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Issue #4: New Video + The Momins

India Ink
Issue #4: New Video + The Momins
By India Ink Team • Issue #4 • View online
Hello, everyone!
It’s been a little while since you heard from us. As we dived into production of our second video, our schedule was throw completely off. But we’re finally here!
This week, the newsletter is packed. Our video is about merit, reservations, and how the purpose of reservations was forgotten by the upper caste community in India. We worked extremely hard on it - and it’s more than twice as long as the previous one, almost 15 minutes! We had so much we needed to say - and there was much more that we should’ve said. Please watch it, share it, and let us know what you think.
We also have an article this week about how a lower caste muslim group opposed the idea of Pakistan during the build-up to partition. It’s an excellent insight into how caste exists in Muslim communities as well and how they aren’t a monolith historically or today. The story of the Momins is really interesting - we hope it’s as eye-opening for you as it was for us.
Hope you have a good week. And we will - fingers crossed - be back to more regular emailing soon.
India Ink Team

Video: How the “general category” became modern India’s greatest scam
How the “general category” became modern India’s greatest scam [Past Continuous - Episode 2]
How the “general category” became modern India’s greatest scam [Past Continuous - Episode 2]
Article: How Lower Caste Muslims Tried to Stop Partition
  1. In the decades leading up to the partition of British India, the Julaha Muslims of Bihar and its adjoining regions began to call themselves by a new name — the “Momins,” which meant “faithful men of honour”. Traditionally involved in weaving, the community had been humiliated and oppressed by upper castes over the years and were now trying to craft a new, more assertive identity for themselves.
  2. In 1933, an emerging Momin leader, Abdul Qayyum Ansari attacked the Muslim league, accusing it of being a party of elite or “sharif” Muslims. The organisation that he led, the Momin Conference, was attempting to raise its voice on behalf of the “razil” section of Muslim society — those who performed menial jobs, were looked down on, and discriminated against.
  3. In March 1940, the Muslim League passed its famed Lahore Resolution, calling for the creation of a new nation — Pakistan — out of India’s Muslim majority provinces. The Momin Conference declared that it would oppose partition tooth and nail. It argued that India’s Muslims were not a single unified group and that the oppressed among them saw no point in a Pakistan where they would continue to be oppressed by sharif Muslims.
  4. At the time, voting rights were restricted to those who owned land, paid taxes, and had educational qualifications. The Momins pointed out that this was inherently undemocratic because it allowed the elite sharif Muslims of the League to become the representatives of all Indian Muslims, even though they were a minority among Muslims.
  5. Since the Muslim league drew its power from projecting Muslims as a unified group whose interests it represented, the Momin Conference attempted to create a common platform with other oppressed Muslim communities to emphasise the difference between rich and poor Muslims.
  6. In the 1940s, as the Muslim league focused on the Muslim identity in order to demand fair representation for Muslims from the British, the Momin Conference was arguing that seats reserved for Muslims should be further segregated and reserved for different Muslim communities based on their population.
  7. During the 1941 census, the Muslim league encouraged Muslims to leave out their caste and linguistic differences while the Momin conference encouraged them to make sure to enroll their caste so that the vast numbers of oppressed castes among Muslims would be visible.
  8. In the crucial 1946 elections, the Momin Conference attempted to invoke the atrocities of the sharif Muslims involved with the Muslim League. Ultimately, it won only 5 seats, while the League swept 34. The Muslim League’s victory decisively pushed India towards partition.
  9. In October-November 1946, with India on the verge of partition, Bihar witnessed communal riots that left thousands of Muslims dead. As debates raged on about which areas would be included in Pakistan, the Bihari Muslim refugees who were forced to flee to Bengal after the riots were left stranded and uncared for. They felt that even though Pakistan had been created in their name, their blood sacrifice had been forgotten.
(If you liked this summary, the full article has more details for you and links to the original paper!)
How Lower Caste Muslims Tried to Stop Partition - India Ink
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India Ink Team

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