Islam arrived in the Indian subcontinent with the Umayyad Caliphate’s conquest of Sind (711). From 1206, Muslim rule was extended over the whole of northern India by the Delhi Sultanate and central India by the Deccan Sultanates, then unified under the Mughals in the 16th century. However, these rulers were generally content to preside over a Hindu peasantry without enforcing conversion. Mass conversion did occur, benignly, through the missionary Mir Sayyad Ali in Kashmir, and Sufi-led settlement of the Bengal Delta under the Mughals. However, sectarian violence and persecution was not uncommon; the first Mughal ruler, Babur, left ‘towers of skulls’ of Hindu and Sikh ‘pagans’, while Aurangzeb destroyed an estimated 60,000 Hindu temples. Tipu, the Muslim sultan of Mysore (1782–99), when not firing his patent iron-cased rockets at British troops, was an equal opportunities oppressor, killing, mutilating or forcibly converting both Catholics and Hindus.
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