ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Islamic Perspectives on Liberation and Dialogue in Contemporary India

This survey suggests that increasing numbers of Muslims, particularly from long-marginalised 'low' caste groups, are now demanding that their voices be heard, thereby seeking to challenge the established Muslim leadership as spokesmen of Islam and representatives of the community. These voices of dissent are significant in that they offer an interesting case of 'lay' perspectives on Islam that emerges from a situation of struggle against oppression. In this sense, they can be said to represent a form of what can be called an Islamic theology of liberation.

Countering Fundamentalism

Given its fundamentalist rhetoric, it would be surprising if SIMI's attacks on other faiths and its strident championing of the dream of an Islamist Khilafat would not have further exacerbated communal tensions in those parts of the country where it is active. But if the government is serious about countering organisations like SIMI it would do well to turn its attention to redressing the growing alienation and insecurity of Muslims in the country which provide fertile ground for these organisations to take root and for their propaganda to fall on receptive ears.

Targeting Muslim Religious Schools

Indiscriminate targeting of madrasas will only alienate minorities further and harden extremist sympathies on both sides. Besides, efforts set in motion by several madrasas to adapt to the changing educational needs of Muslims may be severely hampered.

Between Dialogue and Conflict

Focusing on the Deendar Anjuman's peculiar doctrinal positions that makes it distinct from other Muslim groups, this article traces its origins and development in early 20th century south India and examines the ways it has sought to position itself vis-a-vis other groups, Muslim as well as Hindu, in the contemporary Indian context of religious pluralism.

Changing Course of Kashmiri Struggle

Kashmir in the 1930s witnessed the emergence of the Islamist movement. In its initial years, the movement failed to garner a strong support base owing to the long-standing sufi tradition in Kashmir. However, since the 1980s, the Jama'at-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir has attempted to restructure the framework of the discourse within which the Kashmiri armed struggle has sought to express itself - the struggle is now being interpreted as a holy war. Not only has there been a growing intervention of Islamist groups based in Pakistan, the nationalist goal of a free Kashmir is being increasingly marginalised.

Meonis of Mewat

Yoginder Sikand The Meos are descendants of rajput meena and gujjar converts to Islam and are scattered over a large area south of Delhi towards the Thar desert. The condition and status of the women in this poor community largely made up of small and middle peasants is distressing. Not only are they educationally backward, with few opportunities to attend schools, but are subject to customs which contribute to keeping them economically and socially backward.

Mass Conversions to Hinduism among Indian Muslims

Indian Muslims Yoginder Sikand Manjari Katju In cases of mass conversion of Muslims to Hinduism, the central thrust has been on their de-Islamisation rather than on their accepting the Hindu religion. The Muslim castes which have been particularly vulnerable to Hindu missionary efforts have been those which are only nominally Muslim and retain many Hindu customs and beliefs. Most of the mass conversions have occurred among Muslim Rajput groups. The Hindu missionaries, too, have shown an inordinate interest in converting the socially dominant and powerful Muslim Rajputs and not the 'lower' Muslim castes who form the majority of the Indian Muslim population. Finally, the mass conversions have mostly occurred in the backward regions of northern India where feudalism is still largely intact and where brahminism has not been challenged by assertive 'lower' castes.

Muslims and Mass Media

Secondly, the large chunk of concealed tenancies should be detected. Besides, the order to know the exact extent of holding owned by the landowner, the record of rights should be streamlined. In addition, sound personnel recruitment procedures, proper integration of services, strict supervision and control system and easy information network available to the clientele must become part of administrative reforms. Finally, bureaucratic rigidity is dysfunctional. Dynamism and not total inflexibility is the solution. However care should be taken that dynamism does not hamper the organisational objectives of the administration. Thus the imperative is to look into some corrective mechanisms in the arena of politico-administrative functioning.


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