This panel examines the salience of local histories and contemporary localized experiences in the formation of Muslim identities and politics, parsing their intersections with the larger historical narrative from colonial to post-colonial south Asia.
Moving beyond the narrative frame of nation and community, this panel examines the salience of local histories and localized contemporary experiences in the formation of Muslim identities and politics. Concomitantly, we are interested in parsing their intersections with the larger historical narrative in South Asia. In our analysis, we, therefore, study the diverse ways in which history is experienced and narrated through various genres of Perso-Urdu literary culture, viz. history (tarikh), biographical compendia (tazkira), poetry (sha'iri) and other expressions of memories and life writing to foreground plural socio-historical registers. All these genres have a longer genealogy, but the panel focuses on the transformation of these genres starting with the post-Mughal political and cultural formations marked by the rise of new powers and locales beyond the imperial center which transformed and engendered fresh narrative forms for writing and disseminating history. Simultaneously, these genres also become profoundly localized in form and content, disclosing rare dialogues between the local and imperial (Mughal and colonial) histories. The panel will include papers on hitherto ignored localities; maintain a parallel focus on princely states as well as mufassil towns, villages and urban centers; and reflect on the socio-cultural moments that led to the formation of marginalized "Muslim ghetto" neighbourhoods in contemporary India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We encourage historical, literary and anthropological perspectives on the subject and look forward to papers concerned with the issue of locality, history and Muslim identity.