Ashraf into Middle Classes: Muslims in Nineteenth-century Delhi

Hardcover | May 15, 2013

byMargrit Pemau

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Nineteenth-century Delhi was marked by a curious mixture of political upheaval and cultural resurgence. Drawing on a wide variety of little-known sources in Urdu and Persian, apart from the more conventional British records, this book provides a revelatory and vivid narrative of Muslims in theperiod covering the British conquest in 1803 to the end of the Khilafat movement in 1922. Moving away from the tendency of studies on Muslims to focus on religious identity, this book allows us to historicize Islam and socially contextualize its many manifestations. Treating identities as inherently dynamic and ever changing, Pernau argues that religious identity became central for Muslims only in the last third of the nineteenth century, and this was closely linked with the creation of a middle class whose members described themselves as ashraf, or "men from agood family". The new concept of respectability or sharafat on which the middle class was based allowed it to, at once, draw a distance from the old nobility, bring the learned section of the community closer to the businessmen, and demarcate it sharply from the subalterns. The book focuses on the agency of historical actors - their perceptions and memories - to help us understand what it means to be a "Muslim" as well as fathom the varied interactions between identities defined by religion, language, geography, and gender. In many ways, the book is itself a dialoguebetween Indian and European historiography, and will interest not just academics but also "Delhi and Urdu lovers".

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Nineteenth-century Delhi was marked by a curious mixture of political upheaval and cultural resurgence. Drawing on a wide variety of little-known sources in Urdu and Persian, apart from the more conventional British records, this book provides a revelatory and vivid narrative of Muslims in theperiod covering the British conquest in 180...

Margrit Pernau is Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:544 pagesPublished:May 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198092288

ISBN - 13:9780198092285

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionPart I: The British and the Mughals1. Establishing British Rule2. Religion and Piety3. Families and Communities of Common Descent4. The Passing Away of the White Mughals and the Rise of a New Public Sphere5. Noble Women, Courtesans, and Women's Moral Reform6. The City and Its Spatial Order7. Conflict between the Religious CommunitiesPart II: 1857 and Its Aftermath8. The 1857 RebellionPart III: The Heyday of the British Empire9. Nobility and Middle Classes10. Religious Identities between Secularization and Re-Islamization11. Education: The Colonial System and Cultural Nationalism12. Civil Society and the Colonial Municipal Administration13. The New Woman14. The Politicization of Communities: Communalism and NationalismConclusionBibliographyIndexAbout the Author