Recently, I stumbled upon two good books to read. These tell the story of our neighbourhood, Bengal and Sindh, that were once our own land but have now been lost to us due to Islamic land grabbing.
It is surprising how the colorful and joyous Sindh is still much closer to us culturally than the violence-prone Punjabi Muslim culture driven by rigid Sunni Islam.
K. R. Malkani in the Sindh Story provides details that I never knew existed: how Alexander met his Waterloo in Sindh and how the Sindhi Hindus fought tooth and nail the Muslim invaders, especially Raja Dahir. Malkani also outlines the legend of “Jhoolay Lal” of Sindh. Jhoolay Lal is immortalised in the song “Ho Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bhalaa Jhoolay Lalan.” Hear this song here. He is the patron saint of Sindhi Hindus because he saved them from conversion to Islam.
The other holy figure is that of Jhoolay Lal, also known as Udero Lal, Amar Lal or Lal Sain. In the tenth century when Arabs were declining and the Soomras were coming up, Mirkh Shah, the fanatical ruler of Thatta, ordered the Hindus to embrace lslam. The bewildered people collected en masse on the banks of the Sindhu and prayed to Varuna Devata for a saviour. Legcnd has it that a handsome young man emerged from the river on a charger, showed many miracles and saved the people from cultural genocide. He is shown in Nasarpur — where he is believed to have been born to Rattan Rao Luhana and his wife Devaki—as a baby in a silver swing(jhoola or peengho) — just like Lord Krishna in his childhood. Elsewhere he is shown with a flowing white beard, like Guru Nanak, but seated on the river- fruit, fish.
But he was obviously a great youth leader who saved the Sindhi Hindus a thousand years ago. To this day temples are built in his honour and panjaras (five-line verses) are sung to his greater glory. And in recent years Roona Laila has made Jhoolay Lal — and Mast Qalandar — household names in Hindustan and Pakistan alike, with her lilting “O Lal, Meri Pat Rakhiyo Sada Jhoolay Lalan….” Rendered in English, it reads:
OH LORD of Sindh, Jhoolay Lal, and Sire of Sehwan, the red- robed Cod-intoxicated Qalandar, glory unto you! May I always have your benign protection.
YOUR SHRINE is always lighted with four lamps; and here I come to light a fifth lamp in ycur honour.
LET YOUR heroic name ring out in Hind and Sindh; let the gong ring loud for your glory.
OH LORD, may you prevail every time, everywhere. In the name of Ali, I pray to you to help my boat cross (the river of life) in safety
You can read both the books online.
The book on Bengal by Tathagata Roy is a depressing tale of killings and more killings of Hindus by Bengali Muslims (the same Muslim gentry is now being invited into India by Congress and encouraged to settle around Hindu neighbourhoods). One thing that becomes clear from studying any civil unrest / riot orchestrated by Muslims is that they target women first.
The art of inflicting pain and misery on non-combatants has been perfected by Muslim thugs over the last one thousand years. Hindu women were captured in their thousands by invading Islamic armies and carted off to markets of Baghdad and Damascus to be sold as sex slaves to Arabs. The caravan of captured Hindu women began from Punjab and went through Afghanistan and Iran. So many women died of cold in the mountains while on the way to Arabia that the whole range came to be called as “Hindu Kush” (“Hindu Slaughter”).
Legend after legend tell us of attempts by people to rescue these women. Not many people know it, but the song sung in Punjab on Lohri, “Sundri Mundri Ho,” recalls such a warrior who used to rescue these women by raiding the caravans and then got them married off by bearing all the expenses. Ironically, Dhulla Bhatti, the warrior, was a Muslim highway bandit who was distressed at seeing the Hindu women being taken to Arabia to be sold as cattle. This is what wikipedia says about him:
The origin of Lohri is related to the central character of most Lohri songs is Dulla Bhatti, a Muslim highway robber who lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Besides robbing the rich, he rescued Hindu girls being forcibly taken to be sold in slave market of the Middle East. He arranged their marriages to Hindu boys with Hindu rituals and provided them with dowries. Understandably, though a bandit, he became a hero of all Punjabis. So every other Lohri song has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.
Here is the song that even today children sing on Lohri (on 13th January every year) and go house to house asking for money and other things so that they can prepare a bonfire on Lohri and remember Dhulla Bhatti.
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paatta ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari eet!
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi!(Cry or howl!)
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pit!
Sunder mundriye ho(Sunder and munder are the name of girls here)
Who will think about you
He is dulla bhatti( a dacoit like robinhood who use to loot the riches and help the poor) Dulla’s daughter got married
(Dulla bhatti help them married with their grooms by considering them his daughters) He gave 1 kg sugar!
The girl is wearing a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?!
The uncle made choori!
The landlords looted it!
Landlords are beaten up then!
Lots of innocent guys came to save
One innocent boy got left behind
The police arrested him!
The policeman hit him with a brick!
Cry or howl!
Give us lohri ..long live your couple!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later!
The Khalsa ‘fauj’ of Guru Gobind Singh was at the forefront of rescuing Hindu women by attacking the caravans passing through Punjab. Their guerrilla raids harassed Nadir Shah’s army while it was making its way to Iran with thousands of Hindus in chains walking alongside. They managed to rescue about 2000 Hindu women from the troops who fell behind.
Hindu Slave Trade
My friend Kosla Vepa (who organised the International Conference on Indian History recently at Delhi) says that there was a substantial slave trade in India that dealt in captured Hindu men, women and children. Millions were taken in chains to Afghanistan and Arabia and sold off in the markets there. But while the slave trade of Africa is well documented, nobody has bothered to do any research about the Hindu slave trade that flourished in India for 550 years (1200 to 1750). What happened to those people? How were they treated? Where did millions of Hindus dissappear in Arabia? Do their descendants still live there?
Nobody is even willing to talk about the Hindu slave trade that was orchestrated by Muslims. Why? Because we are “secular,” that is why. Shame on us Hindus that even after 60 years of our independence, we dishonour the memory of our ancestors by forgetting what happened to them and how they paid the price with their blood and freedom. It is because of them that we still carry our foreskins. But in “modern” India, even remembering those slaves has gone out of fashion.