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 Muslimselite and subaltern, secular and clerical, activist and apoliticalit brings the experience of the country’s Muslims under a single focus; and, by throwing light on the Indian Muslim condition 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, deindustrialization, dispossession, and disenfranchisement, as well as unresponsive leadership.
Anil demonstrates how the Muslim elite encouraged depoliticization, 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.
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 History Today. He is the co-author, with Christophe Jaffrelot, of India’s First Dictatorship, also published by Hurst.