Over the course of the past several decades, Francis Robinson has done much to illuminate facets of the history and culture of the traditionally educated Muslim religious scholars, the ulama, of South Asia. “For far too long,” he writes, “[the] ulama have been treated as cardboard figures, caricatures of Muslim men of God…. [C]olonial administrators, and subsequently scholars, have rarely known enough to treat them as more than such; Western-educated Muslims, who have discovered new forms of authority, have often been concerned both to mock and to distance themselves from the mediators of religious authority; and the followers of ulama have been concerned to impose upon them an image of an ideal teacher and scholar at the cost of concealing aspects of their character, personality, and behaviour” (TheUlama of Farangi Mahall [hereafter FM], p. 148). The cost of letting the caricatures persist is high. In many instances, an understanding of the Muslim public sphere and of religious thought in modern Islam remains at best incomplete without serious attention to the ulama. And important facets of religious change likewise remain elusive unless the evolving discourses and the institutions of the ulama are brought within our purview. When more observers of Muslim societies come to recognise the ways in which the ulama are integral to the history of modern and not just of medieval Islam, it would be in some measure due to the influence of Robinson's writings. Among other things, Robinson's work is significant for its insistence that we consider how religious ideas, norms, and traditions shape politics instead of treating them as little more than symbols employed by the political elite for purposes of mass political mobilisation. At the same time, he has explored how religious identities and institutions have themselves evolved in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. And with the history and culture of the ulama as his primary point of reference, he has brought to light new perspectives on Islam in South Asia, as well as on the historical interaction between South Asia and the Muslim world at large.