Every now and then, the anti-Hindu gang accuses the Hindutvavadis of tampering with India’s history, more so since the BJP came into power in 2014. To prove their claim, they cherry pick fringe historians and cite their works as examples of Hindutva historiography.
One such fringe historian often weaponized by the anti-Hindu gang is Purushottam Nagesh Oak (1917-2007), a freedom fighter who served in the Indian National Army of Subhash Chandra Bose. Oak’s outlandish claims like, “Taj Mahal was a Shiva temple,” “Vatican city is Veda Vatika,” “Christianity is Krishna-Neeti” etc. are often misrepresented as specimens of Hindutva historiography by the anti-Hindu gang.
However, the truth is that P.N. Oak and his claims were never taken seriously by Hindutva historians or writers. They have repeatedly warned Hindus to be wary of the likes of Oak. Sitaram Goel, the father of modern nationalist historiography has called Oak “the greatest disaster for Hindu scholarship”. Similarly, Dr Koenraad Elst, a Belgian Indologist who is often labelled by the Marxists as “Hindutva cheerleader” has, on numerous occasions, rubbished PN Oak’s claims as figments of imagination.
As Sitaram Goel remarked, Oak has indeed proven to be a disaster for Hindu history. Any new fact or interpretation of history that challenges the mainstream narrative established by Marxist historians is dismissed as a product of Oak’s school of thought.
In a 13-page pamphlet titled “Was Kaaba a Hindu Temple?” Oak claimed that the Islamic pilgrimage centre of Kaaba was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This claim often features in articles mocking Hindutva historiography by falsely associating Oak and his bizarre claims with Hindutva. Although at the first glance this claim might look just as outlandish as Oak’s other pseudo-historical claims, it turns out that there is some truth to it.
History of Kaaba:-
Islamic lore claims that Kaaba was the first mosque and it was built by Abraham on Allah’s instruction. However, there is no evidence to support this claim.
In fact, Kaaba was a temple, not a Hindu one but an Arab pagan one, prior to the rise of Islam. It housed several idols of pre-Islamic pagan deities of Arabia. But, in the early 7th century, an army of early Muslims led by Prophet Muhammad attacked the city of Mecca and captured the Kaaba. When the Prophet entered Mecca on the day of the Conquest, there were 360 idols around the Kaaba. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 583 records
The Prophet started striking them with a stick he had in his hand and was saying, “Truth has come and Falsehood has Vanished.. (Qur’an 17:81)”
Ancient Hindu Connection:-
Although, unlike what Oak claimed, Kaaba was neither a Hindu temple, nor was it dedicated to Lord Shiva, but the ancient Hindus and pre-Islamic pagans of Arabia have a lot in common. The Sabaeans of south Arabia had trade relations with India.
Moreover, one of their favourite deities called Baal was represented as a Shivalingam. In The Story of Civilization I: OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE, page 309, historian Will Durant writes,
“Baal, symbolised in conical upright stones much like the Linga of the Hindus, was venerated by some of the Hebrews as the male principle of reproduction, the husband of the land that he fertilized”
The Muslim historian, Firishta, records that Brahmans of India visited pre-Islamic Kaaba to pay homage to the pagan deities. In his work, Tarikh-i-Firishta, he writes “Before the advent of Islam, the Brahmans of India were always going on pilgrimage to the Kaaba, for the worship of the idols there.”
In the English translation of Tarikh-i-Firishta, History of the rise of Mahomedan power in India, Vol IV, p. 234, Lt. Col. John Briggs, an East India Company officer and historian, writes,
“Hindoo pilgrims resorted to Mecca and Egypt for the purpose of paying adoration to the idols, to which they looked with utmost veneration.”
Further, in the footnotes, he remarks “The subject is full of interest, opens an extensive field of investigation for the Oriental antiquary, as leading to the development of the history of a period at which India and Egypt were closely connected.”
Although, as said earlier, Kaaba was not a Hindu temple, but in the light of the facts presented so far, it is possible that the ancient Hindus, who visited Kaaba during the pre-Islamic times, might have viewed the conical stylization of the Baal as Shivalinga. And, as Briggs noted over a century ago, this glorious episode of the cultural contact between the ancient Hindus and pagan Arabs is still open to enquiry. Many unpleasant facts regarding the iconoclasm of Islam are likely to surface in such an enquiry.
Thus, the Islamophilic anti-Hindu historians of India will leave no stone un-turned to resist it. Even a slight mention of any connection between ancient Hindus and pre-Islamic pagans of Arabia will immediately be labelled as a product of Oak’s school of thought. The mainstream media and academia are replete with such people. Under such circumstances, the truth about the ancient Hindu connection with pre-Islamic Arabia might always remain obscure.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.