Constructing Bangladesh: Religion, Ethnicity, and Language by Sufia M. Uddin

By Sufia M. Uddin

Highlighting the dynamic, pluralistic nature of Islamic civilization, Sufia Uddin examines the complicated background of Islamic nation formation in Bangladesh, previously the jap a part of the Indian province of Bengal. Uddin specializes in major moments within the region's background from medieval to trendy instances, interpreting the interaction of language, well known and scholarly non secular literature, and the colonial adventure as they contributed to the production of a different Bengali-Islamic identity.During the precolonial period, Bengali, the dominant nearby language, infused the richly assorted traditions of the quarter, together with Hinduism, Buddhism, and, ultimately, the Islamic faith and literature introduced through Urdu-speaking Muslim conquerors from North India. Islam used to be no longer easily imported into the zone by way of the ruling elite, Uddin explains, yet used to be included into neighborhood culture over enormous quantities of years of interactions among Bengalis and non-Bengali Muslims. continually contested and negotiated, the Bengali imaginative and prescient of Islamic orthodoxy and neighborhood used to be mirrored in either language and politics, which eventually produced a in particular Bengali-Muslim tradition. Uddin argues that this procedure in Bangladesh is consultant of what occurs in different places within the Muslim global and is hence an instructive instance of the advanced and fluid kinfolk among neighborhood historical past and the higher Islamic worldwide group, or umma.

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Extra info for Constructing Bangladesh: Religion, Ethnicity, and Language in an Islamic Nation (Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks)

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Stewart suggests that Āli Rajā’s piece is not, as Abdul Karim and Enamul Haq had described, some hybrid of Islamic and yogic literature but an early premodern example of an author’s attempt to introduce Sufi cosmology in a new linguistic environment. Richard M. Eaton has described the literature about Islam in Bengal as the literary product of a petty religious class. As we shall see, although there is no evidence of Bengali translations of the Qur’an or tafsir (exegesis) before the nineteenth century, works written in Bengali served the purpose of their authors: to introduce Islam and affirm an Islamic worldview.

When we look at specifically Muslim activity in South Asia—as illustrated in language, literature, and religious ritual—the missionary and colonial past emerges as a period in which discourse focused on the role of Islam in individual and national life. At this juncture, religion crystallized as a source of community identity. As Arjun Appadurai and the subalternists point out, missionaries and colonial administrators used this process to identify the colonized peoples, first through caste and later through religion.

All the Arabic and Persian literature produced in Bengal resulted from direct royal patronage. The authors and the intended audience were the ashraf—that is, the Muslim elite class of foreign descent. This Isl a mic The mes · 25 Muslim elite included non-Bengali soldiers, administrators, and a highly educated class of urban Sufis and ‘ulama’. The fact that this literature, as discussed earlier, consisted predominantly of Persian poetry and literature of the religious sciences in Persian and Arabic provides further evidence of its intended audience.

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