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In reality, however, comparatively few of these Lucknowi organisations took on such Anglicised terminologies. One, of course, is that much of the public sphere remained the preserve of established elites, for whom the constant invocation of established imagery of social authority and procedures associated with nobility contained clear personal advantages. Alternatively, we may speculate that this ongoing performance of history could provide sanctuary from a present that may, in various ways, have been deemed hostile. The city did not, as some established frameworks might have it, merely host the public sphere, but also became its subject.

Another, less-noted approach was to look to local histories of inter-communal harmony as providing a prototype for Hindu-Muslim cooperation on a contemporary national canvas. Much less has been said about the Lucknow Pact as a symbolic performance. But newspaper accounts and memoirs reveal that the sessions appeared to be branded with a series of Lucknowi motifs and insignia.

Many delegates wore embroidered choga s, a form of Islamic noble regalia, rather than the Anglicised dress classic to early nationalists. While this commemorative event had been fore-planned as a notionally non-political gathering, its occurrence in August , at the heart of the Quit India movement, unexpectedly linked the convention with the nationalist agitation, with Husain being revered as a suitable icon in the universal struggle against oppression.

As in , this particular municipal ethos was projected once again onto the national level as a model for the construction of an ecumenical politics. On one level, colonial Lucknow offers a clear example of how new forms of urban associational life could be used to foster communal accord, by inculcating a sense of common orientation and collective history shared by residents of particular towns cf.

From another angle, the examples may remind us to interpret nationalist thought in India not as a totalising political discourse drawn from liberal Western prototypes, but rather, as something grounded in the histories and symbolic languages of particular precolonial South Asian polities. Joshi The term of tehzib , of course, was not a purely local concoction specific to Lucknow, but one with long-standing roots in Islamic thought.

Elaborated as a notion of ethical refinement by classical-era philosophers including ibn Miskawayh and al-Ghazali ibn Miskawayh , al-Ghazali [] , it was henceforth adopted in various contexts both in and beyond South Asia. These weighty connotations meant that the application of the term to colonial-era Lucknow established the city as a definitive expression of Islamic cultural and ethical refinement, linking its cultural distinctions both to the reformist agendas of contemporaneous South Asian Muslim modernists and also to a wider ethical paradigm with centuries of history across the Islamic world.

This was an authentic Islamicate culture that, due to its great accomplishments and universal relevance, could compel participation from others. It helps us to understand why Muslim attempts to evoke cross-community harmony in colonial Lucknow were so often conveyed not in a liberal vocabulary of equality or dialogue between different religions, but through a lexicon of Islamic motifs and symbols. In doing this, they managed to evade the colonial language of majorities and minorities, and abrogated the need for neutral arbitration. This was, furthermore, a striking, locally-formulated urban solution to the Hindu-Muslim question, at a time when national politics was increasingly working through communitarian frames, and when political movements such as Muslim separatism and pan-Islam appeared to be viewing Muslim political destinies in exclusivist terms.

Even since independence, these visions of a historic Lucknowi Muslim cosmopolitanism have been engaged to articulate the place of Muslims within modern India. To take another former north Indian centre of Muslim power, colonial-era Delhi had its pre-colonial history used in similar ways. Nevertheless, the point remains that, both in Lucknow itself and in other settlements and districts elsewhere in former Awadh, the mythology of old Lucknow remained potent as both a lived experience and a political reference point throughout the colonial period.

That these mythologies of a collective civic tehzib , so recurrent in nationalist-era Lucknow, could take on so many social and political applications might remind us of the importance of considering the colonial South Asian city as more than a mere space for the conduct of Indian bourgeois associational or political life.

Bayly, Christopher A. Cole, Juan R. Gilmartin, David and Lawrence, Bruce eds. Graff, Violette ed. Kidwai, R. Naim, C. Oldenburg, Veena Talwar ed. Husaini, Delhi: Orient Blackswan. It has been widely elaborated in studies of South Asian Islam, e. Ismailism managed to survive in Sind and enjoyed the protection of the Soomras , a dynasty based in Thatta for almost three centuries starting in AD. He was a great military leader and unlike Ghaznavids, he founded an empire in India, the Delhi Sultanate.

Sultan Muhammad Ghuri lead many military campaigns in north India. On his way to Ghazni from India in AD, he was killed. Some sources claim that he was assassinated at the hands of a devotee of the so-called "mulahida" a derogatory term used for Ismailis in medieval history [29] , others claim that it was Khokhars who killed him [30]. The predecessors of the Delhi Sultanate were the Ghurids. To understand the Shia-State relations in Medieval India, it is necessary to look at the nature of Sunni Islam that was brought to this region following the conquest of the Ghurids.

Pashtun tribes crossed the Hindu kush mountains to present-day Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province between 13th and 16th century, and mixed with the locals. Ghur in Khurasan was the only part of Muslim world that had defied the Umayyad tradition of cursing Ali [31]. The Sunnis of Khurasan were as opposed to the Umayyad rule as the Shias were.

They had been instrumental in overthrow of the Umayyad dynasty and in Abbasid rule under the Shia commander Abu Muslim al-Khurasani. It was during the early years of the Delhi Sultanate that the great Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti — AD set his foot in India and converted many locals to Islam. His famous couplet reads:. During the early years of the establishment of Delhi ultanate , a number of Ismaili Shias had settled around Delhi. Ismaili faith was also introduced to Gujrat during these years. Ismaili missionaries spread across Gujrat and managed to establish the Nizari Ismaili Khoja community and the Mustali Bohras.

Till the reign of Iltutmish , they remained politically inactive, preaching their ideology secretly. In contrast to Ismailis, history does not record the presence of mainstream Twelver Shi'ism in the first phase of Delhi sultanate. One reason could be Taqiya , because the Shias fleeing persecution in the middle east settled in the subcontinent as local minorities cautious of threats to their survival.

The other reason for this is that the love of Ahlulbayt and the commemoration of Muharram by the Sufi's helped the twelver Shias integrate well into the Sunni Muslim minority of India and not claim a separate political identity. For example, during the Gwalior campaign of Iltutmish, special sermons by the name of " tazkirs " were delivered in the military camps during the first ten days of Muharram [32]. They might have fled persecution carried out by Ibn Taymiyyah and the Mamluks. Twelver Shias seem to be enjoying freedom and equal-before-the-law status during this period [34].

He claimed that he had seized all such Shia missionaries, paraded them for humiliation, executed the prominent ones, while burning their books [35]. This was a rare incident of its kind in the medieval India. By the end of fourteenth century AD, the Delhi sultanate disintegrated and three separate kingdoms emerged: Jaunpur Sultanate in the east and the Bahmani Sultanate and Vijayanagara Empire in the southern part of India. Contemporary to Delhi Sultanate, a small Shia kingdom had emerged in Makran , the Malik dynasty [37].

At the end of the thirteenth century, Marco Polo seems to have noticed them, when he mentioned the country as follows:. Kech Makran is a kingdom having a king of its own and a peculiar language. Some of the people are idolaters, but the most part are Saracens " [38]. In the time of one Malik Kuchko, the country is said to have numerous population, and high degree of civilization. The decline of this dynasty was caused by an attack by the ruler of Kirman in AD.

Malik Mirza, the last ruler, was killed and this marks the end of the Malik dynasty [38]. He instilled the love of Ahlul Bayt in the hearts of the new converts and wrote many books and tracts. Twenty years later in AD, he came to Kashmir again, along with Shia Sufis, scholars and missionaries. He traveled in the valleys of Himalayas and spread Shi'ism from Skardu to Tibet , converting thousands of Hindus and Buddhists to Shi'ism.

He hated Shias and therefore went on a killing spree. Soon he suffered a military defeat and fled to the Mughal King Humayun in Lahore. He returned in AD, accompanied by Mughal troops, at the invitation of one of the two rival factions that continually fought for power in Kashmir. He put an end to the Chak rule. His reign was a reign of terror and Shias had no choice but to practice Taqiyya [40]. This sparked an all-out revolt and he was killed by the end of the same year.


Bibliography in: The Khōjā of Tanzania

Chak dynasty was re-established and in AD, it merged with the Mughal Empire. Mughals appointed talented officers and contributed greatly to the cultural and economic life of Kashmir. Sri Badat's treatment of people is said to be so harsh that when Shamsher invaded, the people rose to rebellion and he fled the country. Shamsher introduced Shi'ism to Gilgit [42]. Trakhan was forced to accept Sunnism, and pay a yearly tribute. Taj Mughal then attacked Hunza, seized the ruler, Girkis, and forced them to change their faith. Nagar was not invaded and the people there have retained their original Shia creed [42].

He returned with a stronger force and conquered Gilgit [43]. It patronized men of scholarship and hence Shia missionaries and scholars arrived in Deccan. In the phase of decline, it split up into five smaller kingdoms, three of them ruled by Shias. Bijapur became the first Twelver Shia state in India, with Ja'fari, Hanafi and Sha'fi schools of Islamic law, each applied to its followers.

It was the first time in India that Shia Adhan was called on the state pulpits and names of the twelve Shia Imams be included in Khutba. However, he strictly banned the practice of tabarra [45]. The longest surviving Shia-ruled state in southern India was that of the Qutb Shahs. He ordered the Khutba to be read in the names of the twelve Shia Imams. This kingdom was known for its wealth: it is the only one among the Deccan sultanates to have a currency of Gold coins. It became the hub of Shia culture in India, later surpassed only by Lucknow.

In AD, the flag Alam-e-hussaini was erected at the Ashurkhana, witha ahand shaped pinnacle made of metal. It had a spacious square courtyard with a double-storeyed structure, with eastern and western wings having twelve and northern wing having eight rooms on both floors. The hospital was also a college of medicine, where the learned staff experimented with new drugs [48].

Another building, Khudadad Mahal, was eight storeys high. It contained a library, papermaking and bookbinding sections and a section for miniature painting [49]. The kingdom was the at center of diamond production and trade, not Asia alone but worldwide. Its riches lured Mughal Empire into attack and Shia religious and intellectual culture lost state patronage after it was annexed by Aurangzeb in Co-education in Golconda: this painting represents a scene in a school with an old teacher seated in the middle in the mid 17th century CE, Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection Their independence was lost when the Mughal Emperor Akbar forced them to pay tribute.

Majority of his army commanders were Turani Begs, however, some of them were Iranians. His son Humayun succeeded him, who inherited his military and Sufi-hanafi orientation. However, he met a crushing defeat at the hands of Sher Shah Suri in , due to disputes among his brothers, and fled to Iran where Shah Tahmasp welcomed him warmly.

He conquered Delhi in AD and died the next year, leaving the throne to his young son Akbar , who was to rule India for almost half a century and become one of the greatest Emperors, Plato's philosopher king of India. Him and his contemporary in Deccan, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah , are perhaps the most enlightened and progressive Kings in Indian history.

In his childhood, two influential Sunni clerics persuaded him to turn a blind eye to their atrocities against Shias. When he died in AD, he was buried near the great poet Amir Khusrow. Shaykh Abd un Nabi and Mulla Makhdum-ul Mulk insisted that his dead body be taken out and buried somewhere else, the young Emperor ordered and his grave was dug up.

The two clerics would not tolerate difference of opinion, and using their influence in the court of the young king, they forced Fayzi and Abu-ul Fazl into going underground. However, soon the king had enough of their bigotry and he started questioning what he had been taught. In AD, he built a debating hall by the name of Ibadatkhana , where he would hold discussions between men of knowledge from all backgrounds [53].

The Mughal state was secular, perhaps the pioneer of secularism, and did not facilitate hate crimes, but a cold war between Shia and Sunni elite continued. Mughal Emperors except Aurangzeb, were indifferent to sectarian disputes and did not encourage sectarian violence.


In the sixteenth century, some Shia phobes, the like of Mirza Haider Dughlat, appear to question the expression of love for Ahlulbayt by followers of Sufi'ism. Humayun in Kabul was visited by a cleric Shaykh Hamid who angered the king by asking him why so many of his soldiers had Ali in their names?

Shia literature of the time mentions them as Kharjis. In response to this, an influential Shia saint Syed Raju Shah Bukhari of Layyah , launched a campaign against unnecessary Taqiyya among the Shias and invited them to express their love for Ahlulbayt more openly. During this time, many saints and syeds professed their faith and identified as Shias openly. They and their disciples traveled the agricultural heartlands of Punjab and spread the message [55].

During the reign of the curious and just Akbar the Great — AD , men of knowledge from all over India gathered at his Ibadat khana in the then mughal capital, Fatehpur Sikri. He was born in a scholarly family of Iran in AD. In AD, Akbar shifted his capital to Lahore and appointed him as the Qazi chief jurist of the city.

He accepted the position on the condition that he will follow his own judgement Ijtihad and not adhere to a particular school of jurisprudence. He reformed the judiciary system and made sure that justice was served to the masses. Mulla Badauni says:. He is well-known for his neutrality, modesty, piety, justice, virtue, and qualities of a noble man. He is well known for his scholarship, decision power, insight, and clarity of thought.

He has authored many tracts and also possesses poetic faculty [56]. Shushtari set out to confront the most important of them. He opposed the practice of taqiyya in an era wherein a just King treated all his subjects equally regardless of their beliefs. He said:. He also wrote " Majalis-ul Momineen " on the history of Shias and exegesis of some parts of Quran.

He was not just writing books, he was continuously in touch with Shias of India by writing and responding to their letters. They sought his guidance in religious matters. Towards the end of his rule, Akbar appointed the Qazi to investigate mishandling of governments funds and property in Agra and other places. It appears that he made many enemies, while holding them accountable. After Akbar's death, in AD, life became harder for him and eventually, he was sentenced to public flogging by Jahangir.

He could not tolerate this humiliation and died while bearing lashes on his back in AD at the age of sixty-one [56]. Mullah Ahmed Thattavi was son of the Sunni jurist of Thatta. He was introduced to Shia faith by an Iraqi merchant. He then went to Qazvin , Iraq and finally Makkah , visiting places and attending different courses.

Upon his return to India, he first went to the Qutb Shahi court in Golkonda and then in , he joined Akbar's court [58]. In the debates about the history of Islam, he used to advocate Shia point of view with missionary zeal. In AD, He was assassinated in Lahore, his grave was exhumed and his body mutilated and then put to fire by his opponents [59]. Shah Fathullah Shirazi was one of the leading intellectuals of India, expert on the books of Ibn Sina and Shaikh-i-Ishraq as well as mathematics and astronomy of the time. Akbar invited him to his court in Fathpur Sikri. He arrived in AD. The jagirdars on his way were ordered to welcome him and escort his caravan.

He was appointed the Amin-ul Mulk trustee of the empire , Azud-ud Daula arm of the empire and a joint finance minister with Raja Todar Mal. He was tasked with financial reforms. In May , Shah Fathullah fell ill and died, while accompanying the Emperor on his visit to Kashmir [60]. His death was a great loss for Akbar. Although his strict observance of religious discipline and rituals in his daily life was distasteful to the Emperor, he was given full freedom by the secular king. He actively took part in the discussions at the Ibadat khana. He designed and improved weapons, made new astronomical tables and researched on pedagogical approaches for children with special needs.

His students kept his tradition alive and as a result, rational sciences became a part of the madrassa curriculum until 19th century AD, when Shah Waliullah 's puritanism replaced them with orthodoxy [61]. Jahangir and Shahjahan , both followed Akbar's policy of coexistence and secularism. They built impressive structures, but they did not build a single University in North India, and therefore, India could not catch up with European Renaissance. Although Jahangir punished Qazi Nurullah Shushtari, but it was not for religious reasons.

He disliked his father's associates and acted against them, but not out of religiosity. Most probably his nobles took revenge from the Qazi for accountability in Akbar's reign [56]. Jahangir's jailing of a zealous anti-Shia cleric, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi , is also indicative of his indifference towards sectarian conflicts [62]. Pelsaert , a Dutch merchant who lived in Agra between — AD , gives an account of people openly commemorating Muharram The women recite lamentations and display grief. The men carry two decorated coffins on the main roads of the city with many lamps. Large crowds attend these ceremonies, with great cries of mourning and noise.

The chief event is on the last night, when it seems as if a Pharoah had killed all the infants in one night. The outcry lasts till the first quarter of the day " [63]. Tazias were taken out on the 10th and the shops were closed. However, a stampede due to failure of crowd control resulted in deaths of around 75 people " [64]. Ala-ul Mulk and one of his brothers lived in Dhaka and introduced the Shi'i creed there [65]. During Shah Jahan's rule over North India, Shi'ism was introduced in Bengal under patronage of his son Shah Shuja, and the second Imambargah of the subcontinent, Hussaini Dalan , was built in the capital city of Dhaka.

In Shah Jahan's court, sometimes religious debates took place and the Emperor does not seems to be taking sides. He was appointed governor of Kashmir and Punjab. He also rebuilt the road from Sirinagar to Lahore. In Kashmir too, he built gardens and a caravanserai in the name of twelve Shia Imams [66]. He was an influential general in the Qutb Shahi dynasty and after alienation in Abdullah Qutb Shah 's court, he shifted his loyalty to the Mughal court.

His role in bringing Aurangzeb to power and annexation of Deccan was instrumental [67]. Aurangzeb — AD was hard-working, clever and brilliant like Akbar, but he was totally opposite of him in his world view. Akbar's enlightenment and love were replaced by bigotry and naked force. While Akbar conquered North of India, he conquered South, but could not maintain and establish his authority.

Akbar had been successful because he treated his subjects equally, regardless of their religion. Under Aurangzeb, there was no room for freedom of thought, philosophy, innovation, science, tolerance and rational dialogue, and it was disastrous for the multi-cultural society of India. He did not like monumental structures and built none.

When he saw the Khudadad Mahal of Hyderabad, he called it Shaddad Mahal and ordered its destruction [49]. Aurangzeb gathered a board of Sunni jurists and tasked them with a compilation of Hanafi rulings later known as Fatawa Alamgiri. This was a detailed document, consisting of some 30 volumes. It changed the statecraft of the Mughal Empire: religions other than Islam and sects other than Hanafi Maturidi sect were to face discrimination.

Sunni Ulema became as powerful as Pope in medieval Europe. Shias had to practice taqiyya if they wished to be treated equally by Aurangzeb. In this regard, the best example is that of Ruhullah Khan whose Shi'ism only came to his knowledge when he was buried as a Shia according to his will [68]. As a prince, he had sought Shah Jahan's permission to attack Deccan, not only because of wealth but also because the rulers were Shias.

He wrote:. He hated Shias more than Hindus, however, while his actions targeted these communities on the whole, he did not let his bigotry undermine his own interests and he did appoint learned and skillful individuals from those communities as officers. He also assassinated the Sikh guru Tegh Bahadur , a decision that sparked communal tensions between Sikhs and Muslims. His son, the tenth Sikh guru Gobind Singh forged his followers into a militia by the name of Sikh Khalsa. However, the Emperor's sectarian stance could not stop Shias from responding to the Sunni polemics: between and AD, the Shi'i governor of Kashmir Ibrahim Khan appointed a board of Shia theologians to compile the " Bayaz-e- Ibrahimi ", in which rare manuscripts were collected from different sources [70].

Destabilization of Deccan and discrimination against Hindus gave rise to a militant Hindu uprising in Maharashtra under the leadership of Shivaji Bhonsle — AD. Shivaji was a religious man like Aurangzeb, and in AD, he crowned himself Chatrapati in a traditional Hindu Coronation at Rajgarh. His campaigns gave rise to Hindu communalism, which later manifested in the idea of Hindutva [71].

However, like Aurangzeb, he was wise enough to not let his religious sentiment undermine his interests: he appointed many Muslims to high positions. In , Shivaji's son and the new Chatrapati Sambhaji was captured by Aurangzeb and tortured to death. The account of his death made the Maratha opposition fiercer. As a King, he spent 27 years conquering and establishing his rule in Deccan, a long war that drained the Mughal Empire of resources and started its decline. Aurangzeb's period also saw an increasing sense of rebellion in Qandhar and Kabul.

Shi'a Islam in Colonial India: Religion, Community and Sectarianism

They regarded Muslims beyond the Hindukush as "others". The Afghan and Maratha bid for power was the main cause that accelerated the decline of Mughal Empire. The turi Shia tribe of Turkish origin [72] were living in the tribal areas of the indus valley from medieval times as nomadic tribes, but by the end of Aurangzeb's rule, they had established themselves in Kurram valley and introduced Shi'ism in the valley [73]. Aurangzeb's successor Bahadur Shah was a tafzili Sunni. He had made peace with Rajputs and invited Sikh guru Gobind Singh to his court.

The Maratha leader Shahu was busy with crushing rebels at home. Sikhs resumed their revolt under Banda, and Bahadur Shah had to move to Lahore to contain it [74]. Aurangzeb's bigotry fueled a cold war between Shia and Sunni elite in North India. Bahadur Shah tried to sort out the Shia-Sunni problem but his death in AD left the question undecided [75].

From there on to Nadir Shah 's invasion of AD, the business of Empire was taken over by conspiracies of king-makers. Religious and racial sensitivities were manipulated to meet selfish ends. This state of affairs was perfect for sectarian conflicts to grow. It seems like the Kharji's of the pre-Akbar era had re-surfaced. A cleric from Multan by the name of Shaykh Abdullah visited Delhi and could not stand the reverence of the twelve Imams on his dargah. He went to Delhi's Friday mosque and started to campaign against the Khawaja, which resulted in violence.

When he went back to Multan, he continued the hate speech. He was arrested and sent back to Delhi to be put behind the bars. On his way, his followers attacked the police to free him, but the attempt failed to leave many dead. The Shaykh was put in prison [76]. In AD, the Maratha civil war had ended. The weakened Mughals now recognized them as part of Mughal Empire.

Shahu was given tax collecting power over the large piece of land he already controlled. But the boundaries between the provinces were always disputed, thus Marathas continued their expansion. Mughal Empire started to become decentralized and a number of successor states emerged. Their rulers had considerable autonomy and sought legitimacy by being ceremonially appointed by the Emperor. When the Emperor sent an army to crush his soft coup, it was defeated.

However, because of constant Maratha threat, he did not claim independent and chose to stay quasi-independent. Following this the Shia Nawabs of Bengal and Nawabs of Awdh were also awarded hereditary governorship and local autonomy in their respective areas.

Shia Muslims observe Muharram in India

Like Nizam, they too appointed their own administration in their state, while paying tributes to the Emperor. Meanwhile the European trading companies had started to recruit armies from local population in Bombay, Madras and Bengal. The Empire entered into an era of perpetual war, mistrust and treachery [77].

However, it was also an era of emergence of new cultural capitals, like Lucknow , Murshidabad , Hyderabad and Poone. The nawabs of Bengal and Iranian merchants in Bengal patronized azadari and the political capital Murshidabad and the trading hub Hoogly attracted Shia scholars from within and outside India [78].

He was a hard working and far-sighted man. Bengal at that time was richest state of India, as the center of trade it attracted investments from Asian and European companies [80] , and that was why it was attacked by the Marathas [81] , the Afghan Rohillas [82] and finally the British managed to conquer it after his demise.


During the Anglo-French and Anglo-Indian wars in Madras region and beyond, and their gradually increasing invisible control over these regions, Ali Vardi Khan studied the developments with the help of his spies. While he encouraged trade with Europeans, he did not let them build military-purpose fortress in Bengal.

If they tried doing it, he would demolish it and say to them:. Being under my protection, you have no enemies to fear " [83]. He was a practicing Shia, he offered prayers and recited Quran everyday and held meetings with learned men for discussions [84]. At the times of war and crisis, he used to pray whole night on a piece of earth from the grave of Imam Hussain at Karbala [85]. During his reign, many Shia scholars came to Bengal and started teaching in maktabs, mosques and imambaras [86].

He did not discriminate against Hindus or others on the basis of religion, and this was one of his points of strength. However, the British managed to create fault lines based on religion [87] and when his naive and young grandson Nawab Siraj-ud Daula came to power, many members of Hindu elite, especially Jagat Seth and Amir Chand , supported the great conspiracy of AD, and the British got hold of Bengal [80].

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Keeping the puppet nawabs on their thrones, now the British were indirectly ruling parts of Southern and Eastern India without exposing themselves to the volatile power struggle between the Afghans, the Marathas and the Shias. This strategy of camouflage was adopted to gain maximum economic advantage of the situation. A decade of exploitation followed. Bengal, the once richest province of India, suffered from famine in AD, and one third of its peasants lost their lives and others driven to cannibalism.

When Muhammad Shah , who was busy with revolts at home, failed to respond, he used this as a pretext to attack Delhi and plunder it. The Shia nawab of Awdh, Sa'adat Ali Khan tried to defend Delhi but was stabbed in the back by Nizam-ul Mulk , who prevented the Emperor from sending reinforcements and the nawab ended up arrested [89]. Nader Shah's campaigns to unify Iran had cost him much and he desperately needed wealth to overcome financial crisis at home, which he took from Delhi.

To fill his treasury he attacked and looted the Indus Valley seven times.

His invasions were supported by the Afghan Rohillas in Delhi who had rebellious tendencies since last days of Aurangzeb. After this event, the Rohillas attacked Awdh but were pushed back. Safdar Jang made alliance with Marathas against Abdali and his Rohilla agents. Abdali invaded Punjab again by the end of AD and created havoc. With increasing sectarian strife at the Mughal court, the Sunni faction managed to enthrone Alamgir-II as the Emperor, and persuaded him to ban the commemoration of Muharram in Delhi. The old Emperor tried to marry a princess Hazrat Begum , who was famous for her beauty, but she prevented the marriage by threatening to commit suicide.

In AD Abdali reached Delhi and ordered his forces to unleash carnage. For more than a month, afghans went from home to home, taking whatever wealth people had, even if it was buried in the ground, and raping women. Sikh militias attacked Abdali's forces on their way back to Afghanistan, and free some of the Hindu or Sikh women that were taken as sex-slaves. Abdali invaded Delhi in AD again, looted the city, expelled its Shia population, forcibly married the year-old beauty Princess Hazrat Begum.

Marathas tried to liberate Delhi and the Emperor, but were defeated by the united Shia-Sunni force in AD in the historic third battle of Panipat [91]. Unlike his father, the young Shia nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud Daula supported Abdali and Rohillas against the patriotic Marathas for religious reasons, but Abdali proved to be a sectarian bigot when he expelled the Shia population of Delhi and appointed the ruthless Rohillas on the demands of Shah Waliullah [90]. What followed was emergence of Sikh power in Punjab and a power struggle in Qandahar which stopped his heirs from attacking Indus valley.

Marathas again came to his rescue, Rohilla chief was ousted and punished. Meanwhile, Sikh militias controlled Punjab and the era of political anarchy and economic misery ended only after Maharaja Ranjit Singh united Sikh forces and founded the Sikh Empire — AD. He was a secular leader under whom Punjab blossomed again. Marathas had lost 75, troops in Panipat, this crushing defeat exposed them to attacks from Nizam of Hyderabad in the south and a civil war from within. This offered British a chance to expand in Bombay, the Treaty of Salbai signed in AD neutralized Maratha threat for 20 years [94].

Nawab Sa'adat Ali Khan was awarded hereditary governorship over Awadh in AD after he led Mughal army against the Zamindars who had recruited their own militias and stopped paying taxes. He was son of a Safavid noble, who had left Iran after Safavid Empire started to lose political authority. He made Fayzabad his capital. Because of turmoil in Iran, many Shia scholars and Syeds immigrated to this city [95]. He was also appointed the prime minister by the Emperor. In , he led a campaign against the Rohilla rebels near Delhi.

As his influence increased in the Mughal court so did the cold war between the Shia and Sunni elites. In AD, he died [90]. His son Shuja-ud Daula succeeded him. Although Mir Jafar was made the Nawab of Bengal after his treachery at Plassey , the power and money lied in the hands of British and the responsibility to manage the people on this puppet, like in Arcot or Hyderabad. He was soon replaced by Mir Qasim who tried to regain freedom. While the Mughal Empire had lost its military strength due to series of Afghan invasions, the British had foreseen this battle and had employed locals at large scale and trained them on the lines of European warfare.

The Indian alliance was defeated Buxer in AD. Awadh lost its sovereignty and so did Delhi. The English did not annex these areas because they wanted to use Awadh as a buffer between themselves and the Marathas. The Company's right to collect revenue from Bengal, the richest province of India, was now recognized and legitimized by the Emperor [96]. Now the Nawab of Awadh focused on cultural and economic enrichment of his state. The judicial, financial and governmental capital of Awadh became the cultural capital of India [97].

Lucknow attracted scholars, artists and poets from all over India as well as Europe. In AD, famine struck Awadh and the semi-independent nawab worked hard to relieve people of misery. One of his projects was to create jobs by building the magnificent Asafi Imambara and mosque complex [98]. During the American War of Independence , a similar threat to the British expansion in India emerged under the leadership of a Hyder Ali — AD , who was the army commander of the Wadiyar Dynasty of Mysore and then founded the Khudadad Sultanate.

He and his son Tipu Sultan appeared as the most formidable resistance to the colonial occupation. He was the most farsighted Indian of his time, like Akbar the Great , he realized the importance of secularism [99] , unity and modern science for the multi-cultural subcontinent []. They modernized the army, invented the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and significantly developed Mysore's economy. He sent ambassadors to pay homage to Ali and Hussain in Iraq and ordered them to seek permission from Ottomon Emperor to build a canal from Euphrates to Najaf to meet the needs of clean water in the holy city [].

At that point in time, Iran was in turmoil and many Syeds and scholars migrated to different parts of India, some ended up in Mysore, which was building its military muscle. Looking for careers in military, many Syeds joined the army and some Iranian horse traders settled in Srirangapatna Fort []. Tipu tried to form a Mysore- Hyderabad- Pune alliance against the ever-growing colonial exploitation of the British but failed. The Syeds fought hard under Syed Ghaffar and after his death, Tipu himself lead the few soldiers defending the fort, but was unsuccessful and lost his life [].

However, when the news of Tipu's death reached Pune, Baji Rao said that he had lost his right arm []. Marathas and Sikhs were going to be the next victims. Many Shia theologian visited and settled in Lahore during the Mughal era. The Dogras and their British allies started to expand their influence in Gilgit around AD, when Nagar was occupied.


In , Gauhar Aman attacked Gilgit and appealed to its people for help. Bhup Sindh was attacked and all his troops except one were killed at Tuin, later known as Bhup Singh ka pari. Gauhar Aman then appointed his son in law, Muhammad Khan, as the ruler of Gilgit []. However, Gilgit was retaken by a Dogra army under General Hushiara in AD, who in ordered a total massacre of the people of Yasin valley as a revenge of the earlier military defeats. In , he collectively punished the population of Darel for not supporting his army against an invasion from Chitral [].

Several attempts were made in the following years by the tribal chiefs to liberate Gilgit but all failed due to a lack of modern military equipment and strategy. However these attacks did not let the British establish their rule firmly till AD. Northern part was reported to be predominantly Shia, while Sunni tenets were found in the Southern part of the region []. The Gazetteer of Gilgit agency says:.

A very small minority of Shias lived in the suburbs of Srinagar, mainly at Zadibal. However, they were very hard-working and industrious people; finest papier-mache workers, shawl-makers and wealthiest were Shias []. Of the famous 10 Shia Taraaj's [41] , the last one occurred in September The Gazetteer of Kashmir contains the details of the violence:.

The Shias fled in every direction, some seeking safety on the adjacent mountains, while others remained in the city in secret lurking places. Many of the women and children of the Shias found an asylum from the hands of their infuriated co-religionists in the houses of the Hindu portion of the community " []. After the British annexed Kohat, the Turis repeatedly attacked their troops in Miranzai. In AD an agreement was reached but the raids increased, and in AD, a force under Neville Chamberlain attacked the valley and the Turis were made to pay Rs.

He had started to attack Hazarajat to annex the area and his forces were committing atrocities against the Shia Hazaras. In AD, the Turis, with the Bangash, asked the British to take over the valley and free them from Afghan rule; but the British decided to keep them as a buffer between India and Afghanistan and the tribe was declared independent. Meanwhile, the - Hazara uprising had begun in Afghanistan, which was ruthlessly suppressed, about half of the Hazara population killed or expelled, their properties confiscated and women and children were sold as slaves []. The Shias of Kurram valley requested to join British India once more and the valley was finally annexed to British India in [].

Fanaticism was rampant throughout the area []. Main source of income was agriculture, however Silk was also produced and exported []. In Peshawar, the Shias were only confined to the city, surrounded by fanatic opponents, and only 0. Although the numbers may be under-estimated, as many Shias practice Taqiyah on individual level, especially while giving out their personal details.

Muharram in Peshawar was observed with utmost respect []. The emergence of Lucknow as an intellectual hub for Shi'ism in North India during the reign of the nawabs of Awdh played significant role in introduction of organised Shi'ism and Shia scholarship to Punjab. Clerics trained at the Asif-ud Daula seminary in Lucknow spread throughout North India to preach Usuli Shi'ism and connect people to the central religious authority at Lucknow. In Attock district, there were few Shia neighborhoods, majority of them being Syeds []. In Rawalpindi, the district Gazetteer of - 94 reports only some Gakhars openly registering themselves as Shias [].

In Shahpur district, the only 1. In Lahore, they were a minority spread across the city []. They are the most bigoted type. They observe the Muharram most strictly, abstaining from all luxuries for the first ten days of the month, and on the 10th they accompany the Taziahs bareheaded and bare-footed. They throw dust on their heads and beat their breasts with extreme violence, and allow neither Hindu nor Muhammadan to approach the Taziah without baring his head and removing his shoes" [].

The coexistence of Shias and Sunnis was noticed in other parts of Punjab as well. The following passage is taken from the Gazetteer of Multan:. Generally speaking, there is very little bitterness between the Sunni and Shia sect, and in the ordinary intercourse of life, there is little to distinguish the two " []. In the beginning of the twentieth century AD, Shia-Sunni debates were on the rise following sectarian riots in Lucknow.

Allama Syed Muhammad Baqir Chakralvi and other Shia scholars of Punjab held public debates with many Sunni scholars in the early years of the twentieth century. These debates during the British rule allowed Shias to present their case in the public without fear. The Multan District Gazetteer mentions this phenomenon:. Another factor was the wealth generated by the newly developed Canal irrigation system made it possible for the Shia elites of the area to spend lavishly on Muharram and build Imambargahs. The number of followers of Syed Ahmad Barelvi, known as Wahabis, had started to increase and thus the bitterness between Shias and Sunnis was also on the rise.

The Gazetteer of Mianwali District recorded Shia phobia as follows:. They have a great hatred of the Shias and Rafzis. An orthodox Pathan regards tazia with the greatest repugnance. The influence of Sunni governors too seems to have led to the very general profession of the Sunni faith by the bulk of the mixed Jat population, though the Biluches have as a rule adhered to the Shia faith" []. While Shias and Sunnis have lived side-by-side in the subcontinent for fifteen almost centuries, anti-Shia violence has been growing consistently for the past three centuries.

Anti-Shi'ism has two aspects: hateful literature and hate-crimes. In the medieval period, middle east saw bloody clashes between both sects but subcontinent remained safe and peaceful because of secular policy of Mughals. As far as physical violence is concerned, medieval period has only few examples of Shias being killed for their beliefs, most notable among them are Abdullah Shah Ghazi [] , Mullah Ahmad Thathavi and Syed Nurullah Shushtari [29]. However, in the eighteenth century AD, the number of polemical writings increased [].

It started with Aurangzeb's discrimination against the Shias. The sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir hated the Shias; he abolished the secular policy of Akbar tried to establish the superiority of the Sunni sect. He supervised the compilation of an encyclopedia of religious rulings, called fatawa Alamgiri, in which Shias were said to be heretics. The spiritual leader of Bohra Shias, Sayyid Qutb-ud-din, along with his followers were massacred on the orders of Aurangzeb. He banned the tazia processions []. In the century following his death, polemical literature and sectarian killings increased.

Whenever a Mughal emperor died, war of succession followed in which elites played key role. After Aurangzeb's death, when the Shia elites tried to play political role, Sunni elite used the sectarian polarization created by Aurangzeb to undermine the Shia elite. This created a tug-of-war at the heart of Mughal Empire. Bengal and Awdh came under the rule of Shia elite and the rest of the states, e.

Deccan, Rohailkhand, Kashmir, etc, were ruled by Sunni elite. In a letter to Sunni nawabs, Shah Waliullah said:. On the tenth of Muharram, the Shias should not be allowed to go beyond the bounds of moderation, neither should they be rude nor repeat stupid things in the streets or bazars " []. Shias of Kashmir were also massacred in an organized campaign after Afghans took power [41].

In Multan, under the Durrani rule, Shia were not allowed to practice their religion []. Although he did not declare them apostates or non-muslims, but he considered them lesser human beings just like what he would think about Hindus or other non-muslims. In a letter he advises Sunnis to not greet Shias first, and if a Shia greets them first, their response should be cold. In his view, Sunnis should not marry Shias, avoid eating their food and the animals slaughtered by a Shia []. Najaf Khan died in , but his influence had helped Shias resettle in Delhi []. This was not acceptable for Shah Abd al-Aziz and he termed it as a Shia conspiracy.

To create fear among the majority and incite them, he wrote in Tuhfa Asna Ashariya :. This was a clear exaggeration. This tactic of presenting Shias as dangerous and spreading fear among Sunnis has been a common trait of all militant organizations targeting Shias [].

How could a community that was completely cleansed thirty years ago reach such high numbers in such a short period? The reality lies somewhat in between: expelled Shias had started to return and resettle in their homes, and continue Muharram processions which had upset him. This book appeared at a very important juncture in history of the Subcontinent. In the nineteenth century, publishing technology was introduced to India and publications became cheaper. This book was published at a large scale, financed by Sunni elite. An Arabic translation of it as sent to the middle east [].

Mirza was then invited by the Sunni governor of Jhajjar under the pretext of medical treatment and poisoned to death. By the end of the 18 th century, influence of the Wahhabi movement led by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab had started to touch Indian shores through Indian Hajj pilgrims and clerics visiting Hijaz. He used to arrange public gatherings in Muharram himself.

Rizvi describes:.