Essay on the Impact of Arabs on Indian social system



When the Arabs settled in Sindh, they were over­whelmed by the ability of the Indians. The nomads of the Arabian desert came into contact with the Indo-Aryan civilisation, which from all points of view politically, economically and intellectually had reached a far higher plane than their own.

According to Havell, the Arab shaikhs in Sindh got their first lessons in practical statecraft from Brahman officials.

All those scientific elements which made the Arabs famous in Europe were transmitted from India. The Arabic name for figures, Hindsa, points to its Indian origin: the Arabic numerals' were after all from India and the Arabs learnt the first prin­ciples of scientific astronomy from there. Brahman and Buddhist monks imparted their knowledge of various arts and sciences to the Arabs, who in turn distributed it all over Europe. During the Khilafat of Mansur in the eighth century, Arab scholars carried with them the Brahma Siddhanta and Khanda Khanduka of Brahma Gupta to Baghdad and these were translated into Arabic. Harun-Al-Rashid had a number of Indian pandits in his Baghdad court. Hindu physicians taught medicine and organised and helped in running hospitals in Baghdad.

The Arabs did not make any permanent impact on Indian social system. However, it would be wrong to say that the Arabs' Sindh conquest did not make any impact at all on the Indian society. Its first impact was that it laid the foundation of Islam in India. The formal slavery system was introduced into India by the Arabs. The earliest Muslim settlements in India were established during Arab rule.

Sanskrit works on astronomy and medicine were translated into Arabic. The Quran was trans­lated into Sindhi. Arab life was adjusted to Sindhi pattern.

The Arab rule in Sindh strengthened Arab trade and encouraged move Arabs to settle down on the east coast.

In the final reckoning, the Arab conquest" was a mere episode in the history of India and affected only a small portion of the fringe of that vast country." Its legacy lies in the "debris of ancient buildings which proclaimed to the world the van­dalism of the destroyer or a few settlements of a few Muslim families...."