Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity, 1857-1947

Hardcover | April 1, 2010

byMasood Ashraf Raja

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The book addresses the hitherto neglected aspect of postcolonial and historical engagement with the creation and construction of Indian Muslim national identity before the partition of India in 1947. The author's main assertion, challenging the conventional and postcolonial appraisals of theIndian national history, is that the Indian Muslim particular identity and Muslim exceptionalism preceded the rise of Congress or Gandhian nationalism. Using major theories of nationalism - including works of Benedict Anderson, Anthony D. Smith, John Breuilly, Partha Chatterjee and others - andanalysis of literary, political, and religious texts produced by Indian Muslims, Constructing Pakistan traces the varied Muslim responses to the post 1857 British ascendancy. Hence, overall, this study provides a multilayered discussion of Indian Muslim nationalism from the rise of post 1857 Muslimexceptionalism to the beginnings of a more focused struggle for a nation-sate in the 1940s. In this dual act of retrieval and intervention, a varied mixture of literary, political, and religious texts are employed to suggest that if the Muslim textual production of this time period is read within the realm of politics and not just within the arena of culture, then the rise of Indian Muslimnationalism can be clearly traced within these texts and through their affective value for the Indian Muslims.The author states that no such work exits either in the postcolonial field or in the field of area studies that combines close readings of the texts, their reception, and the politics of identity formation specifically related to the rise of Indian Muslim nationalism. The author's main argumenthinges on two important assumptions: 1) After the rebellion it becomes extremely important for the Muslim elite to force the dominant British regime into a hegemonic view of the Muslims, and 2) this forces the Muslim elite to develop a language of politics that must always invoke the people in orderto enter the British system of privileges and dispensations. Consequently, the rise of early Muslim exceptionalism and its eventual specific nationalistic unfolding, of which Pakistan was one outcome, can then be read as political acts that long preceded the Indian national party politics. Thereason most Indian and European historians cannot trace a pronounced Muslim sense of separate identity before the 1940s is because they trace this identity either in the form of resistance or in the shape of party politics. The early loyalism of the Muslim elite, in such strategy, remainsunexplained, as it does not fit the resistance model. The book attempts to re-read this loyalism as a sophisticated form of resistance that, in the end, makes the Muslim question central to the British politics of post-rebellion era.On the whole the book is a useful text for anyone interested in reading a more nuanced and theoretically innovative articulation of the complex nature of Indian Muslim nationalism and the eventual creation of Pakistan.

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The book addresses the hitherto neglected aspect of postcolonial and historical engagement with the creation and construction of Indian Muslim national identity before the partition of India in 1947. The author's main assertion, challenging the conventional and postcolonial appraisals of theIndian national history, is that the Indian M...

Masood Ashraf Raja is Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Literature and Theory at Kent State University, United States. His critical essays have been published in journals such as South Asian Review, Digest of Middle East Studies, Caribbean Studies, Muslim Public Affairs Journal, Mosaic and others. He is currently working on his seco...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:300 pagesPublished:April 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195478118

ISBN - 13:9780195478112

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Dastanbuuy: Ghalib's Narrative of Survival2. Post-Rebellion India and the Rise of Muslim Exceptionalism3. The Muslim Literary Renaissance: Azad and Hali4. Early Urdu Novel and Muslim Exceptionalism5. The Critique of Loyalism: Naumani and Allahabadi6. Iqbal: Challenging the Master's Discourse7. The Politics of Muslim NationhoodConclusionNotesBibliography