Top positive review
28 June 2019
What I liked the most about the book is the intriguing title.
The book is divided into 4 sections dealing extensively with Muslim identity, culture, literature and religion. However, to be very honest the last two sections do not hold much interest for me.
The stereotypes, prejudices and deliberate othering of the community which gives way to violence is very powerfully voiced out in the first two sections.
I’ve always wanted to know how a preconceived notion based on generations of conditioning affects a community. As a PhD researcher studying about the Islamic community , I came across various literary sources like Tarikh-i-Asham and Baharistan-i-Ghaibi that talks about how religious distinctions weren’t very rigid and stringent in Assam compared to the rest of the empire in the 17th century. This is why the steady infiltration of misconceptions and piling up of images and ideas that Dr. Jalil talks about never affected the most of us in our state.
An Axomiya speaking, rice eating, mekhela chador wearing woman can be a Hindu or a Muslim in our state. Wonder how one looks like one’s religion?
The struggle against ghettoisation that the author talks about shook my core. I really want people to read it to understand the complicated web of politics that attempts to feed us a narrative of ‘othering’. What the author could have avoided in the text is the last few chapters with extensive detailing of medieval literature and religion. A reader picking it up to understand Identity and things associated with it may find it hard to relate. I survived, because most of the things written were covered in our CHS lectures. Felt like I was sitting in Prof. Najaf Haider’s class again.
Not a fast-paced reading. A serious non-fiction which requires a deep engagement. Happy reading.