Censorship, Urdu literature, Islam, and progressive secular nationalisms in colonial India and Pakistan have a complex, intertwined history. Sarah Waheed offers a timely examination of the role of progressive Muslim intellectuals in the Pakistan movement. She delves into how these left-leaning intellectuals drew from long-standing literary traditions of Islam in a period of great duress and upheaval, complicating our understanding of the relationship between religion and secularism. Rather than seeing 'religion' and 'the secular' as distinct and oppositional phenomena, this book demonstrates how these concepts themselves were historically produced in South Asia and were deeply interconnected in the cultural politics of the left. Through a detailed analysis of trials for blasphemy, obscenity, and sedition, and feminist writers, Waheed argues that Muslim intellectuals engaged with socialism and communism through their distinctive ethical and cultural past. In so doing, she provides a fresh perspective on the creation of Pakistan and South Asian modernity.
David Gilmartin - North Carolina State University
Geeta Patel - University of Virginia
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