Asghar Ali Engineer[1]

Nous devons faire le point sur les divers événements qui ont eu lieu en Inde au cours des cinquante dernières années de notre indépendance ainsi que sur les développements intervenus à cette période dans la communauté musulmane, notamment en ce qui concerne les mouvements de réforme dans l’Islam indien.
In 1993, concerned over growing communalism and the need to redefine the concept of secularism for a cohesive society, a group of eminent academics, social activists and prominent citizens mobilised and formed the CSSS.
As you are probably planning activities around International Women’s Day, 8th March, WLUML strongly urges you to refocus international attention, protests and solidarity on the ongoing genocidal process taking place in the Indian state of Gujarat since late February 2002.
Whatever we understand and enjoy in human progress instantly becomes ours, wherever it might have its origins.

Identity is a subject which needs some reflection because I believe that certain things are taken for granted in this subject which do not, by any means, survive the scrutiny. This is not in any way to deny the importance of identity in our lives. It affects our actions, governs the loyalties that we have, the tides that we respect. It affects our reflections. It affects the way that we see ourselves.
The question of Muslim personal law has become not only a question of Muslim identity but also a question with deeper political implications. The Muslim leadership doggedly resist any reform in certain aspects of the law particularly pertaining to marriage and divorce and the Hindu communal leadership would not accept anything short of complete abolition of personal law pertaining to Muslims.
We have to take stock of various developments which took place in India in last fifty years of our independence. It is also important to take stock of developments among Muslims in this period, especially with reference to reform movements in Indian Islam.

India opted to be a secular country and this decision had several repercussions. Right at the stage of constitution making there were debates about uniform civil code. There were heated discussions. Muslim members opposed adoption of uniform civil code. Ultimately a compromised was accepted.
Editor’s note: This famous short story by the late Ismat Chugtai (1915-1991) was written in 1941 and banned by the then State Government on charges of obscenity. Ismat Chugtai challenged this decision and won her law suit.
Background

Bihar is among the most socially and economically backward states in India. Social inequality in Bihar is amply visible. In order to illustrate the socio-economic context within which underprivileged groups (including Muslim communities) exist in Bihar, it is necessary to highlight a few statistics from the state. While there does not exist a direct causal relationship between customary practice and socio-economic conditions, both are also not mutually exclusive.
Introduction

At the beginning of the women’s emancipation struggle among the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent access to education and the campaign against Purdah were the main points. The late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries were characterized by considerable debate on these issues in the Muslim community, throughout India. The reform effort by men on behalf of women was sparked by the considerable progress made by other communities in India and was inspired by changes taking place in Muslim countries of the Middle East.
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