The Subject of Education and Edification: Manazir Ahsan Gilani’s Proposal for a Unified System of Muslim Education in British India
Most studies on traditional Muslim education in British India have overlooked the link between questions of education and the theoretical interrogation of human subjectivity. This essay attempts to fill this vacuum by focusing on the education reform proposal articulated by Manazir Ahsan Gilani (d. 1956), a traditional Deobandi cleric. This examination elucidates that it is crucial to flesh out how even the most traditional forms of Muslim education in British India aimed to engender certain affects and dispositions in the human subject; the subjects of these traditional modes of education were designed to resist the subject positions imposed upon them by Western colonial powers. Moreover, I showcase how Gilani articulates the necessity of edification alongside education to highlight that the Muslim subject is constituted not only by the materiality of educational institutions, but also, and perhaps more importantly, through the spirituality of edificatory practices.
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