Barq girti hai to bechare Mussalmanon par
(If lightning strikes, it’s on the beleaguered Muslims)
It is the Muslim, the vanquisher of generations of past Hindus, who will be the great adversary of the new Hindu. This is the concluding note and message of Bankim Chandra (1838-94) in Anandmath. He looked upon medieval India as a period of bondage, saw in Islam a quest for power and glory, and found its followers devoid of spiritual and ethical qualities, and characterised by irrationality, bigotry, deviousness, sensuality, and immorality. In his last novel, the female warrior gains the trappings of a violent mother goddess in the climactic scene, where she urges the killings of Muslims. This kind of rhetoric is often accompanied by very harsh, even coarse, language that popularised the use of mlecchas, a term of abuse. While we know that this particular language inflected the rhetoric and the aspirations of violent Hindu communalism of the next century, we can only guess its psychological impact on those for whom the term was frequently used.