Robinson British Identity Analysis

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In Robinson’s “The British Empire and Muslim Identity in South Asia”, Robinson attempts to explain the rise in Muslim identity during British rule. He begins his argument by stating that Muslim identity did not have a significant role in identifying people. He argues that ancestral roots, family, and place of settlement all were larger sources of identity than religion. By making these statements, Robinson lays the groundwork to show the importance of the rise in a religion centered identity. In this paper, Robinson argues that the British rule in India saw an increase in religion based identity. HE points to a sharpening distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims in society. He argues that this rise in distinction between the two groups are …show more content…
Robinson argues that the British perception of India as Hindu versus Muslim played a key role in defining a Muslim identity because Muslims were forced to see themselves in that light. He also points to a revival in the religion as a source of the rise in Muslim identity and therefore a sharp distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. Robinson also emphasizes the impact of the Hindu versus Muslim rivalry in Indian society as a source for the foundation of Muslim political identity. He also shows that the gendering of Muslim identity resulted in women becoming a symbol of Islam in the public domain. As a result, religion became a central point in Muslim identity. Robinson provides a strong argument that Muslim identity grew under British rule because he provided key examples of how British rule and Indian society affected Muslim identity. However, Robinson pays a significant smaller importance to British rule than Indian society. This is a major weakness in his paper. By emphasizing Indian society, Robinson downplays the role of the British colonial rule in effecting Indian society itself. By focusing more on the societal actions, Robinson provides a narrow view of the rise in Muslim society. He seemingly ignores the system in his analysis. Therefore, the impact of British colonial policies on the society is a major implication of the paper that is not explored. Robinson seems to frame his argument by showing a British colonial power characteristic, and the Muslim response to it. He does not seem to examine a direct causal relationship between colonialism and the Muslim identity. Also, Robinson only examines one region of British colonial rule, and he focuses on one colonial power. Therefore, it would be interesting to look at impact of other colonial powers on Muslim identities. Therefore, the final interesting question

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