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Constructing Pakistan

Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity 1857–1947
Masood Ashraf Raja
The main assertion of this book is that Indian 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, and Partha Chatterjee—and analysis of literary, political, and religious texts produced by Indian Muslims, Constructing Pakistan traces the varied Muslim responses to the post-1857 British ascendancy. These texts are employed to suggest that if the textual production of this period is read within the realm of politics and not just within the arena of culture, then the rise of Indian Muslim nationalism can be clearly traced within them and through their affective value for Indian Muslims. The author argues that after 1857 the Muslim elite needed to force the dominant British regime into a hegemonic view of the Muslims, which also forced the elite to develop a political language that invoked the people in developing a new relationship between the British and the Indian Muslim elite. The rise of early Muslim exceptionalism and its eventual specific unfolding can then be read as political acts that long preceded Indian nationalist politics. The reason many historians cannot trace a pronounced Muslim sense of separate identity before the 1940s is because they trace this only through resistance or the shape of party politics, a practice that leaves the early loyalism of the Muslim elite unexplained. Constructing Pakistan attempts to re-read this loyalism as a sophisticated form of resistance that made the Muslim question central to British politics of the post-rebellion era.
Author Description
Masood Ashraf Raja is an Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Literature and Theory at Kent State University, United States and the editor of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. His critical essays have been published in journals including South Asian Review, Digest of Middle East Studies, Caribbean Studies, Muslim Public Affairs Journal, and Mosaic. He is currently working on his second book, entitled Secular Fundamentalism: Poetics of Incitement and the Muslim Sacred.
PKR 150
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More Information
ISBN 9780195478112
Weight in kg 0.385
Rights World
Year of Publication 2010
Binding Hardback
Pages 182 pages

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