Shaheen Bagh and the hermeneutics of Muslim identity in South Asia

Syed Mohammed Faisal


This article locates the unique discursive contribution of women’s protests against India’s Citizen Amendment Act in 2019–2020 in the history of Muslim identity formation in South Asia. It does this by reviewing the relationship between religious reform and identity politics since colonial times and contrasts it with arguments and practices of the women involved in the protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. It contextualizes the hermeneutical arguments anchored around the idea of community and nation in colonial and postcolonial governance in South Asia. And it compares them to the women’s methods and experiences of protest that privilege a relation to blood and soil to demonstrate the significance of experience as an alternative basis for the political imagination of Muslim identity in South Asia.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/712221