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DanielPipes.org claims Will Durant said:

"The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within."

The same claim was quoted in this Hinduism.SE answer. It says:

Will Durant, the famous historian summed it up like this:

"The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within."

Did he say this? And did he call the conquests "Islamic"?

  • "There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. Prof. K.S. Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under the Sultanate, but that would be hard to substantiate; research into the magnitude of the damage Islam did to India is yet to start in right earnest." You can read the more actual numbers under the section "Hinduism's losses" here-koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/irin/genocide.html – pericles316 Dec 2 '16 at 5:37
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    Research effort? The second Google hit for "will durant islamic conquest" gives the book's title, volume and chapter number. – Nate Eldredge Dec 2 '16 at 8:03
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    @NateEldredge But that is not Durant's original wording in his original book. Did the publisher change the wording at some point? and if so was it with or without Durant's input? There are at least 6 wording changes from the original in that short quote. Is the book misquoted or was the book changed in later editions? Did Durant author the wording changes (if there were any)? – DavePhD Dec 2 '16 at 12:28
  • @DavePhd-Koenraad Elst quotes the same but replaces the word 'Mohammedan' with 'Islamic' in his article 'Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?' present here-koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/irin/genocide.html. – pericles316 Dec 2 '16 at 13:17
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    @pericles316 Yes, I discuss Elst in my answer, but changing "Mohammedan" to "Islamic" is just one of about 6 changes in Elst's quotation. – DavePhD Dec 2 '16 at 13:59
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He wrote in The story of civilization, Part 1: Our Oriental Heritage at page 459 (alternative link):

The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.

So he said "Mohammedan", not "Islamic"; "precarious thing", not "precious good"; "liberty", not "freedom"; "may", not "can" and "time", not "moment".

Also, the statement is under a heading "THE MOSLEM CONQUEST".

Keep in mind that this was originally written in 1935, so it does not include World War Two when he says this.

The version of the quote in the OP is as Will Durant is quoted by Koenraad Elst in the 1992 book Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam:

Will Durant summed it up like this "The Islamic conquest..."

The book Contemporary views on Indian civilization says:

To quote Will Durant's famous line (1972:459): "The Islamic conquest..."

So it is saying that a 1972 edition of Durant's book has the OP quote, but, even if that is true, that is not the original version that Durant wrote.

A recent publication of Durant's book which Google Books says is from 2011 by the original publisher Simon and Schuster still has the original version.

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