A Question of Community: Religious Groups and Colonial Law
Cultural Studies / History / Politics and Political Theory / Sociology

A Question of Community: Religious Groups and Colonial Law

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In writing history, the story of those who succeeded is well known. What happens to the losers? What changes can we expect when we examine the defeat of the Khojas and Pushtimargis who went to court because of internal dissent and found that they lost some of their autonomy as self-functioning polities? The law court in the mid-nineteenth century would decide who they were. Could any inferences be drawn on the construction of unitary religious communities of today? Taking two famous and popular legal trials in Bombay, the Aga Khan Case and the Maharaj Libel Case, the author shows that the court worked with a notion of group membership as religious community where experts, Westernized Indians or British scholars, elicited the "truth".She further asserts that the colonial judiciary's denial of the polities' ability to govern themselves and their simultaneous governance by the colonial state meant that individuals were identified in law or in the courts with a marked religious community.

Published by: SamyaPublication Date: 2001
ISBN Code:978-81-85604-43-6