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"Musings of the Unlettered:" Wartime Surveillance and the Muslim Subaltern in India, 1913-1918.

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Histories of Pan-Islamism in the late 19th and early 20th century have long been populated by accounts of Indian Muslim notables and their concerns for the growing European aggression against the Ottoman Empire. However, seldom have these histories attempted to investigate the phenomenon of pan-Islamism from below, in an attempt to understand how subaltern Muslims navigated their politics in an age of global Muslimness. Through a highly critical reading of early 20th century surveillance documents from the Bombay Presidency, this thesis examines the nature of subaltern Muslim political expression during the Ottoman-Balkan War and the First World War. Honing in on communal and anonymous phenomena at the fringes of colonial surveillance, such as rumors, bazaar-gup, and communal gatherings, this thesis challenges the idea that extraterritorial sympathies for the Ottoman Empire were the main cause of Muslim politicization. Rather, it argues that the Pan-Islamic political expressions of subaltern Muslims were influenced primarily by local events which triggered existential anxieties causing pro-Ottoman sentiment to be expressed in uniquely local metaphors.
66 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Kuehn, Thomas
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