Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives by Peter Gottschalk

By Peter Gottschalk

Wondering the traditional depiction of India as a state divided among spiritual groups, Gottschalk indicates that people residing in India have a number of identities, a few of which reduce throughout spiritual obstacles. The tales narrated via villagers residing within the northern nation of Bihar depict daily social interactions that go beyond the easy divide of Hindu and Muslim.

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Additional info for Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives from Village India

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Multiple Identities, Singular Representations 29 The social division of India via categories of religion also resulted in spatial divisions. As mentioned earlier, many Western historiographies preface the decline of the “ancient Hindu civilization” with the invasion of Central Asians into natively defended territories—in other words, Muslims attacking Hindus. This reinforces the portrayal of Muslims as the perennial outsiders/invaders of South Asian societies. ” This original bifurcation of space (“Hindu Subcontinent” and “Muslim Central Asia”) leads to an erasure of the fact that Hindus and Muslims share social space.

We have seen likewise, that by the division of the people into castes, and the prejudices which the detestable views of the Brahmins raised to separate them, a degrading and pernicious system of subordination was established among the Hindus, and that the vices of such a system were there carried to a more destructive height than among any other people. ”65 Despite the attention that they lavished on yugas, kalpas, and other indigenous South Asian patterns of time, the Orientalists and other British scholars seem to have failed to notice that they had projected the European triple temporal schema onto South Asia.

Van der Veer, p. 37. Namaz is the ritualized Muslim prayer performed five times daily. 56. “Place within”; shrine or tomb to a Muslim saint or Sufi. 57. , p. 34. 58. Sandria B. Freitag, Collective Action and Community: Public Arena and the Emergence of Communalism in North India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 31. , the ruling raja who patronized the event and associated his rule with that of the avatar Ram) and the nonelite (Hindus and Muslims, high and low castes and classes) can be seen to have shared identities in a way unexpected in the bifurcated vision of most modern communalists and many contemporary scholars.

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