Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them

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Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them
Author Sita Ram Goel
Arun Shourie
Harsh Narain
Jay Dubashi
Ram Swarup
Country India
Language English
Subject Hinduism
Genre Non-fiction
Publication date
ISBN ISBN 81-85990-49-2 (Volume 1)
ISBN 81-85990-03-4 (Volume 2)
OCLC 41002522
LC Class DS422.C64 H562 1998

Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them is a two-volume book by Sita Ram Goel, Arun Shourie, Harsh Narain, Jay Dubashi and Ram Swarup. The first volume was published in the Spring of 1990.

The first volume includes a list of 2,000 mosques that it is claimed were built on Hindu temples, which, it is asserted, is based primarily on the books of Muslim historians of the period or inscriptions found on mosques. The second volume excerpts from medieval histories and chronicles and from inscriptions concerning the destruction of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples. The authors claim that the material presented in the book as "the tip of an iceberg".

The book contains chapters about the Ayodhya debate. The appendix of the first volume contains a list of temple-destructions and atrocities that the authors claim took place in Bangladesh in 1989. The book also criticizes Marxist historians, and one of the appendices of the second volume includes a questionnaire for "Marxist professors", one of which the authors sent to well-known Indian historian Romila Thapar.

In August 1990, while releasing the book "Hindu Temples – What Happened To Them", Bharatiya Janta Party leader L. K. Advani chided Goel for using "strong language".[1] There were proposals in November 1990 in Uttar Pradesh to ban the book.[2]


Koenraad Elst's book Negationism in India – Concealing the Record of Islam contains a lengthy review of the book. Koenraad Elst claimed that "None of the negationist historians has come forward with a reply or with the announcement that a mistake has been discovered in Mr. Goel's list of monuments of Islamic fanaticism. Manini Chatterjee, reviewer for The Telegraph, could do no more than calling it a "very bad book".[3] And Elst further claimed: "Of the hundreds of secularist historians who have signed statements denouncing "communal history distortion", not a single one has been able to challenge even one of the 2000 claims in the list."[4]

Cynthia Talbot in 1995 claimed that Goel's list of destroyed temples is "greatly inflated", but also called for a systematic and unbiased study of the subject, without which it is very difficult to gauge the extent of damage wrought on Indian temples.[5] Cynthia Talbot noted that in the decades after 1565, temple desecration were on the rise in Andhra Pradesh, which is in accord with the dates of temple destructed provided by Goel's list (in Goel's chapter "Let the Mute Witness speak"). Reflecting on Goel's list, Talbot states: "Five date from the fourteenth century (phase one), six come from phase two, and nineteen date from 1565 to 1650 CE (phase three). The remaining thirty or so cases stem from the century after 1650, with a notable bunching of incidents in the late 1600s, when the Mughal empire was absorbing the former Qutb Shahi kingdom of Golconda."[6]

Manini Chatterjee, in a review in the Calcutta Telegraph, called Goel's book a "very bad book".[7] Richard Eaton also criticized the book.[8] Eaton discussed one of the cases in Goel's list of destroyed temples: "an inscription dated 1455, found over the doorway of a tomb-shrine in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh" which mentions "the destruction of a Hindu temple by one Abdullah Shah Changal during the reign of Raja Bhoja, a renowned Paramara king who had ruled over the region from 1010 to 1053". Eaton says that the inscription is "hardly contemporary" and "presents a richly textured legend elaborated over many generations of oral transmission until 1455". He acknowledges that "Goel does, however, consider it more likely that the event took place during the reign of Raja Bhoja II in the late thirteenth century rather than during that of Raja Bhoja I in the eleventh century." Richard Eaton thinks that "we cannot know with certainty" if the temple destruction did take place, which substantiates Elst's charge of negationism against certain scholars.[9] Eaton also claimed that Goel has used "selective translations of premodem Persian chronicles, together with a selective use of epigraphic data".[10] According to Vimal Yogi Tiwari, such an historical assessment as in Goel's book "Hindu Temples" has by and large been missing in India.[11]

Goel's book also includes an exchange of comments between Romila Thapar and Goel.[12] Romila Thapar has criticized Goel, claiming that he does not understand how to use historical sources, without actually refuting any of the facts presented by Goel.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goel, Sita Ram, "How I became a Hindu", Chapter 9
  2. ^ "Ayodhya and After - Chapter 12 - Book Banning". Koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  3. ^ "Negationism In India - Chapter Three - Exposing And Refuting Negationism". Koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  4. ^ "Ban this Book". Voiceofdharma.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  5. ^ Cynthia Talbot. Inscribing the Other,Inscribing the Self:Hindu-Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol.37, No.4 (Oct. 1995).
  6. ^ Cynthia Talbot. Inscribing the Other,Inscribing the Self:Hindu-Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol.37,No.4 (Oct. 1995).
  7. ^ Manini Chatterjee, review in the Calcutta Telegraph (ca. 30-1-1991). Koenraad Elst Who is a Hindu? (2001)
  8. ^ Richard Eaton: "Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states", Essays on Islam and Indian History. Chapter Six
  9. ^ Richard Eaton: "Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states", Essays on Islam and Indian History. Chapter Six
  10. ^ Richard Eaton: "Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states", Essays on Islam and Indian History. Chapter Six
  11. ^ Review by Vimal Yogi Tiwari in the Pioneer. Elst, Koenraad, Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  12. ^ Appendix 4 of "Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them"
  13. ^ Romila Thapar et al.: Communalism in the Waiting of Indian History, People's Publishing House, Delhi 1987 (1969), pp. 15–16, and repeated in her letter to Mr. Manish Tayal (UK), 7-2-1999, concerning Arun Shourie: Eminent Historians, ASA, Delhi 1998. Manish Tayal: "Romila Thapar's reply to 'Eminent Historians'", 16-2-1999. "Koenraad Elst Who is a Hindu? (2001)

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