By Priyadaranjian Ray

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It coincided with the emergence of nationalist politics under the aegis of the Indian National Congress and had developed in response to the colonial restructuring of India’s political economy. The first had prompted fears of impending electoral reforms that promised to empower the numerically preponderant Hindus at the cost of India’s Muslim minority. 33 Both forced an urgent review of the place of Indian Muslims in any future political dispensation. 34 Widely credited for lending substance to the idea of a modern Muslim community that would combine the pursuit of religious and secular goals, he sought to break free from the rigours of scriptural discourse.

Balochistan was still a wild, arid, border region and Sind had not yet been split off from the Bombay presidency. The North West Frontier Province was a rugged mountain area along the Afghan border, its inhabitants largely tribal, and, with the exception of a limited settled area around Peshawar, it was subject to no known central authority. 79 Jinnah also recognized the problem of hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the Muslim minority provinces, for whom Iqbal had made little or no provision in his version of the Muslim majority state.

Only then, they argued, would the community be able to re-claim its rightful political inheritance, albeit under the tutelage of a clerical leadership. 21 But conceiving of the community in these strictly religious terms was as pragmatic as it was problematic. 23 This was to become particularly clear in the 1920s, when the ulama of Deoband had succeeded in forging a powerful and enduring anti-colonial alliance with the Congress Party. Ironically, this led some like the prominent Deobandi alim, Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani (d.

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