Rise of the Muslim Indian National Consciousness and Muslim Women’s Education in Colonial India
Benedict Anderson connects the rise of print capitalism to the rise of nationalism in Europe as well as in the colonies. Print capitalism and nationalism shared a similar relationship in the Indian subcontinent too that remained a British colony for almost 200 years, from 1757 to 1947. Employing Deputy Nazir Ahmad’s novel, Mir’āt al-‘Urūs (1869), I argue that the introduction of print capitalism proved crucial to the rise of Muslim national consciousness and for Muslim women’s education to redefine their sociopolitical role in the new Muslim imagined community under British colonization. Print capitalism, via the possibility of mass-produced books like Mir’āt al-‘Urūs, transformed the Muslim national imagination by making Indian Muslims a community in anonymity. I offer this new reading of Mir’āt al-‘Urūs to trace the interaction of print capitalism, Muslim national consciousness, and new roles for Muslim women in colonial India.
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