The Emergence of Socialist Thought Among North Indian Muslims (1917-1947)
Recipient of the 5th UBL Literary Excellence Award 2015 for English Non-Fiction
and 2nd Prize of the Karachi Literature Festival Peace Prize 2016
The reconciliation of basic Islamic principles with modernity has been a major challenge for Muslims over the last two centuries. This study uncovers the responses of Indian Muslims who were drawn to socialist ideas between the Bolshevik Revolution and Partition. From the Pan-Islamist muhajirin, who migrated to Soviet Central Asia during the Khilafat agitation of 1919–24, to the upper-class literary radicals of the Progressive Writers Movement of the 1930s and 1940s, socialism provided Muslim radicals with an intellectual toolkit for analysing their own society and constructing strategies for emancipation from Western oppression. In fact, the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity that existed within Islamic ideology encouraged Muslim socialists to embrace a secular mode of thinking. Recognizing these familiar strands in socialist theory legitimized their fascination with socialism. This book sheds light on the fact that religious and political separatism were not the only paths adopted by the Muslims of North India to move forward under colonial rule. 'It is an irony of history that those who lay the foundation of a movement are forgotten and fame comes to those who participate in the final phase of the struggle. Dr Khizar Ansari resurrects those forgotten people who fought against British Rule and disappeared in the mist of time. Dr Ansari vividly narrates their story, their ideals, dreams, sufferings, and hopes. It is well documented, well researched, and well presented.'
—Professor Mubarak Ali, Eminent scholar of the history of India and Pakistan