbar. ed.. A Corp": of Inscription: in the Telt'ngana Districts of H EH. The Him-it's Dmm‘m‘anr. Pr. ll. Hyderabad Archaeologiell Series No. I3 tllyderabad: ll fill. The Nizam's Government. 1940]. HIP-K P V. Parahrahma Sustry. ed.. inscriptions ofdndhrrt Printean Karimnrrgrrr Dr's- oo r. Aodlna I'iadesh thwt Epigraphy Seties No. II tllydcrnhnd: (havemment of Andltrn I'radesh. n d 't. ...
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