BO O K R E V I EW S M. Raisur Rahman. Locale, Everyday Islam, and Modernity: Qasbah Towns and Muslim Life in Colonial India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. 303 pages. $50.00 Rev iewe d by Suba h Daya l Th is book seeks to restore the place of four north Indian qasbahs, or neglected “middling towns,” in histories of modern South Asia. Th e monograph is based on the author’s 2008 doctoral dissertation completed in the Department of History at the University of Texas, Austin. Th e author has discovered a remark- able wealth of materials in Urdu, ranging from local histories and periodicals to family papers and biographical dictionaries. However, the book’s central analytical categories lack clarity, leaving an eclectic local archive to speak for itself, and preventing the reader from understanding why qasbahs can be examined as enduring spaces that link early modern and modern South Asia. Qasbahs have been deﬁ ned as rural townships, smaller than a city but larger than village, where Urdu- speaking literati, bureaucrats, lawyers, and “service gentry” responded to or participated in the educational, legal, and Islamic reformist agendas of the colonial period. At the monograph’s outset, Rahman asserts
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Sep 11, 2019
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