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The Language of Secular IslamUrdu Nationalism and Colonial India$
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Kavita Datla

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836092

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836092.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Language of Secular Islam

Kavita Saraswathi Datla

University of Hawai'i Press

This book examines Muslim engagements with twentieth-century Indian nationalism, and more specifically their project of imagining a secular national culture that would include both Hindus and Muslims. It considers the ways in which Muslim intellectuals of Hyderabad sought to replace the English language with Urdu as the medium of instruction at the university level by founding Osmania University, India's first vernacular university. The book thus shows how Urdu language in the early twentieth century became a means not only of asserting difference but also of envisioning a common secular future. Secularism in this case refers to a set of projects that was essentially productive, reordering traditional epistemologies and creating new and conflicting ways of understanding one's heritage, language, and culture. By founding Osmania University, Hyderabad's Muslim educators hoped to challenge the increasing pervasiveness of English as the language of higher education and hence also a language of prestige in colonial India.

Keywords:   secularism, Indian nationalism, Hindus, Muslims, Muslim intellectuals, Hyderabad, Osmania University, Urdu language, English language, colonial India

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