Questioning the ‘Muslim Woman’: Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Questioning the ‘Muslim Woman’

Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality, 1st Edition

By Nida Kirmani

Routledge India

246 pages

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The marginalisation of Muslims in India has recently been the subject of heated public debate. In these discussions, however, Muslim women are often either overlooked or treated as a homogenous group with a common set of interests. Focusing on the narratives of women living in a predominantly Muslim colony in South Delhi, this book attempts to demonstrate the complexity of their lives and the multiple levels of insecurity they face. Unlike other studies on Indian Muslims that focus on Islam as a defining factor, this book highlights the ways in which religious identity intersects with other identities including class/status, regional affiliation and gender.

The author also sheds light on the impact of such events as the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 and the subsequent riots, the Gujarat communal carnage in 2002, and the anti-Sikh violence in New Delhi in 1984, along with the rise of Hindutva, and growing Islamophobia experienced worldwide in the post-9/11 period — on the articulation of identities at the local level and increasing religion-based spatial segregation in Indian cities. The study highlights how these incidents combine in different ways to increase the sense of marginalisation experienced by Muslims at the level of the locality.

Understanding the need to look beyond preconceived religious categories, this book will serve as essential reading for those interested in sociology, anthropology, gender, religious and urban studies, as well as policymakers and organisations concerned with issues related to religious minorities in India.

Table of Contents

Preface. Acknowledgements. 1. Locating Identities 2. Constructing the Locality: A Profile of Zakir Nagar 3. Narrating a Muslim Mahol: Identity, Culture and Space 4. History, Memory and Insecurity 5. Boundary Crossings 6. Questioning the ‘Muslim Woman’ 7. Narrating the Gendered Self 8. Displacing Categories and Replacing Identities. Bibliography. About the Author. Index

About the Author

Nida Kirmani is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan.

About the Series

Religion and Citizenship

Social science research and popular discourse on 'religion and public life' have gradually moved away from binaries such as communal–secular, tradition–modern, or community–individual. It is now widely recognised that religion and cultural traditions do not simply disappear from public life with economic development. In countries like India, this shift has also been reinforced by the emerging social and political trends where issues relating to citizenship are raised through identity movements of historically deprived categories such as the Dalits, Adivasis, and religious minorities such as the Muslims, for inclusive and just development.

This ‘positive’ view of religion parallels changing attitudes in other parts of the world as well where there is growing interest on religious communities and faith-based organisations and their potential role in enhancing development and service delivery. While this has led to a renewed interest in the study of religion, rigorous social science research on ‘religion and citizenship’ is still at a nascent stage.

This series attempts to fill the gap by bringing together scholarly writing on this important and rapidly expanding area of research in the social sciences.


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Minority Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies