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Beyond Minority: Exploring Identity and Resistance in Anti-Caste Pasmanda Muslim Discourse

Khalid Anis Ansari, Azim Premji University

Thu, 3/21 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · A71 Louis A. Simpson Building

M. S. Chadha Center for Global India

The talk will explore the emergent tension between the minority imagination and anticaste politics among India’s most significant religious minority, the Muslims. Since the late 1990s, the enactment of the Pasmanda identity by the lowered-caste Muslims has increasingly resisted the hegemony of the privileged caste Ashraf Muslims. The nascent Pasmanda counterdiscourse has contested the critical elements of the entrenched Muslim-minority discourse — identity and the religio-cultural, security and interreligious (communal) violence, and equity and affirmative action — and characterized it as a machination for reproducing elite interests. The Pasmanda narratives, in their attempt to conceive a politics beyond the dominant dyads — majority-minority, secular-communal, Islamophobia-Islamophilia — are enriching the democratic imagination and struggles in a significant way.

Khalid Anis Ansari is a sociologist interested in postcolonial modernity, democratic deepening, anti-caste movements, and transformative politics in general. His doctoral work explored the conceptual relationship between pluralism, democracy, and internal minorities through the case study of the anti-caste Pasmanda Muslim movement in India. He has emphasised the limitations of the dominant religious lens (and associated conceptual dyads like majority-minority and secularism-communalism) in understanding contemporary minority politics.

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