With more than 150 million people, Muslims are the largest Indian minority but are facing a significant decline in socio-economic as well as political terms - not to say anything about the communal waves of violence that have affected them over the last 25 years. In India's cities, these developments find contrasted expressions. While Muslims are everywhere lagging behind, local syncretic cultures have proved to be resilient in the South and in the East (Bangalore, Calicut, Cuttack). In the Hindi belt and in the North, Muslims have met a different fate, especially in riot-prone areas (Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jaipur, Aligarh) and in the former capitals of Muslim states (Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Lucknow). These developments have resulted in the formation of Muslim ghettos and Muslim slums in places like Ahmedabad and Mumbai. But (self-)segregation also played a role in the making of Muslim enclaves, like in Delhi and Aligarh, where traditional elites and the new Muslim middle class searched for physical as well as cultural protection through their regrouping. This book supplements an ethnographic approach of Muslims in 11 Indian cities with a quantitative methodology in order to give a first hand account of an untold story.
Laurent Gayer is Research Fellow at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), currently posted at the Centre de sciences humaines (CSH), Delhi. Christophe Jaffrelot is Director of CERI (Sciences Po, Paris) and the author of several acclaimed books on South Asia published by Hurst.