Monday, 29 February 2016

Hindu History Of Afghanistan

Not much left: The Buddhist stupa at Tapa-ye Sardar in Ghazni, 2005. Photo: Thomas Ruttig.Image result for buddhist stupa in ghazni afghanistan
Before the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan communities of various religious and ethnic background lived in the land. South of the Hindu Kush was ruled by the Zunbil and Kabul Shahi rulers. When the Chinese travellers (Faxian, Song Yun,Xuanzang, Wang-hiuon-tso, Huan-Tchao, and Wou-Kong) visited Afghanistan between 399 and 751 AD, they mentioned that Buddhism was practiced in different areas between the Amu Darya (Oxus River) in the north and the Indus River in the south. The land was ruled by the Kushans followed by the Hephthalites during these visits. It is reported that the Hephthalites disliked Buddhism, and that they worshipped a sun god.
The Arabs introduced Islam to a Zunbil king of Zamindawar (Helmand Province) in 653-4 AD, then they took the same message to Kabul before returning to their already Islamized city of Zaranj in the west. It is unknown how many accepted the new religion but the Shahi rulers remained non-Muslim until they lost Kabul in 870 AD to the Saffarid Muslims of Zaranj. Later, the Samanids from Bukhara in the north extended their Islamic influence into the area. It is reported that Muslims and non-Muslims still lived side by side in Kabul before the arrival of the Ghaznavids from Ghazni.
“Kábul has a castle celebrated for its strength, accessible only by one road. In it there are Musulmáns, and it has a town, in which are infidels from Hind.”
—Istahkrí, 921 AD
The first mention of a Hindu in Afghanistan appears in the 982 AD Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam, where it speaks of a king in “Ninhar” (Nangarhar), who shows a public display of conversion to Islam, even though he had over 30 wives, which are described as “Muslim, Afghan, and Hindu” wives. It should be noted that these names were often used as geographical terms. For example, Hindu (or Hindustani) has been historically used as a geographical term to describe someone who was native from the region known as Hindustan (Indian subcontinent), and Afghan as someone who was native from a region called Afghanistan.


Hindu Temple at Khair Khana inKabul.Marble statues of Surya, a Hindu solar deity.
GardezStatues of Durga Mahishasuramardini.They show, as the Sanskrit name says, the Indian goddess Durga, the consort of Shiva slaying the buffalo demon.
Hindu Temple at Chaghan Saray in the Kunar Valley in eastern Afghanistan.Temple complex
Tapa Skandar 31 km north of Kabul.Remains of settlement dating to the second half of the first millennium AD. Marble statue of Shiva and his wife Parvati.
Tapa Sadr near Ghazni.Statue of the Parinivana Buddha (Buddha lying down at the end of his cycle of rebirths).8th century AD
GardezŚāradā script engraved on a marble statue of Indian elephant deity Ganesh.8th century AD
Nava Vihara Balkh
Airtam Near TermezA stone slab with a Bactrian inscription and a carved image of Shiva.
Tepe Sardar, GhazniLarge Buddhist monastery complexThe main Stupa is surrounded by many miniature stupas and shrines, ornamented with clay bas reliefs. There were several colossal statues of the Buddha, included one seated and of the Buddha in Nirvana. In one shrine which is in the Hindu style a clay sculpture of Durga slaying a buffalo-demon was found.
Homay Qala in GhazniBuddhist Cave Complex at Homay Qalay.
Tepe Sardar GhazniDurga clay – 10th Century.10th Century AD. The cult of Durga was popularised during the Sahi period as several images of this deity are found in Afghanistan.
VariousCoins of the Shahi rulers of Panjab and Afghanistan have been found.650-1000 AD
These coins were issued from at least eight mint towns, which suggests a wider range for their circulation
Buddhas of BamyanBamyan Province
Hazarajat region
Believed to be built in 507 AD, the larger in 554 AD
Khair Khana KabulHindu Temple, two marble statues of Shiva
BasawalBasawal is the site of a Buddhist cave temple complex in eastern Afghanistan. The caves, 150 in all, are partly hewn out in two rows and arranged in seven groups, which presumably corre­spond to the seven monastic institutions of Buddhist times.
Buddhist cave complex at Homay Qala

Table of pre-Islamic dynasties of Afghanistan

Kabul ShahiClosing years of the 10th and the early 11th century. Jayapala was defeated by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. in 1013 Kabul’s last Shahi ruler
By the mid ninth century the whole region from the fortress city of Kabul to at least Udhabanadpura (Waihind or Ohind) in the East was held by the dynasty called by later writers the Shahis. In addition to the natural products of the Gandhara region, the Shahi kings drew revenue from the constant caravan trade passing through their dominions.
Gandhara (eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan) was overrun by SultanMahmud of Ghazni. Kabul valley
ZunbilsThe Zunbils were finally deposed by Ya’qub Saffari in 870 AD, founder of the Saffarid dynasty in Zaranj.Zabulistan (southern Afghanistan).

Islamic conquest of Afghanistan

The region around Herat Province became Islamized in 642 AD, during the end of Muslim conquest of Persia. In 653-4 AD, General Abdur Rahman bin Samara arrived from Zaranj to the Zunbil capital Zamindawar with an army of around 6,000 Arab Muslims. The General “broke of a hand of the idol and plucked out the rubies which were its eyes in order to persuade the Marzbān of Sīstān of the god’s worthlessness.” He explained to the worshippers of the solar deity, “my intention was to show you that this idol can do neither any harm nor good.” The people of southern Afghanistan began accepting Islam from this date onward. The Arabs then proceeded to Ghazni and Kabul to persuade the Buddhist Shahi rulers. However, most historians claim that the rulers of Ghazni and Kabul remained non-Muslim. There is no information on the number of converts although the Arabs unsuccessfully continued their missions of invading the land to spread Islam for the next 200 or so years. It was in 870 AD when Ya’qub bin Laith as-Saffar who conquered Afghanistan by establishing Muslim governors throughout the provinces.

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