The Making of the World's Largest Muslim Minority, 1947–77
A fresh take on the history of post-independence India, revealing how Muslim leaders in Congress and the community abandoned those they claimed to represent.
Another India tells the story of the world’s biggest religious minority. Weaving together vivid biographical portraits of a wide range of Indian Muslims—elite and subaltern, secular and clerical, activist and apolitical—it brings the experience of the country’s Muslims under a single focus; and, by throwing light on the Indian Muslim condition during the first thirty years of independence, reflects on the true character of democratic India. What we have here is a rather different picture from received accounts of the ‘world’s largest democracy’.
Challenging traditional histories of Nehru’s India, Pratinav Anil shows that minority rights were neglected right from independence. Despite its best intentions, the Congress regime that ruled for three decades was often illiberal, intolerant and undemocratic. Muslims had to contend with discrimination, disadvantage, deindustrialisation, dispossession and disenfranchisement, as well as an unresponsive leadership.
Anil demonstrates how the Muslim elite encouraged depoliticisation, taking up seemingly noble but largely inconsequential causes with little bearing on the lives of ordinary members of the community. There was no room for mass protests or collective solidarity in this version of Muslim politics. Another India explores this elite betrayal, whose consequences are still felt by India’s 200 million Muslims today.
‘[Another India] successfully punctures the myth that the secularism of Nehru’s India was a golden age for Indian Muslims.’ — The Spectator
‘A devastating demolition of the myth created by dominant historiography that Nehru was the ‘generous and magnanimous torch-bearer of secularism.’ — Frontline
‘An eye-opener.’ — The Indian Express
‘Meticulously researched, engaging and fun to read, Another India revokes the myth that Muslims were merely objects of Indian history. It is rare to come across writing brimming with this level of analytical clarity, insight and humour.’ — Adeel Hussain, Assistant Professor of Legal and Political Theory, Leiden University, and author of Revenge, Politics and Blasphemy in Pakistan
‘Anil’s powerful intervention demolishes the caricature of the Indian Muslim’s voice as an essay on victimhood. This richly textured analysis restores authorship to Indian Muslims in the complex story of their engagement with what ought to constitute the priorities of the minority community.’ — Pallavi Raghavan, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Ashoka University, and author of Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India–Pakistan Relationship
‘An important and ambitious study unpacking the idea of Muslim agency to make sense of the complex history of postcolonial Muslim politics.’ — Hilal Ahmed, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, and author of Muslim Political Discourse in Postcolonial India
‘Anil details convincingly the story of Indian Muslims before and after Partition, exploring their (unsuccessful) struggle to secure political and cultural rights as well as recovering Muslim agency in the story of postcolonial India. A must-read.’ — Katharine Adeney, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Nottingham, and author of Federalism and Ethnic Conflict Regulation in India and Pakistan
Pratinav Anil is a Lecturer in History at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, whose writings have appeared in The Times, The Guardian, Spectator, and Histo