Modern India has preference for lighter skin. This is blamed on Aryan invasion. But if that invasion never happened, then where did the prejudice for darker skin come from? We can let Rumi explain.
So if Rumi hated Hindus, Jews and those of darker skin where did his hate come from? Before European involvement, the African slave trade was pioneered by Islamic empires. Indeed slaves known as Zanj were made to work on sugar plantations in Iraq.
Arabs sold slaves – Malcolm X (1959).
If my colour were pink, women would love me But the Lord has marred me with blackness – Suhaym (660 AD).
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier visited Mughal India during the reign of Shah Jahan in the seventeenth century. He made this observation on the ruling class: They were called Moguls, that is, white of complexion . . . the natives being all brown or olive colour.
The physician François Bernier also noted the skin colour of the ruling elite: …to be considered a Mogol, it is enough is a foreigner have a white face and profess Mahometanism.
Italian traveller Niccolao Manucci said that Iranians constantly referred to Indians as “slaves” or “blacks”. Afghans, though part of the ruling class, were portrayed as crude and vulgar. The Mughals exported Hindu slaves to Iran and Central Asia.
In c.868 Ali ibn Muhammad of Basra promised the Zanj power if they followed him as the new prophet, and amassed an army of 15,000 black slaves in 869. In 883 the caliph Muwaffaq had crushed the rebellion, slaughtering and re-enslaving the Zanj.
Schemes of using black slaves on mass plantation servitude were largely abandoned. Zanj rebellion led to a mistrust of blacks and a greater demand for slaves drawn from northern and eastern Europe.
Zanj rebellion resulted in extremely racist attitudes towards blacks, as expressed in Arabic literature, by poets of Ethiopian descent, known as the “black crows of the Arabs”, such as Suhaym (d. 660), Nusayb ibn Rabah (d. 726), and Abu Dulama (d. c.776).
Ibn Sina (980-1037) whose works on medicine and philosophy were translated into Latin, he was known in Europe as Avicenna. Ibn Sina said that peculiarities of climate made some peoples more suitable for slavery, than others who were destined to be masters.
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), pre-eminent medieval Islamic historian: “…the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery…..have attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals”.
Arabic word “abd” as used to mean black slave, while “mamluk” meant a white slave. Berbers of the Ibadi sect pioneered the trans-Saharan slave trade in blacks of which many were emasculated due to the importance of eunuchs in the Islamic world. Tripoli became rich on this.
Africa remained a major source of slaves for the Islamic world until well into the 20th century. Blacks came to be seen as natural slaves when compared to other races. By contrast, Ibn Khaldun writes in his Muqaddimah that Turkish slaves had rescued Islam due to their vigour.
Arabic documents of al-Andalus speak of blacks as abid or bilad as-sudan showing that they were viewed as strangers, slaves and inferior. Ummayad caliph Abd al-Rahman III (912-61) denied promotion to his black slave troops.
Yusuf in-Tashufin, founder of the Almoravid dynasty, meanwhile exchanged black slaves for white Christian slave boys. Therefore the use of black slaves which was greatly expanded by Christian Europe was an Islamic legacy.
Maqdsi in the tenth century said that blacks were cannibals and animal like. Ibn Butlan said blacks were overly musical. Then there was the thirteenth century Iranian Nasir al-Din Tusi who regarded apes as more intelligent than blacks.
So with Islamic rule this prejudice for darker skin was projected onto Bharat. It has nothing to do with an Aryan invasion which never happened. Instead it suits narratives on all sides of western thought to keep the myth alive and blame Hindus yet again.
(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @RanbirS11414092 on 19 March, 2023, with minor edits to improve readability and conform to HinduPost style guide)