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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021
Outlook.com

The Image Trap

If centuries of shared experiences couldn't create solidarities, how could a specific 'Muslim' self-consciousness emerge from their multiple experiences?

The Image Trap
The Image Trap
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

POST-'70s social science scholarship and historiography have generated new approaches and insights into different aspects of Indian society. Change, variety and differences have been highlighted under Marxist, New History, post-modern and subaltern approaches. But research on Muslims is still mired within traditional frameworks. Existing categories have been questioned but not changed; consequently, ideas and movements associated with Muslims are classified as 'revivalist' rather than reformist, 'communal' rather than secular,' separatist' rather than nationalist and, finally, 'reactionary' rather than progressive. Thus, Syed Ahmad Khan and his associates are marginalised or dismissed as 'separatist', a derisive label for those who did not conform to the majoritarian view of nationalism. Syed Ahmad's stereotype as the architect of Muslim separatism, mesmerised by the British, remains unaffected by the knowledge of his contribution to introducing rational thought and English education. Similarly, Altaf Husain Hall, Maulvi Nazir Ahmad and Shaikh Abdullah of Aligarh, pioneers in...

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