Islam and Nationalism in India: South Indian contexts, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Islam and Nationalism in India

South Indian contexts, 1st Edition

By M.T. Ansari


200 pages

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Islam in India, as elsewhere, continues to be seen as a remainder in its refusal to "conform" to national and international secular-modern norms. Such a general perception has also had a tremendous impact on the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, who as individuals and communities have been shaped and transformed over centuries of socio-political and historical processes, by eroding their world-view and steadily erasing their life-worlds.

This book traces the spectral presence of Islam across narratives to note that difference and diversity, demographic as well as cultural, can be espoused rather than excised or exorcized. Focusing on Malabar - home to the Mappila Muslim community in Kerala, South India - and drawing mostly on Malayalam sources, the author investigates the question of Islam from various angles by constituting an archive comprising popular, administrative, academic, and literary discourses. The author contends that an uncritical insistence on unity has led to a formation in which "minor" subjects embody an excess of identity, in contrast to the Hindu-citizen whose identity seemingly coincides with the national. This has led to Muslims being the source of a deep-seated anxiety for secular nationalism and the targets of a resurgent Hindutva in that they expose the fault-lines of a geographically and socio-culturally unified nation.

An interdisciplinary study of Islam in India from the South Indian context, this book will be of interest to scholars of modern Indian history, political science, literary and cultural studies, and Islamic studies.

Table of Contents

Part I: "Two Circles of Equal Size" 1. "An Impossible Factor": Ali’s Autobiographical Fragment 2. Muslim Responses in Colonial India 3. Questions of Community Part II: Malabar Contra Memory 4. Refiguring the Fanatic: Malabar, 1836-1921 5. Memoirs of the Malabar Rebellion Part III: Literary Nationalism in Malayalam 6. "Higuita" and the Politics of Representation 7. An-Other: Indulekha and The Jewel of Malabar 8. All Too In-Human: Chemmeen and Naalukettu

About the Author

M.T. Ansari is Professor at the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad, India. He has received fellowships awarded by the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, University of Chicago, USA, and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, India.

About the Series

Intersections: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories

This series is concerned with three kinds of intersections or conversations: first, across cultures and regions, an interaction that postcolonial studies have emphasized in their foregrounding of the multiple sites and multi-directional traffic involved in the making of the modern; second, across time, the conversation between a mutually constitutive past and present that occurs in different times and places; and third, between colonial and postcolonial histories, which as theoretical positions have very different perspectives on the first two ‘intersections’ and the questions of intellectual enquiry and expression implied in them. These three kinds of conversations are critical to the making of any present and any history. Thus the new series provides a forum for extending our understanding of core issues of Human society and its self-representation over the centuries.

While focusing on Asia, the series is open to studies of other parts of the world that are sensitive to cross-cultural, cross-chronological and cross-colonial perspectives. The series invites submissions for single-authored and edited books by young as well as established scholars that challenge the limits of inherited disciplinary, chronological and geographical boundaries, even when they focus on a single, well-recognized territory or period.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies