What Ails Indian Muslims
This volumeWhat Ails Indian Muslimsis a volume based on the historicist and humanist understanding of Islam and Muslims in India. It is a collection of scholarly essays penned by the finest scholars on Islam. Its point of departure is the theme that the colonial British state manufactured the thesis of the ‘Hindu’ / ‘Muslim’ divide, which later got articulated as the production of imagined communities. This thesis of the production of imagined communities gets predicated on the market logic of the production of commodities. Communities, therefore, tragically get trapped as commodities for sale in the global market. Instead of this manufactured thesis, the volume talks of real history of Muslims in India. It claims that the pathetic condition of Muslims is because the post-independent Indian elites took over the colonial oppressive state mechanism and the colonial ideology of divide and rule. The volume claims that the solution to the problem afflicting Muslims is not to be found in the liberal bourgeois narrative of mere separation of religion and politics, but in a socialist and secularist problematic based on the historicization and humanization of both religion and politics.
Murzban Jalis professor at the Centre for Educational Studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune. Jal’s research is based on Marx’s theory of world history with the Asiatic mode of production as the central part of world history. According to Jal, non-Western societies (especially South Asian), cannot be made to confirm to an archetypal West European history. Jal stresses that Islam should be seen in its own light and not seen from the jaundiced spectacles of Colonial Reason. He is thus critical of applying West European bourgeois models of understanding religions in Asia. He is also critical of applying the models of modernity and secularism that emerged in West Europe onto non-Western societies. Instead he sees both modernity and secularism emerging from concrete historical conditions. He claims that secularism emerged in India with the conflux of the great Indo-Islamic culture and not as usually imagined as introduced by British colonial authorities. But if jal is critical of Eurocentric methodology, the he is also critical of nativism and ethnocentrism. Instead he argues for a historicist and humanist understanding of world history. Besides Jal being a Marxist scholar, he is also a Freudian critical theorist and an Islamophile. His recent claim is that one must transcend the Orientalist imaginary—where imperialist West constructed an exotic map of the non-Western world—for a critical and scientific understanding of world history. According to him, global peace is possible only when one transcends this Orientalist and colonial imaginary, which unfortunately governs not only global academics, but also rules global public opinion.
Zaheer Aliis a Mumbai-based academician, free-lance journalist and social activist. Starting his career as a research investigator in a project on socio-political consciousness among Muslims in India undertaken by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, he worked for a year with a monthly magazine,Secular Democracy, in New Delhi. Subsequently, he began teaching Political Science, first in Aurangabad and later retiring as Head of the Department of Political Science, I. Y. College, Mumbai.
Presently, he heads Centre for the Promotion of Democracy and Secularism (CPDS) that is essentially committed to disseminate the values such as secularism, democracy, justice, equality, liberty and national cohesion among the college and university students and their teachers. Through orientation camps, conferences and seminars, the CPDS is engaged in affording its inputs building a secular, democratic and enlightened India.
Zaheer Ali is a prolific writer and avid participant in national and international conferences and seminars. Besides, contributing dozens of research papers to leading publications, he has so far written and edited more than half a dozen books on socio-political and literary themes both in English and Urdu that include,Off the Spotlight, Secularism and its Indian Version, Reading History(ed.),Talmihat-e-Faiz, Mata-e-Nazaretc. His forthcoming books includeKhilafat: Origin and the MovementandMuslim Matters.