Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

TISS Patna Centre's Lecture Series on Justice, Lecture - 7


Aug. 12, 2021

Venue: Online

Polarising the Socio-Political Space and/amidst the Pandemic

Mohammad Sajjad 

Professor, Centre of Advanced Study in History, Aligarh Muslim University


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This discussion centres around the treatment meted out to the Muslim citizens by the Indian state and society during the COVID-19 pandemic in India in 2020. This had followed the protests against India’s citizenship laws, and communal violence in eastern parts of the capital city of Delhi, in February. By late March 2020, the COVID-19 spread came to be blamed upon a sub-sect of Sunni Muslims called Tablighi Jama’at with its headquarters (Markaz) in Delhi. The blame put on the Tablighi Jama’at should be contrasted with the state’s facilitative efforts towards the Kumbh in Haridwar in 2021, which resulted in massive COVID infections, as reported by many national and international newspapers. Though the judiciary subsequently exonerated the Tablighi people, the prejudice of the Indian state, in sections of its popular media, and society is evident. In this series of events, the state's approach towards a section of its own citizens has come under serious scrutiny. The issue of justice has a new, growing religious dimension along with old caste, class, gender, and other dimensions. This goes against the constitutional values of equal treatment to all citizens irrespective of faith, caste, creed, gender and ethnicity. This has its own short-term and long-term implications; hence, worth discussing.

About the Speaker

Mohammad Sajjad currently serves as a Professor in the Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. He has a doctorate in late-colonial politics of Bihar’s Muslims. His publications include Muslim Politics in Bihar: Changing Contours. Routledge (Taylor & Francis), London/Delhi, 2014/2018 (Reprint) and Contesting Colonialism and Separatism: Muslims of Muzaffarpur since 1857. Primus, Delhi, 2014. He has published research essays in top tier journals; and is a regular/occasional columnist for the Rediff.Com, The Hindu, Economic Times, and other media fora, including Radio/TV talks. Prof. Sajjad teaches postgraduate courses on late-colonial and Post-Independence Indian history.

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