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South Asia, Islam in

Subject Religion » Islam

Place Asia » Southern Asia

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xix ] I slam is numerically and politically very important in this region: in Afghanistan, Muslims comprise 100% of the population (1994 estimate, 20 million); in Pakistan 97% (1992 projection, 113 million); in Bangladesh 80% (1991 census, 88 million); and in the Indian Union 11% (1991 census, 92 million). Arab raiders reached Sind in 711, but Islam was not extensively planted in northern India until the 13th century and after, setting down strong roots also in south India. Until the tightening of British control by the mid-19th century, the dominant military and ruling class over much of India was Muslim, although large concentrations of peasants in the Indus valley and lower Ganges valley had also found in Islam an escape from the rigours of the Hindu C aste system. British rule curtailed the power of the Muslim landed classes, causing a crisis of confidence in the community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, only now being restored since the establishment of the officially Muslim state of Pakistan (1947) and that of Bangladesh (1971). In the Indian Union, Muslims are especially numerous in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Mainly medium and small peasants and craftsmen, they consider that they are underrepresented in government and other public services [general surveys in: 8: vi ; 65: ii , 1–119]. Islam in the subcontinent has long been characterized by ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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