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The Uneducated: Education and the Mediation of Muslim Identity in the British Raj, 1858-1882

Batsha, Nishant

The 1857 Rebellion against the East India Company and the subsequent establishment of the British Raj had profound implications on colonial policy. It was in this milieu wherein the Raj began to classify Muslims as naturally irrational and fanatic as well as wholly responsible for the Rebellion. At the same time, the state began a push for Muslim education, and the colonial archive demonstrates a desire by the state for Muslims to enter the government-aided educational apparatus. This thesis examines the development of Muslim education in North India following the 1857 Rebellion until the publication of the Indian Education Commission of 1882. The question asked is two-fold: (1) why did the colonial state begin a push for education in Muslim communities during this era? (2) What were the ramifications of this policy on Muslim identity? To answer the first question requires an examination of correspondence within the Education Department, which reveals an intersection between colonial ethnography, social classification, and a post-1857 policing of the Muslim community. The second question allows one to trace the emergence of a group identity that has persisted to the present: that of the uneducated Muslim. However, it is the contention of this thesis that this identity was not simply brought into being by the colonial state, but also the language of the Muslim elite.

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History
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B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 14, 2010

Notes

Senior thesis.

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