In the theory and practice of interstate relations there were major contrasts between Hindus and Muslims. Since the Later Vedic period the former had looked on warfare as a legitimate exercise of power and on battle as good in it- self, if fought according to righteous traditions and rules of combat. Notwith- standing Aśoka's exhortations to nonviolence and despite the pacific tendencies of Buddhism and Jainism, strife was common, increasing in frequency from the 8th to the 12th century, especially in the second half of that period, owing to the multiplicity of regional and local kingdoms. A humane and chivalrous ethic, however, discouraged such ruthless aspects of war as the slaughter of noncom- batants and captives, the sacking of cities, and the wanton destruction of prop- erty. Further, victory did not normally result in complete annexation of the con- quered realm or involve integration and restructuring of political and economic institutions. Hindu ideology thus encouraged empire-building yet inhibited de- velopments that might lead to a stable, long-lasting imperial system. The failure of Hindu resistance to the Muslims, who were not restrained by dharmic tradi- tions and rules of war, was in no small measure due to the Hindus' conservative military system. Additionally, their strategy and tactics were outmoded, and their weapons, armor, and horses were inferior to those of their opponents. Finally, their political system made it difficult to forge a durable concert of powers for the purpose of common defense. Despite the foretaste of Muslim hostilities pro- vided by Mahmūd of Ghaznī, the Hindus failed to recognize the very existence of a Turkish menace from the northwest. For their part, the Turks, animated by the pursuit of wealth and territory and the sense of religious mission, showed a willingness to retain those features of the Indian political system that contrib- uted to the consolidation of their power.
Though the impact of Islam on Hinduism was at first relatively slight, its effect on South Asian Buddhism was profound. Some of the principal areas of Buddhist strength were precisely those that fell early to Islam. Elsewhere, a by-product of the raids into northern India was the destruction of a number of important Bud- dhist monasteries, as far east as Nālandā, around which the religion was orga- nized. South Asian Buddhism, already in decline in the face of a vigorous revival of Brahmanical Hinduism, never recovered from these blows.
Socially and religiously, the differences between the Islamic tradition and that of Hinduism were many and deep. Islam, a revealed and prophetic religion, seeks through proselytism to create a world community of the faithful (Ummah). Within that essentially egalitarian community, a sense of cohesion and self- consciousness are fostered by emphasis not only on a single deity (Allah), but also on a single prophetic teacher (Muhammad) and a single book (Qur'ān). Hinduism, however, diverges strikingly from Islam in all the foregoing particu- lars, being highly assimilative and far more complex. The two world views could not easily be reconciled, and neither community, it may be said, ever fully under- stood the other. Hence, in contrast to the host of divergent regional interests within South Asia, the period under review witnessed the early stages of a new and enduring confrontation on a much larger regional scale—namely, that be- tween the indigenous, primarily Hindu civilization of India as a whole and the exogenous and rapidly expanding civilization of Islam.
Yet another noteworthy difference between the indigenous and the Islamic cultural traditions, one that is particularly germane from our perspective, lies in the well-developed sense of history and geography the latter displays. As a result we are provided with a new source of knowledge about South Asia and its civili- zation. Plate IV.3 provides examples of this new knowledge, including maps of the time. By far the most impressive single example of this expansion of knowl- edge is found in the work of al-Bīrūnī. The impact of the Islamic civilization upon the Indic at a time when the former was achieving the apogee of its vigor and creativeness is important from a historiographic perspective; for some his- torians the arrival of Islam marks a new period, not so much because of the ap- pearance of Muslim states as because there is now a body of chronicles and other sources different from those of previous periods in genre, style, and language.
The period from the 8th to the 12th century witnessed an intensification of India's contacts not only with Islam to the west, but also, as is made evident by plate IV.6, with Southeast Asia. Co&lline;a rulers in particular maintained close con- tacts with societies of Southeast Asia, some obviously friendly and others not. Rājarāja I's famous "Larger Leiden" copper-plate inscription records the con- struction of a Buddhist vihāra at Nagapa&ttod;&ttod;i&ntod;am, the major Co&lline;a port. This Cūdā- ma&ntod;i Vihāra was built by the Śailendra king Śrī Māravijayottu&ndot;gavarman, Lord of Śrī Vi&stod;aya (Śrīvijaya) and Ka&ttod;āha (modern Kedah) in 1006, with the assent and cooperation of Rājarāja. In 1025, in the reign of Rājarāja's successor, Rā- jendra, the Tiruvāla&ndot;gā&dtod;u copper plates proclaim the conquest of Ka&ttod;āha and the seizure of the capital city of Śrīvijaya. Trade appears to have been the principal interest of the Co&lline;as in Southeast Asia, though, as with all Hindu kingdoms of the time, plunder would also have been a factor; both trade and plunder may have inspired the Co&lline;a expedition against the maritime power of Śrīvijaya.
But the relationship between South Asia and Southeast Asia in these centuries was dominantly cultural rather than political. The fundamental elements of the Hindu sacral kingship were established throughout Southeast Asia in the form of divine kingship, elaborated with dramatic power in the Sanskrit epics the Mahā- bhārata and the Ramāyā&ntod;a. Here the king is perceived as a divine incarnation of
Within South Asia itself, the theme of regionalism during the half-millennium under review is imperfectly realized in the political maps of section IV, which must be supplemented by cartographic representations relating to the major reli- gious movements and artistic productions of the age. Plate IV.4 locates the sites of major artistic remains and centers of religious learning, training, and dissemi- nation. The level of generalization for the subcontinent as a whole (map (a)) is very great, but this map helps to identify major core areas of religious and cul- tural development. Taken to a larger scale (in enlargements A, B, and C), the map demonstrates certain of the complexities. It is seen that there was a tendency for certain centers to develop omnibus qualities representing a variety of tradi- tions—religious and cultural—at the same time. As the scale is increased, the linkages among centers become clearer, as do those between centers and their hinterlands. The centers and the networks of relations for which they provide spatial foci constitute the anatomy of the civilization of South Asia during this vital postclassical age. Plate IV.5 presents a sampling of representative artistic monuments of the period, in which the manifold regional expressions of the spirit of the age are made concrete.
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