André Wink

Dutch historian (born 1953)

André Wink is an emeritus professor of history at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is known for his studies on India and the Indian Ocean area, particularly over the medieval and early modern age (700 to 1800 CE).

Quotes edit

Al-Hind, The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Volume 1 edit

  • It is a fact of immense significance that whereas in the making of Europe the conquests of Islam played the role of a powerfully effective but mostly external factor, in the East the expansion of Islam went on for more than a millennium and here, in South and large parts of Southeast Asia the association with Islam became so intimate that, as a result, we find an Indo-Islamic pattern of society and culture. (Introduction)
  • In summary, we find an interrelated set of significant changes occurr­ing in the eleventh and twelfth centuries on a global scale. With the rise of Europe, the expansion of Islam into North India, and the upsurge of China, the economic supremacy of the Middle-Eastern caliphate was gradually reduced.
    • p57
  • But in the delta region of Sind people were actively engaged in agri­culture. Hiuen Tsang and Ibn Khordadbhih recorded that wheat and millet were produced here, apart from salt.
    • p 170

Al-Hind, The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Volume 2 edit

  • It is in this direction, probably, that we have to look for an answer to the question why Buddhism disappeared, in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, from its homeland in the South-Asian subcontinent, while being successfully disseminated to the peasant societies of mainland Southeast Asia. When one turns to the secondary literature on Buddhism one finds mere hints of an explanation of this issue. If it is addressed somewhat more systematically, it usually amounts to one or another version of the theory that since Buddhism at one time prevailed only in those areas which later converted to Islam, and since there are no Buddhists left in these areas, we must deduce that the Buddhists converted to Islam. Thus it is most often observed that Buddhism disappeared from those parts of South and Southeast Asia which were overrun by Muslim armies in the medieval period and hence-forward became subject to Islamic rule. Mass conversion of Buddhists to Islam in Sind and Bengal, it is then alleged, occurred due to political pressure or because Buddhists saw in Islam a means to escape from the Hindu caste system and brahmanical oppression. This, we are told, is also the reason why Buddhism survived in areas which did not suffer the largely 'destructive' Islamic impact: the Himalayas and beyond, Sri Lanka, mainland Southeast Asia (but not Indonesia, which was conquered by indigenous Islamic rulers).
    • 5-7
  • By the time that the Turko-Islamic conquerors arrived in North India, in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, Buddhism was no longer a religion of a floating population of itinerant monks but had become institutionalized in monasteries, which, supported by royal endowments of land as well as by donations from the mercantile communities, tended to become large academically oriented centres with permanent residents, vulnerable to outside attack, but still aloof from the rural masses (which only adopted random cultic elements from the religion). What happened, then, during the Islamic conquest, is that the academic (and soteriological / philosophical) tradition of Buddhism was uprooted in India itself, but replaced, outside the orbit of Muslim rule, by a variety of regional forms of Buddhism.
    • 5-7
  • The first conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing analysis is that ecology was a major factor determining the progress and character of the Islamic conquest of al-Hind. For one thing, the subcontinent was unsuitable for Mongol-style nomadism on account of the absence of sufficient good pasture land. With the Mongols failing to penetrate beyond its western periphery, the Indian subcontinent cannot really be said to have experienced a 'nomadic conquest' at all. In this respect the thirteenth-century situation in the north was unlike the Iranian plateau, where Mongol conquest was followed by extensive nomadization and destruction of agriculture.
    • Al-Hind-The-Making-of-the-Indo-Islamic-World-Vol-2-The-Slave-Kings-and-the-Islamic-Conquest-11th-13th-Centuries, 381 ff
  • We have argued that, in contrast to Iran and China, in al-Hind such a merger of the frontier world of nomadic mobility and long- distance trade on the one hand and settled agriculture on the other did occur in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Secondly, that this merger brought about a new productive and mercantile dynamism (without any serious deleterious impact on population density), the effects of which deepened and broadened in the subsequent centuries. This is not to deny that the Muslim- Turkish conquest of Hind was quite violent at times, and could be disruptive in some areas as well. It has not been our intention to 'sanitize' the narrative of Hindu-Muslim encounter in these centuries of invasion and extensive raiding. Nor has it been our intention to deny that in many respects the Muslim conquest was a major challenge to the integrity of Indian culture. But the Turkish-led Muslim armies that conquered North India in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries were generally small compared to those of the Mongols operating elsewhere in Eurasia; nor did a vast influx of nomads follow in their wake, unlike in Iran or parts of China.
    • Al-Hind-The-Making-of-the-Indo-Islamic-World-Vol-2-The-Slave-Kings-and-the-Islamic-Conquest-11th-13th-Centuries, 381 ff

Al-Hind, The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Volume 3 edit

  • If institutional indeterminacy pervaded the post-nomadic empires of Hind, the peripatetic exercise of power was another feature which they all seem to have shared. Muhammad bin Tughluq spent the greater part of his life in military camps. Most other rulers were often on campaign, sometimes for one or two years, or more, particularly in the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when com munications could be broken off with the capital for months or a whole year. Firuz Shah Tughluq stayed away on a campaign to Bengal and Orissa for two years and seven months, losing his way on the return journey through jungles and mountains, when for six months there was no news from him and the viceregent had great difficulty keeping things under control. The same Sultan got lost in the Rann of Cutch, and was again cut off from Delhi for six months, altogether spending two-and-a-half years on the trip, while the viceregent pretended he had good news.

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