Girish Shahane: Misguiding about Lonely Planet India Book

October 26, 2010

One Girish Shahane (GS) asserts that the highly recommended and commonly used travel guide, Lonely Planet (LP) is islamophobic. Mr. Shahane has tried to buttress this assertion by arguments all of which turn out to be facile. GS comes up with numerous farcical arguments, which are captured below:

For starter, GS argues, LP is islamophobic because he says LP mentions Ahmad Shah Durani as a Mughal, Ala-ud-din Khilji as Pakthun.

Durrani was, of course, not a Mughal at all. But hey, these guys are all Muslims, right? Mughal, Turk, Afghan, big difference. That attitude is probably why Allaudin Khilji is wrongly labelled a Pathan.

Historian R C Majumdar refers to contemporary historian Zia-u-din Barni referring to Khiljis as non-Turks (Afghan Pathans).  There  is a contrary opinion by Major Raverty that cites Khiljis as Turks.  H A Rose and John Alfred Gray among others assert Khiljis are Ghilzai Pathans.

That said, it is indeed more than a tad rich to project minor denominational errors, even if present, as examples of deliberate islamophobia.

Girish Shahane takes objection to Padmini’s Jauhar citation in LP Travel Guide.

The great poet and mystic Amir Khusro, who chronicled Khilji’s campaign, made no mention of any Padmini. The story was dreamt up much later

If Girish Shahane intended to disprove historic persona of Padmini, he has to do better. A convincing case can not be made by arguing that Xyz did not refer to it.  The legend of Padmini in many ways is allegorical and is a manifestation of courage by virtuous Rajput Queens and valiant Rajput people. Jauhar, an outcome of muslim invasion was an ugly reality that Rajput women of those days faced. Allaudin Khilji was not only a perpetrator of serious regicide but also someone who coveted others’ wives an inexcusable crime in native Indian tradition.

Would Girish Shahane take objection to arabian fables circulated in books on Jerusalem like mohummad taking a winged horse for flight to Jerusalem or jesus coming out of dead. One would suspect he would not. Read the rest of this entry »