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Being the Masters of India as successors of the Muslims, British views on India, especially Muslim India has been considered as most authentic and valuable contribution to the understanding of Indo-Muslim civilization. Muslim India has been seen through the British eyes. It is British Historiography of Muslim India 1800-1857 which forms the crest of the understanding of British attitude towards the Indo-Muslims, Euro-British tradition of Indo-Muslim historiography and in the understanding of now current identities and conflicts in South Asia. It also depicts a vast arena of concepts, modules, premises, problems, technicalities, theories, issues, perceptions and misperceptions related to the area. Although Muslim historical literature with a moral purposive background provided the antecedents to the British, yet British historiography during the period was largely influenced by the Euro-British intellectual tradition; historical, passing through Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment; and the early nineteenth century trends in the European thought such as liberalism, historicism, orientalism, colonialism, industrial revolution and nationalism. Orientalism forms the key to Indian studies and colonialism the purpose of historiography. The India seen through a Western, British superior ruling "self', as an Eastern, Indian, inferior ruled "other", It appears to be an administrative dialectics or discourse, to influence the Indian policy or influenced by the Indian affairs. Although covering a variety of issues and problems, its central theme seems to be the understanding of Indian identities, and a policy demonstration in this perspective. In spite of the fact that the British analysts see the British Indian historians as "individual guerrillas", the British historical writings seem closely associated with or rather representing the western intellectual tradition. Four major streams of thought become identical in the British historiography of Muslim India on the bases of their 'views on Muslim India and their basic criterions to understand the history: Oriental Romanticists, Ethno-Regional Romanticists, Utilitarians. and Missionaries. A clear-cut demarcation among the schools is not 'possible. All seem concerned with the question of Indian identity, considering Hindus as natives and Muslims as foreigners, imperial, despotic, religiously bigoted community of fighters. They aim at strengthening the British Imperial rule in India and want to change the Indian society in European sense: westernisation, Anglicisation and Christianisation. However the four schools show their distinction from each other with an overlapping of views in coordination or in contest. Yet the treatment of Muslim India makes them clearly distinct from each other and each school represents an evolutionary change, not only within itself, but also with mutual influences to each other. The Oriental Romanticists' criterion for the understanding of history appears to be antiquity, literature and diversity. In this perspective the ancient India forms their central theme of studies. Sir William Jones' identification of ancient Indian civilization and subsequent rise' of Indian romance and 'Indology', led to an early nineteenth century romanticists' defence of Indian civilization. They laid the blame of the degeneration of Hindu Society on the Muslim rule. The marked conflict between oriental romanticists' concept of nation based on antiquity and geography, and the state of contemporary Hindu' society as highlighted by the utilitarians and missionaries, seems to be synthesised by Malcolm and Elphinstone in the form of merger of Muslims in the Indian Nation and elevation of "a whole Indian Nation". The romanticists were of the view that Indians were a civilized society and they should be treated with civility and a cautious policy should be adopted for social change in India. However by the middle of the nineteenth century an extreme romanticism in favour of the Hindus and against the Muslims became visible. The Ethno-Regional Romanticists identified layer of "nations" in the depth of Indian civilization on the model of oriental romanticists and advocated a treatment, having identity for a Multi-national. and Multi-cultural society. Contrary to the romanticists, utilitarians focused on the contemporary history and attached it with the Muslim period of Indian history as seen in the Gladwin's works. Mill . refused to accept the civilized status of the Hindu Society, criticizing its barbarian nature. He highlighted a positive contribution on the part of Muslims in bringing a change in the Indian society. Thornton replied to the blame of degeneration of Hindu society as an impact of Muslim rule and pointed' out degeneration among the Muslims as an impact of the Hinduism. However the utilitarians insisted on the westernisation or Anglicisation of India through a policy of radical social change. However Erskine tried to resolve the conflict by advising a paternalistic attitude on the Mughul model. Utilitarians used the missionaries' arguments and missionaries used utilitarian evidences. Missionaries saw the westernisation in the form of Christianisation. They insisted on an effective role of the East India Company for the conversion of the Indian Heathens. In this way British historiography appear to be an administrative discourse. Muslims are treated as foreigners from a distance and seem not to form the central themes of the British historians, Their "self" and "other" approach failed to identify "others" and place Muslims in "others", accepting Muslim identity as a nation. None of the schools accepted the civilized status of Muslims and even placed them inferior to western civilization in their self generated criterions. Therefore it rather appears a sort of colonial apology than attempts to understand the Indian situation. On the one hand it seems to be creating a romance of Hindu nationalism and on the other hand it seems to be creating a sort of reactionary resistance among the Indian Muslims against the Brittsh.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Subjects:Social Sciences(g) > History(g8)
ID Code:2590
Deposited By:Mr. Javed Memon
Deposited On:08 Jul 2009 10:06
Last Modified:02 Aug 2010 13:26

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