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

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Muslims in the Economy

Imtiaz Ahmad’s review of my book Muslims in Indian Economy (September 15) must have disappointed its readers. The task of the book reviewer, at a minimum, is to describe the contents of the book, theory and method it applies, the source materials and data it uses and conclusion it reaches. Ahmad fails to do any of the tasks.

Ahmad misleads his readers when he talks about “the Hunter Commission in the late 19th century”. There simply was no such commission. William Wilson Hunter (1840-1900) was an ICS officer and prolific author with more than 50 books to his credit, including the 1871 classic The Indian Musalmans: Are They Bound in Conscience to Rebel against the Queen?. I discuss this influential book at some length in my book (pp 16-20). In discussing this book I say that Hunter writes mostly about Muslims in Bengal, the province with the largest Muslim population at the time. But Hunter’s findings about Bengali Muslims’ economic condition were inapplicable to the rest of India. India is more than Bengal, but given Hunter’s area of service in that province, he assumed that Bengali Muslims’ condition applied to the rest of the country.

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