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A Muslim Conspiracy in British India?
Politics and Paranoia in the Early Nineteenth-Century Deccan


  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316647233

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About the Authors
  • As the British prepared for war in Afghanistan in 1839, rumors spread of a Muslim conspiracy based in India's Deccan region. Colonial officials were convinced that itinerant preachers of jihad - whom they labelled 'Wahhabis' - were collaborating with Russian and Persian armies, and inspiring Muslim princes to revolt. Officials detained and interrogated Muslim travelers, conducted weapons inspections at princely forts, surveyed mosques, and ultimately annexed territories of the accused. Using untapped archival materials, Chandra Mallampalli describes how local intrigues, often having little to do with 'religion', manufactured belief in a global conspiracy against British rule. By skillfully narrating stories of the alleged conspirators, he shows how fears of the dreaded 'Wahhabi' sometimes prompted colonial authorities to act upon thin evidence, while also inspiring Muslim plots against princes not of their liking. At stake were not only questions about Muslim loyalty, but also the very ideals of a liberal empire.

    • Provides a fresh new perspective on colonialism's encounter with Islam
    • Introduces events often overlooked in histories of South Asia
    • Will fascinate readers interested in conspiracy theories
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Mallampalli offers us micro-history in the best tradition, throwing light on the broadest themes of security, intelligence and justice under the British Raj. His book makes compelling reading.' David Washbrook, Trinity College, Cambridge

    'This book is a fine piece of scholarship on hitherto little studied episodes in which British officers, misled by unscrupulous informants, mistook local intrigues for an international conspiracy against colonial rule.' Marc Gaborieau, Centre for South Asian Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

    '… A Muslim Conspiracy in British India? is an elucidating and at times gripping account that will certainly hold appeal for students of both British and South Asian history.' Zak Leonard, Reviews in History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316647233
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The fear of itinerant Muslims
    2. Prince Mubariz ud-Daula
    3. A fondness for military display
    4. A diamond in the trough
    5. Slaying men with faces of women

  • Author

    Chandra Mallampalli, Westmont College, California
    Chandra Mallampalli is Professor of History at Westmont College, California. He has written extensively on the intersection of religion, law and society in colonial India. His books include Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India (Cambridge, 2011).

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