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A Question Of Community

Religious Groups and Colonial


In writing history, the story of those who succeeded is well known. What happens to the losers? What changes can we expect when we examine the defeat of the Khojas and Pushtimargis who went to court because of internal dissent and found that they lost some of their autonomy as self-functioning polities? Instead of being allowed to give evidence of their current belief and behaviour, as Islamic or Hindu, they were presented with interpretations of a homogenized Islam and a homogenized Hinduism as a standard by which their religiosity was assessed. The law court in the mid-nineteenth century would decide who they were.

Could any inferences be drawn on the construction of unitary religious communities of today Taking two famous and popular legal trials in Bombay, the Aga Khan Case and the Maharaj Libel Case, the author shows that the court worked with a 'notion of group membership as religious community where experts, Westernized Indians or British scholars, elicited the "truth".' She further asserts that the colonial judiciary's denial of the polities' ability to govern themselves and their simultaneous governance by the colonial state meant that individuals were identified in law or in the courts with a marked religious community.

Author: Amrita Shodhan
Year: 2001
Price: Rs. 350
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 222
Dimensions: 8.3 in x 5.6 in x 0.9 in
Publisher: Samya
Sales Restriction: Sale In SAARC Countries Only.
ISBN 13: 9788185604435

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