CHAPTER IX
Turks and Afghans

The main impact of Islam upon India was delivered by the Turks. The Arabs had sent traders to Malabar and soldiers to Sind, but there their influence stopped. It was as significant for India that Islam was introduced by Turks instead of Arabs as that later the West was introduced by the British instead of the French. In both cases there was a racial and a religio-cultural element involved; in both cases the content of the former was greatly modified by the nature of the latter. India would be a different place today if the French (or some other nation) had introduced the West instead of the British; so would it have been if there had been an Arab empire instead of a Turkish in India. We should always remember that the first two centuries of Muslim India was the period of the Turkish empire in India. Indeed, it could more appropriately be labeled the Indo-Turkish period than given the dynastic labels which are usual. In following this period with understanding, the Turkish element is as important as the Islamic.

Who then were the Turks and what were their characteristics? They were one more of the races which have periodically "swarmed" from the great racial hive of central Asia. Their origin is obscure, and so is their racial composition. There has been much intermixture with Mongolian types and their language and literature are influenced by the same source, but as a whole they were more Aryan than Mongol. They were grouped in tribes that roamed the steppes like others before them. Within the steppes themselves tribes constantly rose and fell without record or outside knowledge. Tribes would dissolve and coalesce, be overcome or subjugate others. It was in this process that the intermixture took place which puzzles ethnologists. The result was seen when the tribes impinged upon civilization, but the why or wherefore is unknown. So, for the most part, are the reasons for the swarming of the tribes themselves.

The Turkish tribes in their nomadic state were a restless, vigorous,

-102-

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