Jihad Vs Hindu Dharm Yuddh, Busting the myth.

There is a lot of discussions is going on social media in which Jihad is equated with Hindu Dharm Yuddh. The people who equated jihad with Hindu Dharm yudh are not aware of the foundation of the Hindu religion. Let’s explore what is Jihad and What Is Dharm Yudh


In classical Islamic law, the term refers to armed struggle against non-believers, in theory, jihad was to continue until “all mankind either embraced Islam or submitted to the authority of the Muslim state.” There could be truces before this was achieved, but no permanent peace.

One who died “on the path of God” was a martyr (shahid), whose sins were remitted and who was secured “immediate entry to paradise”. However, some argue martyrdom is never automatic because it is within God’s exclusive province to judge who is worthy of that designation.


Dharm yudh

Dharma yuddha is not to be equated with jihad or crusade because the purpose of Dharma yuddha is not in the interest of one’s own religion to annihilate others whose religion is different. The way the war is fought and the means adopted for war decide whether it is Dharma yuddha or not.

Dharma yuddha is a righteous war, which means war according to the ‘Shastra Such a war could be started only for just reasons. Moreover, such a war must be waged in accordance with certain rules and regulations.

What ancient historians say?

According to Megasthenes who was a Greek ambassador of Seleucus I Nicator in the court of Chandragupta Maurya.

Indian warfare. ‘Whereas among other nations it is usual, in the contests of war to ravage the soil and thus to reduce it to an uncultivated waste, among the Indians, on the contrary, by whom husbandmen are regarded as a class that is sacred and inviolable, the tillers of the soil, even when the battle is raging in their neighbourhood, are undisturbed by any sense of danger, for the combatants on either side in waging the conflict make carnage of each other, but allow those engaged in husbandry to remain quite unmolested. Besides, they never ravage an enemy’s land with fire, nor cut down its trees.

(Source:A Brief History of India by Alain Danielou (p 106)) The modern “scorched earth” policy was then unknown

Let’s explore what scriptures says

No one should kill the sleepy or the thirsty, the fatigued, one whose armour has slipped, a peaceful citizen walking along the road, one engaged eating or drinking, the mad and the insane, one who went out of the camp to provisions, a camp follower, menials and the guards at the gates.

 (Manu Smriti 7.92)

Rules of War

A king should fight with the other king after alerting him and if the other king wears armour, then he should also wear one and if the enemy king brings his army with him then he should also take his army with him. (Shanti parva 95-7-9) If the king is defeated then his army also accepts the defeat.  

This was so ingrained in the Indian mind that later we see whenever the king died while fighting,his army deserted the battlefield.

TA Heathcote writes that ‘Battle was merely a series of individual combats, with the courage and morale of the mass depending upon the visible performance of their leaders. If a leader fell…the rest made their escape as best as they could.’

The general rule is that warriors should fight with only their equals. Thus, a cavalry soldier should not be attacked by a chariot warrior, but a chariot warrior could attack a chariot warrior. Similarly, a horse warrior could resist another horse warrior but not a foot soldier.

In conclusion, Hindu dharm yudh can only be started with just cause while jihad is waged against non-believers. The Dharm yuddh was fought with rules and regulation which brings minimal destruction to the masses and environment. Jihad was fought with no rules and regulation, the sole aim of jihad was to bring destruction to non-believers.

[source: Hindu-Buddhist Philosophy for conflict avoidance and environmental consciousness]

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