Muslim Zion

Muslim Zion

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Muslim Zion
    Book Description:

    Muslim Zion argues that Pakistan has never been a nation-state, grounded in the historic connections of lands and peoples. Just as Israel is the only Jewish state, Pakistan is the only Muslim state to make religion the sole basis of its nationality. Faisal Devji offers a penetrating critique of founding a state on nothing but the idea of belonging.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-07416-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Faisal Devji
    (pp. 1-12)

    In an early essay called “Is Judaea, then, the Teutons’ Fatherland?” a great philosopher of the modern state wondered if his homeland would ever give rise to a nation. Reflecting upon the patchwork quilt of principalities that was Germany in his day, G. W. F. Hegel noted that its history seemed to provide only fragments for the building of a collective imagination:

    Thus we are without any religious imagery which is homegrown or linked with our history, and we are without any political imagery whatever; all that we have is the remains of an imagery of our own, lurking amid...

    (pp. 13-48)

    In March 1946, little over a year before the end of Britain’s Raj and the emergence of India and Pakistan as its successors, Gandhi met with the Member of Parliament and president of the World Jewish Congress’s British section in Poona. Sydney Silverman was seeking the Mahatma’s support for a Jewish “national home” in mandated Palestine, claiming that his people were “the only nation on earth without a country.” Having been dealing for some half a dozen years with similar claims by another people without a territory for its own “national home” in India, Gandhi was no doubt familiar with...

    (pp. 49-88)

    The minority nationalisms that found their fulfilment in Pakistan and Israel emerged within empires rather than nation states, though their own achievement of such states only became possible once these imperial orders had collapsed. But this means that for much of their history, these minorities did not invoke the nation state as their final goal. What they did concern themselves with were ideas about finding a place of their own within the plural jurisdictions of empires like the Ottoman or the British.¹ Indeed both Zionism and Muslim nationalism were in the early part of their careers, preoccupied by imagining futures...

    (pp. 89-122)

    When on 15 August 1947 Britain’s empire was broken in two, the Indian Union emerged from its division claiming to inherit the better part of a country that had both fallen and been formed under colonial rule. But Pakistan did so with the claim of having made a radical and unprecedented beginning, of having inherited nothing from the past, not even from the past of Islam by which it justified its existence. Indeed this founding was recognized by Muslim nationalists as being so extraordinary as to be world-historical in nature. So Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in his presidential address to the...

    (pp. 123-162)

    We have seen in previous chapters how Muslim nationalists rejected history, geography and even demography as the foundations of their political life, opting instead for an abstract idea of belonging together. But what could such an idea mean in the practice of Indian politics? I want to reflect here upon the ambiguous implications of such a practice, beginning with how this idea defined the Pakistan Movement, like Zionism or New World settlements, as in some ways a product of the Enlightenment. Perhaps the best way to start, then, would be to say something about what I mean by Enlightenment politics....

    (pp. 163-200)

    While it probably derives from the name of a South Indian caste, the word pariah entered into European languages as early as the eighteenth century, where it came to refer to outcastes or “Untouchables,” now known in India as “Dalits,” in general. But it was soon extended to describe any ostracized figure, both human and animal, like a pariah dog, with all these senses of the word returning to India and lodging themselves in the imaginations of those who know English there. What is interesting about the word’s history, then, has been its worldwide dissemination and transformation into a conceptual...

    (pp. 201-240)

    An eminent jurist, historian and founding member of the Muslim League, Syed Ameer Ali was also one of the most popular authors in the Muslim world. His much translated apologetic workThe Spirit of Islam,for example, first published in 1891 and running into innumerable editions, remained as late as 1946 “the most widely quoted modern book on the religion” in Egypt.¹ Ameer Ali’s great merit was to go beyond defending Islam from its European critics and take the battle into their own camp, by deploying the tools of modern scholarship to prove its superiority to all other religions. In...

    (pp. 241-250)

    I wish to compound my impertinence in beginning this book with a quotation from Hegel by ending it with another, not least because the German philosopher had by the end of the nineteenth century acquired a large following among Indian thinkers. Writing about the Crusades, surely an early example of the “return” to an unknown homeland that we have been exploring in the preceding chapters, Hegel notes that it signalled a desire to grasp the deity in sensuous form, and thus to unite the secular and the eternal. But to seek God in the Holy Sepulchre was a vain enterprise,...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 251-268)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 269-278)