Understanding Jihad

Probably the most in-depth analysis of Islamic literature and doctrinal foundation of Jihad, available online. A comprehensive proof for the fact is that it is central doctrine to all mainstream forms of Islam today, and not just something invented by the Wahhabis. A very interesting read to get a sense of perspective of the "war on terror", and its inherently religious nature.
An important historical watershed in the history of 'holy war' in the subcontinent, according to historian William Dalrymple, is the Mutiny of 1857. Here is an excerpt from an Outlook article by him, where he presents a historical account with different emphases than a typical textbook account.

Quote:Moreover, what we have found in the Mutiny Papers has remarkable resonance with the political situation today: for as far as the Indian participants were concerned, the Rising was overwhelmingly a war of religion, looked upon as a defensive action against the rapid inroads missionaries and Christianity were making in India, as well as a more generalised fight for freedom from foreign domination. As far as the Indian participants of the Rising articulated their motives, they were above all resisting a move by the Company to impose Christianity and Christian laws on India—something many Evangelical Englishmen were indeed contemplating. As the sepoys told Zafar on May 11, 1857, "we have joined hands to protect our religion and our faith". Later they stood in Chandni Chowk, the main street of Old Delhi, and asked people: "Brothers: are you with those of the faith?" British men who had converted to Islam—and there were a surprising number of those in Delhi—were not hurt; but Indians who had converted to Christianity were cut down immediately. It is highly significant that the Urdu sources usually refer to the British not as angrez (the English) or as goras (Whites) or even firangis but instead almost always as kafirs (infidels) and nasrani (Christians).

Although the great majority of the sepoys were Hindus, in Delhi a flag of jihad was raised in the principal mosque, and many of the insurgents described themselves as mujahideen, ghazis and jihadis. Indeed, by the end of the siege, after a significant proportion of the sepoys had melted away, unpaid, hungry and dispirited, the proportion of jihadis in Delhi grew to be about a quarter of the total fighting force, and included a regiment of "suicide ghazis" from Gwalior who had vowed never to eat again and to fight until they met death—"for those who have come to die have no need for food". One of the causes of unrest, according to one Delhi source, was that "the British had closed the madrasas". These were words which had no resonance to the historians of the 1960s. Now, sadly, in the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7 they are words we understand all too well, and words like jihad scream out of the dusty pages of the source manuscripts, demanding attention.
Quote:It is highly significant that the Urdu sources usually refer to the British not as angrez (the English) or as goras (Whites) or even firangis but instead almost always as kafirs (infidels) and nasrani (Christians

That, sadly was the reality of our struggle for independence.
Religion, was a prime tool to mobilize the people to resist the British. In Islamic language, this translated to Jihad, which is the war between Muslims and the Kaffir, and doesn't differentiate between their flavours.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malabar_Rebellion is just one such example.

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