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Conversion of Jains to Islam in Kerala

Conversion of Jains to Islam in Kerala
Submitted by abafna on Thursday, July 17, 2008 - 12:47

Two well known academicians of Kerala - Prof KM Bahauddin, former pro-vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim and Osmania universities, and Dr MS Jayaprakash, professor of history at Kollam - throw some deep insights into the dark history of India......
Prof. Bahauddin recalls the strong reasons to believe that a large section of Jains had embraced Islam: 'The spread of Islam in Tamilnadu can be considered in three or four stages. Islam spread in Kerala and Tamilnadu when Jainism was under pressure (650-750 AD). The new religion was received without resistance.. Since Islam considers every human being with equality Jainism and Buddhism had no conflict with it. When Muhammad ibn Al-Qasim attacked Sindh, the Buddhists supported him because they were facing
annihilation at that time. A similar situation was prevailing in South India during 650-750 AD.. Muslims in Tamilnadu are called Anchuvanthar, Labba (teacher),Rauthar, Marakar (sailor) or Jonakan (Yavankan). TheAnchuvanam is the guild of traders and groups of
artisans. The Muslim mohallas of 'Anchuvan Vamsagar','Anchuvanathar', etc. are scattered all over Tamilnadu
and seem to be the en bloc conversion of Jain guilds engaged in different activities, especially weaving.
Those who ran away from Tamilnadu settled down in Sravanabalagola and Gomatheswaram in Karnataka. And,those who could not leave due to their economic interests converted to Islam. If we analyze the body structure, food, language, dress, ornaments, customs and habits of Anchuvanthar, it could be see that those are a continuation of Jain way of living and customs. Prof. Bahauddin recounts the spread of Jainism and Buddhism in Kerala, thus: 'Jainism spread in North Kerala around 200 BC. The Jain architectural remains in Canara and Malabar are not available anywhere else in South of Nepal. While Jainism entered North Kerala
via Mangalore, Salem, Coimbatore and Wayanad, it entered Southern Kerala from Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari,Nagercoil, Chitharal, etc. The hill near Anamala,which was an important Jain centre, is still called
'Jain Durgam'. The close-by Kurumala was also a Jain centre. From Anamala through Munnar, Devikulam,Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor, etc. they reached Neryamangalam, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and other places. The 'Kallil Kshetram' in Perumbavoor is an
important Jain monument as also the 'Jainmedu' in Vadakethara village of Palakkad district. Kerala's cave temples at Chitharal, Kallil, Trikur,Erunilamkode (Thrissur district) and Thiruveghapuram
(Palakkad district) were constructed during the period of Jain King Mahendra Verman-I (610-640 AD). Temple records of Rameswaram, Sucheendram, Poothadi (Wayanad), Keenalur (Kozhicode) , etc. show that they were part of 'Kunavai Koottam' during 10-11th
centuries. 'Koottam' is the place of living for Jain Sanyasis. Temple records show that all these present-day Hindu temples were Jain religious places till 11th century. Place names with Kallu, Poothan,
Aathan, Kotha, Palli, Ambalam, etc. were all Jain centres. Spread all over Kerala, names of these places show that Buddhism and Jainism were widespread. The famous Kalpathi in Palakkad district was a
Buddhist-Jain centre. The 'Ratholsavam' there is akin to the 'Kettukazhcha' of Buddhists. The present Bhagavati temples were also Jain temples. The group,'Adikal', had a prominent position among Jains whobecame 'Pisharadi' after absorption of Jainism in Kerala
for more at do visit my web site at http://jainism.co.nr

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