Proposed Book: ‘Muslim Life in West Bengal’
The recent ASGG Report (2014) on the conditions of Muslims in West Bengal reiterates the concerns expressed in such previous reports as the ones headed by Justice Sachar and Misra. Muslims in West Bengal are grossly underrepresented in the political and economic life. Their socio-cultural situation fares no better than the dalits. The migration of most of the elite Muslims from Bengal during the Partition of India (1947) has left behind a disenfranchised community. The subsequent indifference of the ‘secular democratic’ state toward the bleak condition of Muslims has further exacerbated the problem.
Since there has not been any significant comprehensive study undertaken about Muslims in West Bengal, we intend to put together a book that would focus on the question of Muslim life in West Bengal, their political participation, their educational attainments, their intellectual contribution, their contribution to Bengali cinema, literature, and music, the Bengali Muslim Women’s Question, the emergent Dalit identity among Muslims in West Bengal, and their present-day plight.
We invite book chapters, from academics with an interest in and research background in Muslim life in West Bengal. The contributors are requested to address some of the following questions in their submissions (but not limited to these questions alone):
How did the Bengali Muslim identity emerge historically? Does the post-Partition Muslim identity in West Bengal differ from the pre-Partition days? Did the Muslim identity in West Bengal evolve differently from that of present-day Bangladesh? What form has the present-day Muslim politics taken in West Bengal? Does a separate Muslim party have a future in the politics of West Bengal? What role do the madrasas play in the education of Muslims in West Bengal? Is there a division between religious and secular forms of education among Muslims? What has been the contribution of Muslims in West Bengal toward literature, film, music, art, architecture, and television? How have Muslims been represented in the cultural domain and media? Where are the organic Muslim intellectuals in Bengal? Since the time of late 19th century, how has the Muslim Women’s Question evolved among Bengali Muslims? How have Muslim women fared in West Bengal compared to their Hindu counterparts? How does the emergent dalit identity among Bengali Muslims recalibrate questions of politics, economics and culture? Since the state has failed to perform its duties towards more than a quarter of its population, how could the Muslim civil society pressurise the government to attend to the needs of the community? At a time of neo-liberal reforms when jobs are mostly privatised and when there is a growing popularity of rightist ideologies, is the demand for reservation among Muslims in West Bengal counterproductive?
Contributors are requested to prepare 5000-6000 word essays. Please follow the MLA style guide while preparing your chapters. Last date for submission of chapters: 20 February, 2018. Email your submissions to both: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
We intend to send the manuscript to a reputed US academic publisher. Our second option is an Indian academic publisher. It will all depend on the quality of the final essays.
Mosarrap H Khan has recently defended his doctoral dissertation at the Department of English, New York University. His research interests include South Asian literature and culture, religion and secularism, theories of everyday life, and Muslim life in West Bengal.
Mursed Alam teaches in the Department of English, Gour College, Malda, West Bengal. His research areas include subaltern life and politics, Islamic traditions in South Asia, minor discourses, etc. He has published in journals such as Economic and Political Weekly, Rethinking Marxism, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Contemporary South Asia, South Asia Research, Kairos, and the Journal of Critical Symposium.