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

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The Census and the Minoritisation of Muslims

Alpasankhyataru Mattu Jaati Vyavasthe: Asmite, Vasahatushahi mattu Misalati (In Kannada; Minorities and Caste System: Identity, Coloniality and Reservations) by Muzaffar Assadi, Bengaluru: Bahurupi, 2021; pp 264, `300 (hardcover).

This book is about the governmentality of colonial India and its social consequences. The author does an impressive survey of the massive information that the British government generated to rule over India. Proliferating with cultural diversities, India must have confounded many foreign rulers in exercising the untrammelled auth­ority. Accounts of administrators, explo­rers, soldiers, missionaries, and ethnographers provided some insights when confronted with local or regional issues, but for extending its territorial interests and managing dissension, a macrosocietal profile becomes essential. Hence, the British government inaugurated the institution of conducting an all-India dece­nnial census in 1881. The government of independent India has been carrying forward this colonial legacy; several of the social issues and problems that cropped up during the colonial era are re-emerging, cast in the language of citizens’ rights and the right to equality.

There is already an enormous body of scholarship demonstrating how the British used the census to perpetuate their hold on India. Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have commented extensively on the colonial government justifying its “civilising mission” by projecting India as a superstition-ridden, fractious land marked by oppressive hier­archies that perpetuated the social status.

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Updated On : 22nd Aug, 2022
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