Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Contested identities and the Muslim Qaum in northern India, c.1860-1900
Author: Zaidi, S. Akbar
ISNI:       0000 0004 2675 189X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Using primarily published sources in Urdu from the second-half of the nineteenthcentury, my thesis presents evidence with regard to north Indian Muslims, whichquestions the idea of a homogenous, centralising, entity, at times called the Muslimcommunity, qaum, ummah or nation. Using a large number of second-tier publicists'writings in Urdu, the thesis argues that the self-perceptions and representations ofmany Muslims, were far more local, parochial, disparate, multiple, and highlycontested. The idea of a homogenous, levelling, sense of collective identity, or animagined community, seem wanting in this period. This line of evidence andargumentation, also has important implications for locating the moment ofseparatism and identity formation amongst north Indian Muslims, and argues thatthis happened much later than has previously been imagined. Based on this, thethesis also argues against an anachronistic or teleological strain of historiographywith regard to north Indian Muslims of this period. The main medium through which these arguments are debated, is through the Urduprint world, where a large number of new sources have been presented whichunderscore this difference, more than this uniformity. Whether it was in religiousdebates, debates around the attempt to unify - as part of a qaum - or around thereasons for Muslims to be at a point of zillat - utter humiliation - the literature pointsto multiple and diverse interpretations, causes and solutions. Moreover, the questionof who a Muslim was', was always bitterly contested by those who claimed to beMuslims themselves. The thesis also examines the forum of the mun?zara, and howpre-print forms of public engagement helped in emphasising individual identity,authority and reputation. The interplay between oral representation and thesubsequent written accounts after the event, also raise questions about the fixity ofprint'. and about sources for historians. Using this new print material, the thesis engages broadly, with notions related to theimagined community and the public sphere, arguing that in a colonial context, muchof the theory based on the European experience, needs to be rethought, for the natureand development of the public sphere/s and of the formation of communities, mayhave been somewhat different in this context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: JISC Digital Islam
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral