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Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Muslims – Review of Hasan Suroor’s ‘India’s Muslim Spring’: Abhay Kumar

ABHAY KUMAR reviews Hasan Suroor’s India’s Muslim Spring: Why is Nobody Talking about It?, Rupa Publications, New Delhi, 2014.

Hasan Suroor is a London-based veteran journalist. He began his career with The Statesman and later he worked as The Hindu’s UK correspondent for over a decade. He continues to write in newspapers on important issues such as Muslim identity, secularism, communalism and Islam. He was brought up and educated in Delhi after his family left Lucknow for the national capital post-Partition. Their new destination, at least in the beginning, did not receive its guests warmly as his parents’ identity as Muslim worked as a hurdle for them to rent a flat in New Delhi. Eventually they had to seek refuge in the Muslim-majority Ballimaran of the Walled City where his mother worked as a Communist Party activist. Suroor, who is regarded as one of the “progressive” and “liberal” voices among Muslims, has recently been in news for an interesting thesis which he offers in his new book, India’s Muslim Spring: Why is Nobody Talking about It?

He argues that for the first time since Independence a “seismic” and “tectonic” shift has taken place in Indian Muslim community with an emergence of “liberal spring” among new generations Muslims, who were born after the late 1970s. For Suroor, the elder generations of Muslim were “fundamentalist” and “emotional”, “intolerant” of freedom of speech, prioritized “cultural” and “identity” issues over substantive ones, had “contempt” for women and blamed others for the plight of Muslim community while the young Muslims are just the opposite of their elders; they, are  “tolerant”, “pragmatic”, “moderates”, “secular”, “cosmopolitan”, “optimistic” and “confident” and “forward-looking” as well as “nationalistic”. In short, he creates a binary between fundamentalist old Muslims versus liberal young Muslims. Continue reading Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Muslims – Review of Hasan Suroor’s ‘India’s Muslim Spring’: Abhay Kumar