Show Less
Restricted access

Identity of a Muslim Family in Colonial Bengal

Between Memories and History

Mohammad Rashiduzzaman

Blended with the author’s own family remembrances and diverse sources including his doctoral and post-doctoral research and fieldwork, this is a recounting of ural Muslim historiography in Colonial Bengal, a largely ignored swathe in the dominant chronicles of South Asia. Between the twilight of the 19th century and nearly the first half of the 20th century, the Muslims in Colonial Bengal in India were haunted by misgivings about an alien rule and its cohorts. Resistance to change, self-denial, religiosity, the conflicting urges of survival, the spiraling Hindu-Muslim discord, the feudal constraints and marginalization by the bhadralok swirled around them. The British Indian Bengal wracked by religious, cultural, social, and political conflicts come alive in the intergenerational narrative in this book. With its 9 main chapters plus a preface and introduction, this volume seeks out ordinary individuals' lives amidst such turmoil while it amplifies the larger challenges of the Muslims in Bengal. This gripping true-life account is set against such a sweep of history; it is built around real people—not about imagined characters.

Not rigidly structured, this multi-layered account has used wider and flexible methods of research. The village-focused and memory-based tale evokes the concrete historical, social, and political trajectory that confronted the Muslims in Colonial Bengal—an out-of-the narrative in the conventional history and social science books on the region. Authored by an academician and a well-published scholar on South Asia, this is a meticulous, insightful, and comprehensive portrait of a rural Muslim family in a historical context. It addresses scholars, students, and specialists as well as general readers about a rural Muslim family’s existential challenges intertwined with history, society, political conflicts, identity, and religiosity. Conjoined by the known historical context and backed by reliable oral narratives, qualitative interviews, authentic memoirs, and scholarly sources, this is not a chronological autobiographical memoir. Relevant to the academics and interesting to avid readers, this account touches several disciplines from history and politics to anthropology as well as the probing readers.