Seema Mustafa is one of the most popular South Asian print and television journalists. She is known for championing the cause of Muslims in India against systematic state oppression. Currently, she is the Editor-in-Chief of The Citizen, a digital newspaper she founded. Seema has authored four books so far, one of which is a co-authored one.
Being a Secular Muslim in India
by Seema Mustafa
“But strangely enough, I find all my identities under threat today. As a woman, as a journalist, as a Muslim, as a secularist, as a liberal and even as an Indian because the Idea of India as envisaged by those who led the struggle for Independence, and enshrined in the Constitution with all its guarantees and its protection, is under threat.”
A fascinating account of an audacious woman’s journey and a rapidly vanishing way of life, Azadi’s Daughter is both a personal memoir and a political commentary. Journalist Seema Mustafa writes evocatively of the secular, pluralist India of the 1960s and ’70s, chronicling her life as a Muslim woman born into the nationalist, progressive Kidwai family in Lucknow. As a child, her life was untouched by communalism, and even as she realizes that this was not the case for many, her book is a testament to the syncretic nature of secularism, in which a staunchly Muslim household was not limited to conservative interpretations of Islam.
Seema Mustafa incisively charts the events which have slowly begun to erode this tolerant, diverse ethos—the government’s handling of the Shah Bano case in the 1980s, the demolition of the Babri Masjid in the 1990s, the mass arrests and torture of Indian Muslim youth in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings, and the Gujarat riots of the 2000s. She also examines the current state of secularism where people face marginalization and the threat of violence merely for exercising their right to religion, to livelihood and even to what they eat.
This book should set to rest lazy assumptions about Indian Muslims, and women in particular. Even as it highlights the dominant concerns of Indian Muslims—security, employment, education, housing—it also underlines their abiding faith in Indian democracy and its pluralistic ethos. A memoir that defies old assumptions and prejudices, Azadi’s Daughter is an important account of Indian Muslims in the modern world.
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing date: July 2018
Edna Fernandes was born in Nairobi to parents of Goan origin and grew up in London, where she lives. She was special correspondent for Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and political correspondent for Reuters. Her first book, Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism, was a finalist for UK’s 2008 Index on Censorship Award and was nominated for the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Best Book Award. Her second book, The Last Jews of Kerala, was shortlisted for the 2009 Crossword Book Award and was a Sunday Times Travel Book of the Year.
Razi Azmi has lived in six countries across five continents and has visited many more, making a total of ninety-six. He has studied at universities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia and the United States, getting his PhD in modern history from Miami University, Ohio. An academic affiliated with Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad (Pakistan), he has also taught at universities in the US and Morocco. Finally settling down in Australia, he retired after many years of service with the government there. In retirement, he travels as often as possible. When not travelling, he works part-time as a translator and interpreter in five languages. Dr Azmi is the author of two books, dozens of research papers and hundreds of newspaper articles. He is married with two sons and four grandchildren.
Amit Basole is Associate Professor of Economics at Azim Premji University, Bangalore where he also heads the Centre for Sustainable Employment. He is the lead author of State of Working India, a periodic report on India’s labour market. Urdu poetry as well as history and architecture of the Indian subcontinent are his passions.
Friedrich Engels, an illustrious German philosopher, social scientist and journalist, was born on November 28, 1820 in Barmen, Rhine province, Prussia. He is considered as the closest collaborator of Karl Marx in the foundation of modern communism. Although born to an affluent German businessman, Engels received little formal education. But his inquisitive potential developed in him a fancy for Hegel who influenced him the most later on. In 1845, Engels published ‘The Conditions of the Working Class’, his first notable communist treatise which introduced him to another revolutionary communist, Karl Marx. Same year, Engels went to Brussels to join Marx in organizing the German workers like the French and English workers were uniting. They became members of the German Communist League and were asked to draft a manifesto for the organization, which is now widely known as the Communist Manifesto. Thereafter, they worked together till Marx’s death in 1883, with Engels editing the second and third volumes of the famous Das Kapital after his friend’s death. Marx regarded him as highly informed on economics, political and military issues. Friedrich Engels died on August 5, 1895 in London, England