ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Surprises

Muslim behaviour renders it a loose compilation of data, rather than a systematic all- round study of the relationship between professed ideals and concrete behaviour of a selected group, sect or tribal society. Putting together studies of social structure and codes of honour of remote Balauch and Pukhtun tribes and sects, the process of integration of urban Muslim communities of Kanpur and Benaras; the historical evolution of Bengali Muslim identity and lsmaili Shiaism; and Muslim architecture of Sher Shah Suri and the impac of Urdu on modern south Asian culture and the plethora of other studies in one book onlv sustains theory broad hypothesis that south Asian Islam represents the tensions of both ambiguity and efforts to return-to a more Islamic identity. That such were to happen in the life of Muslim peoples of south Asia should not be surprising to social scientists. What one learns is a little about many things but not enough to draw a more profound conclusion about the general behaviour patterns prevailing among Muslims, or which are likely to emerge in the future. Partly this follows from the fact that the book does not place the discussion in the context of the macro changes affecting society at the level of state and politics and of socio-economic change.

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