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

A+| A| A-

The Left and Political Islam

Double Bind: The Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights by Meredith Tax (New York: Centre for Secular Space), 2013; pp 123, $10.

Historically, communists had a rather tenuous relationship with the Muslim right. In the first flush of the Bolshevik Revolution, the new Soviet state in the early 1920s, while resisting the western imperialist offensive, sought allies from among the pan-Islamic forces which were then smarting under the wound of the defeat of their Ottoman empire by the British forces at the end of the first world war, and were looking for a platform to retaliate against the British.

M N Roy, who was in Moscow in those days as a part of the international Comintern leadership, gives us a fascinating account in his autobiography of the dilemma that Lenin faced. On the one hand, Lenin lent political support to his natural ally – the secular Kemal Pasha (who, following the collapse of the Ottoman empire, captured power in Turkey, abolished the feudal domination of the religious caliphate and introduced egalitarian reforms), on the other hand, he also grudgingly agreed to provide military aid to conservative pan-Islamic leaders and their followers (who had been opposed to Kemal Pasha, and wanted the revival of the caliphate), in the hope that they would fight western imperialist powers.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top