Chapter

Colonial Secularism and Islamism in North India

in Secularizing Islamists?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226384689
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226384702 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226384702.003.0002
Colonial Secularism and Islamism in North India

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This chapter, which explores the origins of Islamism within the North Indian context, rests on Talal Asad's insight about the dialectical relationship between “secularism” and “religion.” It proposes that the type of secularism which the British sought to impose in colonial India developed the possibility of novelty in Muslim thought and practice that is called Islamism. The particular kind of secularism that the British employed to the Indian context was one which developed severe hindrances to secularization. Maududi moved from Hyderabad to Jabalpore to Delhi in search of employment variously as a journalist/editor, tutor, and college lecturer. He and the Islamists were destablized by their insistence on the universalism of Islamic laws. Maududi's modernity was a source of contention with the traditionalists. His approach to religion and its practice translated into innovations at various levels, while building upon earlier vocabularies and “traditions” of reform.

Keywords: secularism; colonial India; Islamism; Talal Asad; secularization; Maududi; Islamic laws

Chapter.  7144 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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