Letter of Apology
This letter is not addressed to any one individual but to the stones of Hampi, the ancient city, and its architecture, the art that now lie in ruins. To its sculptures and to those who brought that grandeur to life.
All that lost beauty and culture at the hands of marauders and ruffians, who in the name of religion, looted and pillaged this gem, robbing and destroying it only for their greed. These were not religious men, and as a follower, I can say throughout history, religion has seen the worst forms of its manipulation for personal gains and worldly greed.
As an artist, a sculptor and an appreciator of arts and craft I am ashamed and embarrassed in front of those stones, those lifeless shards, those artworks and also the artists and artesian who poured their sweat and blood into these stones to create this marvel.
I am writing this because when I got to know about the happening of this land, all I heard was that Muslims had destroyed this space. It felt awkward and as being a Muslim, I wanted to record my protest and apology, which even if not heard now, will be present in history to say that a Muslim stood up to condemn those happenings, to say what was done was wrong.
To the residents of the land of Hampi,
After salutations, I would like to tell you that today, I am trying to gather
courage, to write to you all in atonement for the barbarism and cruelty of a few,
who a few centuries back made your beautiful land a victim of their worldly
greed. In the name of their religion, they came, they destroyed, occupied your
lands and till today their followers are still enthusiastically bent on the same
It has been said, time and again that religion was never spread through the
sword and that religion itself strictly prohibits such actions yet, today, they
murder the children of Adam and think that they are furthering the cause of
religion and reaffirming a blissful place in the afterlife for themselves. What is
the importance of life to them, when all that matters is the life after this one?
When humans are meaningless for them, what significance will you hold?
By writing this I do not wish to injure your emotions, I merely wish to explain to
you that: they have no religion. Their religion is just power and material wealth.
The way they have smeared the pages of history with their ’welfare’ efforts and
are still fanatically dedicated in continuing; I feel that my effort is in vain and
quite futile. I fear that I might just end up smudging these tarnished blotches
even further for I cannot undo what has already been done. On my part, even
after all my efforts, my last resort is, if nothing else, to at least inwardly condemn
what was unjust, because I do not have the power in me, my hand or in my quill
to stop them. Nevertheless I believe, what happened and whoever did it, they
must be paying the cost in one way or another.
A few days back I had the chance of getting to know about you. When I did, I felt
quite sad, and not just sad, I felt quite embarrassed too that I had never heard or
read about you. I suppose I would call my ignorance my incompetence. Forced
by my utter self-humiliation, I opened and searched through history texts only to
find no accounts of you, as if you never existed; and where you do, your chapter
has been beautifully narrated in someone else’ accounts as one of their many
victories – just another feather in their cap. Maybe the historians forgot while
writing history that those who distort and dismember history have been
destroyed in history – not history itself.
When they were attacking you in their greed I was not present there nor did I
exist, this country did not exist nor were we separated and nor had we ever
anticipated this separation. There were no boundaries and no severed ties. What
happened? How did it happen? Who did it? What were the circumstances? What
were the incidents? What was the politics and what was the reality? Rising above
all these questions, I, Muzzumil Ruheel, strongly condemn these inhuman acts of
violence and my sincerest apologies to the stone residents of this town.
As an artist, a sculptor, a patron and a connoisseur of art, I am utterly mortified
at the act that had been thrust upon you. You are beautiful, your elegance, and
the skill of the artist is subject to appreciation. Your aesthetic beauty is beyond
praise and an example in itself that I might never find in history.
Today I ask those people; where are you now and where is your infinite
sovereignty: you reduced this land to dust.