Afsar Mohammad

Rethinking Muslim Past: 1948 Police Action and the Case of Hyderabad

March 7, 12:00 PM

As the new nation-states of India and Pakistan prepared to negotiate land and power in 1947, the citizens of the princely state of Hyderabad experienced the unravelling of an intense political conflict between the Union government of India and the local ruler, the Nizam of Hyderabad. The author explores how the state of Hyderabad was struggling to produce its own tools of cultural renaissance and modernity in the background of the Union Government of India’s deployment of the central army, the Nizam’s idea of an ‘Muslim state’ and the Telangana Armed struggle fostered by leftist parties. With evidence from the oral histories of various sections – both Muslims and non-Muslims – and a wide variety of written sources and historical documents, this book captures such an intense moment of new politics and cultural discourses.

About the Speaker

Afsar Mohammad is an acclaimed South Asianist working on the Hindu-Muslim relations in South India. His new book “Remaking History: 1948 Police Action and the Muslims of Hyderabad” (Cambridge University Press, 2023) focuses on the post-Partition developments in Hyderabad, India. Afsar explores the question of Muslim being and belonging in the wake of the turbulent consequences of the police action. His previous book “The Festival of Pirs: Popular Islam and Shared Devotion in South India,” (Oxford University press, 2013) was also well-received for its ethnography and theorization of local Islam. Now teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Afsar has also received many prestigious awards for his creative writing in Telugu and English.