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Origin of Muslim Consciousness in India: A World system perspective

(Author: Syed Nesar Ahmad)

Name of Publication: Greenwood press

Place of Publication: New York

Pp: 311

Reviewed by Aminullah

This quality research work is based on the dissertation of author as his PhD in sociology from the state university of New York in Binghamton. Later this work was contributed to the list of other works in the Study of World History. The central theme of the book  includes all other perspectives regarding the freedom movement, provided with the authors own perspective as the new approach towards the understanding of all political, social, economic and cultural issues of India in the paradigm of World-System perspective.

The point of departure of author lies in his belief that the question of the origin of Muslim consciousness in relation with the other political cum cultural identities was in fact the result of Structural changes brought by the colonial state machinery. The impacts of these structural changes upon Indian society were profound in the sense that the Indian economy through British was incorporated into the world capitalist system. In other words, it states that any economic change in the capitalist world system would in return exert its due force in the alternation of state or society structure. The author maintains that all changes which occurred on the socio- political and economic scene of India in the nineteenth and twentieth century could possibly be tackled in this way, so as to fill the gap in both sociological and historic sense of the evolution of Colonial India towards partition. So the Muslim consciousness was the result of necessity in the atmosphere of limited sets of choices provided by the world system of economy through Colonial impact. In this respect, the author doesn’t deny the importance and reality of other perspectives but did challenge their only exclusive outlook of either religion as the base or motive behind the freedom struggle or the nationalistic aspect as the whole reality. These all identities according to the author are somehow the created realities of the colonial system in which both the Muslims and Hindus contributed in both communal and nationalistic aptitude, so as to harmonies their relation with the world system.  In a nutshell, the author rightly argues that affirming these identities by those who are in a disadvantageous position, a sense of self consciousness and a mode of struggle had emerged among the Muslims.

The author has produced a brilliant research work which has the intellectual potential to develop an academic insight into the problem of Muslim identity in Colonial India.

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