Review: India’s Muslim Spring by Hasan Suroor


Muslim youth today wish to be independent-minded and liberal, able to exert free will and free choice: Manju Kak in The Outlook

It is generally held that Indian Muslims vote ‘en masse’, that they are a votebank to be cultivated by affirmative action or by the bogey of ‘minority tag’, both of which have been exploited by the spectrum of political parties in an unholy conspiracy for electoral gains. It is assumed that as part of the largest minority grouping in India, they are comfortable with such political and ideological positioning.

Refusing to fall in line, journalist Hasan Suroor dispels this stereotype in his book. He says Muslim youth today wish to be independent-minded and liberal, able to exert free will and free choice. He says an Indian Muslim spring has been happening quietly these last two decades. These youth reject the era of ‘self-styled’ spokespersons who make them political victims. However, Suroor agrees that an obsession with identity and symbols—the skull cap, beard etc—continues.

It may well be the story that journalists have missed. Coming as the book does, at the doorstep of the Lok Sabha elections, much of his surmise may be tested and proved otherwise. But whatever the outcome, this book is compulsory reading for those who watch such developments, lest the Muslim spring becomes a ‘catchy contagion’, a precursor to other events, unnoticed but with the ability to turn politics as we know it upside down.

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