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Identity and Religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India

Amalendu Misra (Author)
Synopsis In spite of several hundred years of Muslim presence in India and the close interaction between Hindus and Muslims, the majority of Hindus remain uncomfortable with their Islamic past. As a consequence, most of them seem to have considerable difficulty in integrating the huge contribution of Islam in their historical construction of India's national identity. This book looks at the reasons behind this discomfort and argues that the continuing resentment towards Muslims can be linked to a bias in the Indian nationalist tradition. Amalendu Misra shows that while some eminent nationalist leaders were implacably hostile to Muslims, even wholly secular ones were uneasy with India's Muslim past and had a generally unfavourable disposition towards both Muslims and Islam. The book explicates this by focusing on the writings of Vivekananda, Gandhi, Nehru and Savarkar supported by a wealth of examples from wide range of contexts. It argues that the views of these four prominent individuals were heavily shaped by British historiography as well as their respective visions of independent India. This skewed nationalist interpretation of the role of Muslims in India, maintains the author, is what lies beneath the current state of estrangement between Hindus and Muslims. Further, the essentially anti-Islamic attitude of India's elite is largely the result of the legacy of these four thinkers. He goes on to suggest how modern India needs to redefine itself to flourish as a genuinely secular democracy. Topical, lucid and thought-provoking, this well-researched account of an important but hitherto little understood basis of Hindu-Muslim tension will attract a wide readership among historians, sociologists and political scientist. It will also interest those concerned with the wider issues of ethnicity religion, communal politics, and the state of India's polity today.
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Bibliographic information

Title Identity and Religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8178293552
length 263p.
Subjects History