“To be or not to be”: the double consciousness of the Tamil Muslims during the early 20th century
Yunush Ahamed Mohamed SHERIF
ABSTRACT When the nation building process was gaining momentum during the early 20th century, all the communities in British India had to participate in the process and the Muslims were no exception. Though the Muslim community in British India was as diverse as any other community, there was an attempt to unite them under the identity of “Muslims” during the first half of the 20th century. But the Tamil Muslims remained aloof from the idea of an “Indian Muslim Community.” They had a double consciousness of being a Tamil as well as a Muslim. They highlighted their “Tamilness” more than their “Muslimness.” More than the Muslim League, their involvement with the Dravidian Movement was substantial. They supported both the movement for Dravidasthan as well as Pakistan. This paper will look into the process of “nation making,” particularly a “Muslim nation” and the anxiety of the Tamil Muslims during these processes. It will analyse the reasons behind the Tamil Muslims being alienated from the other Muslims, the British colonialist denying the identity of “pure” Muslims to the Tamil Muslims and their involvement in the Dravidian Movement.
Keywords: Tamil Muslims, Indian Muslim Community, nation making
Note on the contributor
Yunush Ahamed Mohamed Sherif is a research scholar in the department of Cultural Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. His research interest is the social history of the Tamil Muslims during the colonial period. It also includes a variety of language used by the Tamil Muslims which is identified as Arabuttamil or Arwi. He is also involved in the process of digitizing documents related to the Tamil Muslims, including manuscripts and documents written in Arabuttamil/Arwi