How did relations between Hindus and Muslims evolve over the centuries following Mohammad bin Qasim’s invasion of Sind in 711 AD? Did the invaders have just imperial motives? Were they interested only in India’s phenomenal wealth, and not in bringing the vanquished under the flag of Islam by sword? These are questions that are important for understanding what led to the creation of Pakistan, and the complex relationship between Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent.
The Hindu-Muslim relationship is a complicated one, with interwoven layers of cooperation and confrontation. The secularists, which include communists of various hues, have repeatedly tried to simplify the phenomenon. In the process, the communists supported Jinnah’s demand for a theocratic Pakistan and have twisted history by selectively picking incidents and details to paint a rosy picture of Hindu-Muslim relations before the advent of the British.