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Modern Intellectual History, 3, 3 (2006), pp. 443472 C 2006 Cambridge University Press doi:10.

1017/S1479244306000874 Printed in the United Kingdom

scientism and its discontents: the indo-muslim fascism of inayatullah khan al-mashriqi*
markus daechsel
School of History and Classics, University of Edinburgh

This essay offers a detailed reconstruction of the thought of Inayatullah Khan alMashriqi, a camp-follower of fascism in inter-war India who sought to reformulate Islam as a Religion of Science according to the precepts of Darwinian evolutionism. Mashriqi has so far been neglected because his political impact was only short-term and did not contribute to the larger story of decolonization in India and Pakistan. But far from being marginal, Mashriqis philosophical ruminations actually provide a window for a much-needed re-evaluation of the meaning of colonial modernity. While there was much in Mashriqis writing that conforms to the usual picture of anticolonial nation-buildinghis obsession with the truth of science, for instance, and his emphasis on disciplinary political methodologiesthe by now standardized critique of such features in the postcolonial literature no longer sufces. Behind a faade of c continuities with nineteenth-century Enlightenment traditions stood a much darker vision of modernity that no longer had any recourse to the certainties of a grand narrative of modernization. Instead, it was a vision that uctuated between mystical exuberance and deep pessimism. The only sense of certainty was provided by a radical notion of emotional authenticity and a related belief in quasi-religious leadership gures. The larger conclusion to be drawn from the dualistic and contradictory structure of Mashriqis fascism is that the intellectual history of inter-war South Asia needs to be given relative autonomy from the standard nationalismmodernization narrative, for rather than the continuation of an earlier modernity, it should be interpreted as the starting point of a new and much darker formation that arguably continues into the present.

Inayatullah Khan (18881963), al-Mashriqi, was a camp-follower of European fascism who stood out from similarly inclined South Asians by virtue of his serious ideological engagement. He was most famous for the Muslim paramilitary movement he created in direct correspondence, or rather (as he

I am deeply grateful to the critical input of Peter Hartung, Francis Robinson, Rajarshi Dasgupta and the members of the seminar at CSSSC (Kolkata); to the three anonymous readers whose comments were most helpful in revising an earlier draft; and most of all to the steady encouragement and critical prodding of Nick Phillipson without whom this article would have probably never been nished.


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would put it with his characteristic sense of self-importance) in anticipation, of the Nazis. But there was more to his fascism1 than uniformed displays and spectacular militarismfeatures that were actually rather common in the political culture of the late colonial period. Mashriqi also produced a corpus of writings2 in which he laid out a deeply troubled Weltanschauung that combined elements of Darwinian evolutionary science with a cult of the will to power. His central concern was to reinterpret Islam in such a way that it became acceptable to the likes of Adolf Hitler, from whom, incidentally, he claimed to have personally received an endorsement of his most important book.3 Although Mashriqis contemporaries noted his fascism with fascinationand in the case of the colonial government and some Islamic scholars with considerable disquietthis fame did not last.4 Mashriqis political movement collapsed with the demise of

3 4

I use the term in inverted commas to bypass an ultimately sterile debate amongst scholars of European fascism about whether fascism can indeed exist in the non-West. The often ill-informed and tautological consensus appears to be that it cannot. An exception is Roger Eatwell, Towards a New Model of Generic Fascism, Journal of Theoretical Politics 4 (1992), 16194. Arguing for an Italy only approach is Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideologyfrom Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). Both Roger Grifn (The Nature of Fascism (London: Routledge, 1993), 157) and Stanley Payne (A History of Fascism, 19141945 (London: UCL Press, 1995) 353) include Nazism but are categorical about the impossibility of proper fascism in the non-West. Michael Mann (Fascists (Cambridge: CUP 2005), 3714) keeps this possibility theoretically open (it appears possible from his course of argument, but only in order not to disallow the denunciatory use of Islamo-Fascism for the enemies of the US and Israel) but ends up dismissing the fascist character of all potential existing contenders. The following items have been extensively used in this article: al-Tazkirah, his magnum opus, originally published in Amritsar in 1924; here quoted from the rst two of the three-volume 12th edition of Lahore, 1980, containing a reprint of the original as well as substantial explanatory materialhenceforth TK I and TK II; his main political exposition Qaul-e Faisal (Lahore: al-Tuzkiva Publ. 1935)henceforth QF; articles in his journal al. Isl h, collected in Maq l t (Lahore 1938)henceforth M; nally one of his late works in aa . a. English, Human ProblemA Message to the Knowers of Nature (1952), henceforth HP. All translations into English, unless otherwise noted, are my own. See note 29 below for references. The colonial government compiled numerous les about his activities amongst which the following are useful for quick reference. NAI: Files (Home Political) 92/39; 4/1/40; 28/5/46. OIOC: L/P&J/5 series, Fortnightly Reports for Punjab and U.P., 19381944. Clerical responses to Mashriqi are included in NAI, File (Home Political) 4/1/40; also in Martin Riexinger, Sanaullah Amritsari (18681948) und die Ahl-i-Hadis im Punjab unter Britischer Herrschaft (W rzburg: Ergon, 2005), 31518. The two pioneers of the study of modern u Islam in South Asia, W. C. Smith and J. M. S. Baljon, both dedicated a substantial part of their work to Mashriqi and placed him on a par with gures that have stood the test of time much better. See W. C. Smith, Modern Islam in India (London: Gollancz, 1944) 23545; J. M. S. Baljon, Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation (Leiden: Brill 1961), 1013,

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its foreign role models; after the 1950s virtually nobody amongst historians has seen a need to take the man or his thought very seriously.5 This essay is meant to demonstrate that this is an oversight far more important than the simple neglect of a gure that on moral terms perhaps deserves to remain in the dustbin of history. Mashriqis philosophyif one can call it thatrequires attention from the intellectual historian because it opens up new questions about the relationship between metropolitan and colonial discourses of modernity that have not been seriously explored. The colonial and postcolonial perspective on the rst half of the twentieth century has so far precluded a serious engagement with fascism in the non-West. The story of how the people of South Asia managed to throw off foreign rule and how they struggled to create a modernity of their own design does not permit the same sense of fundamental unease that the experience of Auschwitz and the Second World War brought for many Europeans. The issue here is not so much that the South Asian literature lacks a critical engagement with modernity as suchit most certainly does not6 but that it assumes without
37, 52, 55, 73, 767, 85, 912, 97, 1004. Baljon also exchanged letters with Mashriqi. For another excellent sketch of Mashriqis movement written by one of his contemporaries see Phillips Talbot, The Khaksar Movement, Indian Journal of Social Work 2, 2 (Sept. 1941), 185202. Most standard histories of twentieth-century Indian history mention Mashriqi only in passing or not at all. More problematically, there is also no reference to him in the standard history of modern Islam in South Asia: Aziz Ahmad, Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan 18571964 (London: OUP, 1967). Leaving aside a number of other minor personalities such as Ghulam Jilani Barq and Khalifa Abd al-Hakim (ibid., 2057, 2337), Ahmad dedicates full chapters to both Abul Kalam Azad (chap. 9) and G. A. Parvez (chap. 13). Both were creative and important thinkers, but neither was any more relevant than Mashriqi in terms of long-term intellectual legacy or political inuence. The two most extensive studies on Mashriqiboth primarily concerned with his politicsare Amalendu De, The History of the Khaksars in India, 2 vols. (Kolkata: Parul Prakashani, 2006), which is an English translation and revision of his much earlier work in Bengali; and the more recent Muhammad Aslam Malik, Allama Inayatullah MashriqiA Political Biography (Karachi: OUP, 2000) These aside there are some sporadic articles, for instance Iftikhar Malik, Regionalism and Personality Cult? Allama Mashriqi and the Tehreek-iKhaksar in pre-1947 Punjab, in I. Talbot and Gurharpal Singh, eds., Region and Partition Bengal, Punjab and the Partition of the Subcontinent (Karachi: OUP, 1999), 429; as well as a number of writings in Urdu and English produced by the remnants of his long-defunct movementfor a bibliography see their website at http://www.allamamashriqi.info. Finally there is a Magister Artium dissertation on Mashriqi by Jamal Malik, University of Bonn, which I have not seen for this article, but some of whose content was verbally communicated to me by its author. The literature is too substantial to provide more than a few classic works here: Ashis Nandy, The Intimate Enemy (Delhi: OUP, 1983); the ongoing Subaltern Studies series (Delhi: OUP, 1982); Partha Chatterjee, Nationalism in the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse (London: ZED, 1986); The Nation and its Fragments (Delhi: OUP, 1993); Gauri Visvanathan,

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much questioning that this modernity is essentially a continuation of what is often called Enlightenment rationality. There exists an unbroken narrative that leads from the foundation of the colonial regime to the catch-up modernization of the immediate postcolonial era; in personal terms, from Macaulay to Nehru, orin the Muslim Pakistani casefrom the liberal reformist Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan to the benevolent dictatorship of General Ayub Khan. In consequence, political and intellectual critiques of coloniality and postcoloniality typically draw from a body of theories reliant on nineteenth-century paradigms: Foucaldian governmentality, Marxian critiques of capitalist oppression or a Saidian play with cultural imperialism and subalternity. What the study of a person like Mashriqi can demonstrate is that this type of modernitywith its belief in state, science, discipline and bourgeois societywas not the only one that counts in the late colonial context. From the inter-war period onwards, there was another modernity, which operated with radical ideas of auto-poetic selfhood and a fundamental unease about the certainties of Enlightenment progress. Like other fascists, Mashriqi was not entirely at home in either form of modernity. In fact, he frantically tried to reconcile the older Enlightenment legacy with the new modernity of self-expression through a cult of political activism. The main purpose of this essay is to demonstrateby means of a reconstruction of the different and ultimately fundamentally contradictory strands in his thinking that dark modernity had cast a shadow even over the most determined attempts to appropriate light modernity in the context of anti-colonial nation-building. The exposition falls into four sections: the rst offers an overview of Mashriqis life and the political and intellectual context of his time; the second contains a reconstruction of his main idea of Islam as a religion of science; the third identies a hidden dualism and a mystical methodology in Mashriqis selfacclaimed belief in science; the fourth, nally, argues that behind Mashriqis fascism stood a world view of radical self-expression that had in fact broken all links to the Enlightenment project of national self-strengthening, which so dominated the surface of Mashriqis thought.

hitlers indo-muslim schoolmaster

Inayatullah Khan was born in 1888 near Amritsar, a trading city in the British Indian province of Punjab. One contemporary remembered his family as one of silk merchants;7 according to another (and not necessarily contradictory)
Masks of Conquest (Delhi: OUP, 1998); Gyan Prakash, Writing Post-orientalist Histories of the Third World: Perspectives from Indian Historiography, Comparative Studies in Society and History 32, 2 (1990), 383408; idem, Another Reason (Princeton: Publisher, 1999); Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). Riexinger, Sanaullah Amritsari, 315.

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account, his father was a medium-level government employee and petition writer who also received a moderate income from agricultural land. He was also a man of letters, publishing political poetry and a local newspaper, as well as entertaining relationships with several important literati of his day.8 As was common amongst educated and urban Muslims in North India, the family claimed noble ancestry going back to the reign of the seventeenth-century emperor Aurangzeb. Such pretensions were part and parcel of a peculiarly Muslim ethos of middle-class selffashioning. While the present was lamented as a catastrophic cultural and political decline, new generations were saddled with the burden of recapturing lost groundnot necessarily by rebuilding Muslim Imperialism in South Asia, but by competing successfully with an emerging Hindu elite that was widely perceived to have overtaken Muslims in making the most of changed political circumstances. These were the days when the British Raj in India appeared permanent, when local elites and ambitious intermediate sections of society were tempted into adopting a loyalist or gradualist political outlook in exchange for the increasing educational and employment opportunities offered by the colonial regime. The rapid expansion of the government machinery at all levels of administration created a rising demand for anglophone civil servants, accountants, engineers, teachers and lawyers. As a spin-off, the non-state sectorparticularly the elds of banking and publishingunderwent similar processes of growth that soon led to the establishment of a new white-collar stratum.9 All religious communitiesMuslims, as well as Hindus and Sikhsdeveloped new forms of religious ideology that sought to make their respective traditions compatible with some measure of westernization. The central concern was to advocate the benets of modern educationbased on the new social and natural sciences and conveyed in English mediumwhile simultaneously safeguarding some sense of cultural autonomy and authenticity.10 Amongst Muslims, the most important voice of reformism was that of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (181798). A
8 M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, 13; Syed Shabbir Hussain, ed., Inayat Ullah Khan al-Mashriqi, Quran and Evolution (Islamabad: al-Mashriqi Foundation, 1987), Introduction, 1315. Markus Daechsel, The Politics of Self-Expression: The Urdu Middle-Class Milieu of Mid-20th Century India and Pakistan (London: Routledge, 2006) 315. Richard G. Fox, Urban Class and Communal Consciousness in Colonial Punjab: The Genesis of Indias Intermediate Regime, Modern Asian Studies 18, 3 (1984), 15989. Ian Kerr, Social Change in Lahore 18491875, Journal of Indian History 57, 23 (1979), 281302; Urbanization and Colonial Rule in 19th Century India: Lahore and Amritsar 18491881, Punjab Past and Present 14, 1 (1980). Kenneth W. Jones, Arya dharm: Hindu Consciousness in 19th-Century Punjab (Delhi: Manohar, 1976); Harald Fischer-Tin` , Die Gurukul Kangri oder die Erziehung der Arya e Nation (W rzburg: Ergon, 2003); Harjot Oberoi, The Construction of Religious Boundaries: u Culture, Identity and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition (Delhi: OUP, 1994) C. H. Heimsath, Indian Nationalism and Hindu Social Reform (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964).


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Delhi notable of towering inuence, he had been knighted for his advocacy of political loyalism and his efforts at establishing educational institutions in which a new modern Muslim middle class could be bred.11 Sir Sayyids reformulation of religious doctrine along rationalist lines developed in correspondence with similar attempts elsewhere in the Muslim world, most importantly the Egyptian scholar Muhammad Abduh and his al-Manar circle.12 The basic assumption of nineteenth-century reformism was that the Holy Scripture of Islam was as absolutely true as the book of natureshorthand for the discoveries of the natural sciences. Since any contradiction between the two was ruled out per denition, wherever one appeared to exist it had to be resolved through better methods of textual exegesis. Anything miraculous and apparently unscientic was explained away. The Prophet Muhammads nocturnal journey to heaven was reinterpreted as a dream sequence, for instance, while accounts of spirit beings (jinn) transmuted into prescientic descriptions of microbes. At the same time every attempt was made to prove that any new scientic doctrine emerging in the West was actually already anticipated in the Holy Book. This included often supercial and ill-digested references to the doctrines of Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer and other evolutionists.13 The young Inayatullah Khan proved a role model for the kind of educational advancement that both the British and the religious reformers had advocated. After doing exceedingly well in a number of well-regarded missionary and government schools and colleges in the Punjab, he was sent to Cambridge on a government scholarship. There he took, for reasons unknown, no less than four tripos (oriental languages, mathematics, engineering, sciences), which brought him the admiration of the British press.14 On his return to India before the First World War he joined the colonial education establishment, climbing to the upper-medium ranks of vice-principal, Islamia College Peshawar; junior assistant secretary for education, government of India; and nally headmaster of Government High School, Peshawar.


12 13


David Lelyveld, Aligarhs First Generation (Delhi: OUP, 1996), Francis Robinson, Separatism amongst Indian Muslims (Cambridge: CUP, 1974), 84133. Hafeez Malik, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Muslim Modernization in India and Pakistan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980). Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (Cambridge: CUP 1983), 130244. Ignaz Goldziher, Die Richtungen der Islamischen Koranauslegung (Leiden: Brill, 1920), 351 60. J. M. S. Baljon, The Reforms and Religious Ideas of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (Leiden: Brill, 1949) 507, 89. Christian W. Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan: A Reinterpretation of Muslim Theology (New Delhi: Vikas, 1978) chap. 5. Najm A. Bezirgan, The Islamic World, in Thomas F. Glick, ed., The Comparative Reception of Darwinism (Chicago 1988), 37586. M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, 4.

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Inayatullahs education was in many ways formative for his subsequent career as a thinker and political activist. First, it gave him an academic, but strongly anticlerical, grounding in the classical sources of Islam. His was the knowledge of the a orientalist, not that of the traditional religious specialists (c ulam ) with whom Inayatullah entertained a relationship of mutual dislike until his death. Second, it is not difcult to see cross-references between Mashriqis later social Darwinism and a number of popular European books that were published and discussed during the time he was in Britain. The years between 1907 and 1912 coincided with a period of transition in evolutionist thinking within the European context: an individualistic, liberal, positivist and sometimes pacist belief in science epitomized by Herbert Spencermutated into a melange of social Darwinist and post-Darwinist doctrines.15 Often drawing on a strong sense of cultural unease and anticipating the catastrophe of the coming world war, authors such as W. M. Flinders Petrie, Arnold White and the (much-translated) German General Friedrich von Bernhardi stressed collective warfare and metahistorical tragedy. On the opposite end of the political and emotional spectrum stood Henri Bergsons seminal work The Evolution of Creation, published and translated during Inayatullahs rst year at Cambridge. Bergson offered a critique as well as an extension of Darwinian evolutionism into some form of philosophical mysticism that was to become one of the main elements in Mashriqis own oeuvre.16 Only a few years olderand, thanks to its antic-clericalism and positive appreciation of Islam, especially attractive to somebody like the student Inayatullahwas Ernst Haeckels The Riddle of the Universe, which also combined a fervent belief in scientism with some form of mysticism.17 The third and perhaps most important consequence of Inayatullah Khans academic training was that he maintained the mindset of a science student. The discipline that he thought described him best was mathematics. Although often referring to history and philosophy in his writings, he was never really an intellectual in the humanities tradition. References to English literature and cultureso common in the diction of foreign-educated Indiansare conspicuous by their absence. Most peculiar for a man with such an educational track record, he never became entirely comfortable with articulating himself in
15 As argued for the rst time in the US context in Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought 18601915 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1945); a more nuanced interpretation is in Paul Crook, Darwinism, War and History: The Debate over the Biology of War from the Origin of Species to the First World War (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), 2006. Mashriqi took up the Bergsonian notion of a science of life as opposed to a science of matter, for instance. HP, 910; Leszek Kolakowski, Henri Bergson (Oxford: OUP, 1985), 89, 5371. Haeckel is directly mentioned in TK II, 8, 18.



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the colonizers language. The vast majority of his subsequent publications were written in an often overly erudite Urdu, while his few tracts in English betray a halting and formulaic style.18 It is not difcult to link Inayatullahs intellectual preferences to his origins in the upwardly mobile service stratum. He may have been a brilliant student who did better than could ever have been expected of somebody of his background, but he was also an upstart who had to make up for his lack of westernized sophistication with a erce belief in the superiority of objective scientic knowledge. The mastery of science became the pillar of his sense of self-worthsomething that is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that he attached no less than fourteen lines of degree abbreviations, awards and fellowships in international learned bodies to his name when he introduced himself in writing.19 Inayatullah Khans rst appearance in the political and religious arena of Muslim India came with the publication of the rst volume of al-Tazkirah, his self-ascribed magnum opus, in 1924. This book already contained all the main points of his religious doctrine that were to remain remarkably constant until the end of his life: evolutionary biology provided a key to a correct interpretation of the Quran, whichif translated into political actionwould safeguard the historical future of mankind in general and the Muslim community in particular. This was also the time when Inayatullah adopted the pen name al-Mashriqi the Orientalist or the Sage of the Eastby which he was to be known until his death. As a sign of his overwhelming ambition right from the beginning of his intellectual career, Mashriqi attempted to submit his book for the Nobel Prize for Literature, as he saw it as a recipe for the prevention of all future bloodshed.20 Mashriqis real breakthrough occurred a decade later, after he had changed his primary role from intellectual writer to political activist. Directly inspired by world events, he began to emphasize a militant social Darwinist reading of his evolutionist theology. The paramilitary movement that he founded upon a a his retirement from government service in 1931the Kh ks rscreated a stir

18 19


Most of Mashriqis books in English are actually translations of excerpts from his Urdu writings. The list attached to his name in Human Problem begins as follows: M.A. (Pun. 1906), M.A. (Cantab.), B.Sc., B.E., B.O.L. FRSA, F.G.S. (Paris), F.S.A. (Paris), F.Ph.I, I.E.S., Wrangler Foundation Scholar, Bachelor Scholar, (Christs), Four (Class 1 etc [sic]) Triposes; broke records of Punjab and Cambridge Universities, Principal Islamia College . . . The submission was rejected, reportedly on the grounds that al-Tazkira was not in an eligible European language. M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, 911. The two submissions translating and summarizing the contents of the Arabic introduction to alTazkirah were submitted, one by Berthe Proskauer, one of Mashriqis German friends whose language abilities are doubtful, the second by Sahibzadu Aftab Ahmad Khan. Reprinted in M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi.

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in late colonial politics and received widespread admiration in middle-class and petty bourgeois circles all over Muslim North India. Clad in khaki uniforms and following strict military discipline, Mashriqis organization appeared in many ways to be the Indian equivalent of Mussolinis Fascisti or the Nazi Sturmabteilung. The distinctive symbol by which they became famous was the spade, which the activists presented like a rie in parades and used as a weapon in street ghts with the police. The heydays of the movement was the years between 1935 and 1940, when they got involved in several carefully orchestrated stand-offs with a a government power. The essence of Kh ks r political action was the creation of public spectacles in which both participants and bystanders could experience sensations of collective empowerment. On more concrete political questions they tended to remain vague.21 Mashriqis social Darwinism, its political manifestation in a paramilitary volunteer movement and his pronounced leadership pretensions were hardly unique within the context of post-First World War India. This was a time of unprecedented political mass mobilization, of unbound promise as well as great uncertainty, when a whole generation of new political leaders was made. By the time of the Second World War paramilitary volunteer movements had proliferated to such an extent in India that there was hardly any political party or constituency without one.22 Despite some ideological differences, there were a a immediate similarities between the Kh ks rs and the extreme Hindu nationalists of the Rashtriyya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), as well as with the Bengali radical Subhas Chandra Bose, who left the Indian National Congress to organize military resistance to the British during the Second World War.23 Within the context of Muslim politics, Mashriqi was arguably the most coherently social Darwinist voice, but his concern with militaristic self-strengthening and his rhetoric of Islamic glory continued a tradition that had become well established since the early 1910s.24 By the 1930s the ideological pull of fascismand of great dictators

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More on Kh ks r politics can be found in De, History of the Khaksars. a a NAI, File (Home Political) 4/50/46; also see Daechsel, Politics of Self-Expression, 6781; Ian Talbot, Popular Dimensions of the Pakistan Movement (Karachi: OUP, 1998) 5980; Gail Minault, The Khilafat Movement (Delhi: OUP, 1982), 120, William Gould, Hindu Nationalism and the Language of Politics in Late Colonial India (Cambridge: CUP, 2004), 23464. See Christophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India (London: Hurst, 1996), 1179; Leonard Gordon, Brothers against the Raj (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990). In particular associated with the early career of Abul Kalam Azada man directly connected to a newspaper edited by Mashriqis father. On Azads role as a journalist see Ian Douglas, Abul Kalam Azad, ed. Gail Minault and Christoph Troll (Delhi: OUP, 1993); for the wider context see Minault, The Khilafat Movement.

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more generallywas so strong that people like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Pilsudski received more attention in Urdu glossy magazines than the British functionaries who actually wielded power over India.25 Various forms of scientism and historical evolutionism not only lled countless pages in the press, but also cropped up in various unexpected places in academic discourse.26 Arya Samaj Hindus and Tamil nationalist publicists (amongst others) resorted to ideas of ancient prehistoric origins and the dynamic battle of civilizations to buttress their identities.27 Mashriqis ideological and organizational project developed in conscious reference to European models, particularly National Socialism in Germany. Not only did Mashriqi translate the standard abridged version of Mein Kampf, then commonly available, from English into Urdu, he also travelled to Germany where he claimed to have met the F hrer in person. Recounting the encounter (which u took place in 1926 and therefore some years before Hitler became world famous), Mashriqi wrote,
If I had known that this was the very man who was to become Germanys saviour I would have fallen around Hitlers neck, but on the occasion I was engaged in small talk and tried to nd out what he understood about Germanys weakness at the time. Professor [Weil, the host] said, introducing Hitler to me: This is also a very important man, an activist from the Workers Party. We shook hands and Hitler said, pointing to a book that was lying on the table: I had a chance to read your al-Tazkirah. Little did I understand at that time, what should have been clear to me when he said these words!28

What Mashriqi meant by the last sentence was that he believed that he had in fact inspired Hitlers own programme of national self-strengthening. His account continued,
The astonishing similaritiesor shall we say the unintentional similarity between two aa great mindsbetween Hitlers great book and the teachings of my Tazkirah and Ish r t embolden me, because the fteen years of struggle of the author of My Struggle have now actually led his nation back to success. But only after leading his nation to the intended goal, has he disclosed his movements rules and obligations to the world; only after fteen years has he made the means of success widely known. It is possible that he has arrived at those means and doctrines by trial and error, but it should be absolutely clear that Mashriqi [referring to himself in the third person] has identied those means

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Daechsel, Politics of Self-Expression, 1334. An example is Brij Narain, India in the Crisis (Allahabad: Publisher, 1934); for examples in newspapers and magazines see Daechsel, The Politics of Self-Expression, 13941. For examples in the Urdu milieu see Daechsel, The Politics of Self-Expression, 13941. For an example from the Tamil Lands see Sumathi Ramaswamy, Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004). Al-Isl h (31 May 1935). M, 221. . a.

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and doctrines in al-Tazkirah a full nine years and in the Isharat a full three years before the success of the Nazi movement, simply by following the shining guidance of the Holy Quran.29

This statement sums up the very heart of Mashriqis Muslim fascism: he suggested that Islamif only properly understood from a social Darwinist frameworkwould reveal itself to be identical to the most successful national self-strengthening programme of the inter-war eraNazism; he also believed that this grand discovery was entirely his own, and would enable him to lay claim to extraordinary powers of religious and political leadership. Mashriqis political prominence did not survive the Second World War. The growth of the All India Muslim League as a collective platform for Muslim a a nationalism in British India eroded the Kh ks r support base. By the time an independent Muslim homeland (Pakistan) was founded in 1947 Mashriqi and his movement had become all but irrelevant politically. Attempts at a revival during the troublesome early years of independence largely failed. Although Pakistans rst military government sometimes tried to invoke Mashriqis ideas of a military Islam, he died in relative obscurity in 1963.30 This decline was due to the fact that Mashriqi did not supply persuasive answers to the concrete political problems of the day; it was not a comprehensive rejection of his wider intellectual ideas, which were eagerly soaked up as well as reinterpreted by othersmost immediately by later proponents of a scientic Islam such as J. A. Parvez and Ghulam Jilani Barq, but also in a more diffused form amongst the new Islamicist right.31

prophet of a scientic islam

Mashriqis problematicas laid out in al-Tazkirahwas dened by the realization that religious knowledge was by denition contentious a and fragmentary, while scientic knowledge (c ilm al-abd n)32 represented undisputed fact (waqic al-amr).33 If religion was not to be written off as mere superstitionan option that would effectively leave human beings in a world without sense or moralitythen it had to be reconstructed in such a way that it acquired the same absolute truth-claim that science itself enjoyed. In proving

29 30 31

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Ibid. emphasis in the original. Bio-sketch attached to Al-Tazkirah. TK I, 301. On Parwez see Aziz Ahmad, Islamic Modernism, chap. 13; on Barq see ibid., 2057; also Markus Daechsel, The Civilizational Obsessions of Ghulam Jilani Barq, in Harald Fischer-Tin and Michael Mann, eds., Colonialism as a Civilizing Mission (London: e Anthem Press, 2004), 27090. TK I, 10. TK I, 24.

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that Darwinian biology, as well as modern astronomy and physics, were already contained in the pages of the Holy Quran,34 Mashriqi hoped that Islam could a be turned into a science of religions (c ilm al-ady n)a formulation directly modelled on Ernst Haeckels famous religion of science.35 Islam would thus be transformed from a religious tradition threatened by extinction under conditions of colonial modernity into an unassailable universal truth for humankind.36 This meant that science and religion were located on the same ontological plane. The realm of the sacred was purged of all transcendental elements and entirely recongured in the empirical here and now. Such a move was not entirely alien to Islamic self-understanding. Tradition had always at least partially tied the validity of Muhammads message to world-historical success, and thus made it hostage to changing empirical circumstances. In a key passage of the Quran which came to preoccupy many modern revivalist thinkers, God promises that the Muslim community will be the best of all communities as long as it follows the righteous path and avoided dissensions within (Surah 3:110). The experience of the breathtaking worldwide expansion of Islam within a generation of its foundation provided ample reason for reading this passage as a reference to political dominance. The continuing political decline since the eighteenth century, in contrast, was bound to raise existential questions about the nature of Islamic belief and practice. Mashriqi strengthened the importance of world history as proof for religious truth by employing a somewhat hackneyed technique of textual interpretation. Taking as his starting point another passage of a the Quranthe ayyat al-istikhl f (24:55), promising divine favour to the rightly guidedhe deliberately (mis)translated key concepts of evolutionary biology into an Islamic moralistic vocabulary. The key phrase survival of the ttest was rendered as baq -e aslah37 which literally means the everlastingness of the a . . most righteous. Standard Arabic terminology could thus acquire a secondary and scientic meaning. The biologically t were equated with those who understood Gods message most correctly, and the degree of such tness or righteousness could be proven by real success or failure in world history. While for most other Muslim observers world-historical success or failure was a sign of Gods favour or wrath, and correspondingly of the ummas moral rectitude, for Mashriqi it constituted the kernel of being Muslim itself. Whenever

34 35

36 37

TK I, 21; TK II, footnote, 1127. TK I, 7. Mashriqi used this formulation as well, suggesting that the identication of the two concepts constituted the highest possible form of human knowledge. TK I, 29. On Haeckel see Niles R. Holt, Ernst Haeckels Monistic Religion, Journal of the History of Ideas 32 (1972), 26580. TK II, 35, 20. TK I, 12; TK II, 78.

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he referred to the true Islam that he sought to reconstruct in the political tracts of the 1930s, he used a longish designation that not only contained a conventional reference to Gods revelation and the Prophet Muhammads exemplary conduct, but alsoas some form of quasi-scripturean invocation of the historical experience of Islam during its rst two hundred years.38 As he pointed out time and again in his pamphlets, the truth of Islam could be measured by the rate by which cities and castles were conquered in the glorious early decades after the Prophets death (his straight-faced total estimate is 36.000 castles in 9 years, or 12 per day).39 This historical ideal was quite different from the golden age of early Islam as invoked by orthodox Muslims. What mattered to the latter was immediate access to divine guidance in all aspects of life, an ideal that was most perfectly realized during the lifetimes of the Prophet and his closest companions. For Mashriqi, in contrast, even the mission of the Prophet was primarily historical, and almost paled into secondary signicance as compared to the conquests that took place after his death. As he pointed out,
But, fellow Muslims, the exemplary life of your Prophet has manifested itself on one sheet of supreme importance; even the smallest of your Prophets actions is clearly inscribed in the sheet of history; the action-oriented lifestyle of the Muslims of the rst centuries is written in Golden Letters right in front of your eyes. You know that the Muslims have gone out to the entire world after the demise of our Messenger. They have vowed that after some centuries, they would be victorious over all nations in the world.40

The ipside of this historicist rendition of religion was that the present appeared to Mashriqi as a period of catastrophic and unadulterated failure that could no longer be explained within the context of conventional religious morality. The Muslims manifest lack of political power in the age of imperialism was not only some form of divine punishment for moral misconduct, it was nothing less than complete devalidation which, in due course and according to the law of evolution, would lead to physical annihilation. The Islam of ritually observant Muslims was as profoundly mistaken as any of the other world religions that failed to stand up to the superior truth-claims of science and to the industrial and military might of the secular West.41 Interpreting the unfolding of political history as the self-manifestation of the ultimate scientic truth, Mashriqi was forced to conclude that the most powerful nations of his dayBritain and particularly Germanywere in the possession of the only really valid code of human conduct as demanded by

38 39 40 41

QF, 23, 9, 17. QF, 13; M, 3934. M, 399; emphasis in the original. TK I, 89, 1920.

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the law of evolution. The thin thread with which Mashriqi tied this realization to his Islamic identity was a radical tautological assumption that few of his contemporaries were prepared to make.42 If the claim to absolute truth inherent in Islam as the science of religions was to be maintained, he argued, then the imperial powers and the Nazis had to be regarded as true Muslims, while the real-existing Muslims had in fact ceased to be the carriers of truth altogether. If Napoleon and Bismarck were perfect incarnations of the spirit of Islam, then the latter could only be an anticipation of the lessons of history.43 Mashriqi produced such a reinterpretation by reducing the message of Islam to a set of Ten Principles enshrining the ideals of militaristic nation-building44 while simultaneously dismissing most other aspects of religious moral conduct. Nearly three-quarters of the Quran,45 the Cambridge-educated schoolmaster asserted, are about conquest, holy war and related themes. The Quran promises hellre to all those who do not take part in Jih d bi-l-saif (lit. religious effort with the a sword) or who object to it; on the other hand, God regards participation in battle as a self-sufcient sign of righteousness. In short, To leave the martial way of life is tantamount to leaving Islam.46 The famous ve pillars of Islamthe confession of the oneness of God and Muhammads prophetic mission, the ritual prayer ve times a day, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the giving of alms and the fast in the month of Ramadanwere in Mashriqis eyes all elements of military exercise: the confession of faith really meant that the true Muslim had to forsake all worldly gains in the interest of military revival, prayer (to be performed in uniform and in a regimented way) was a form of military drill, the haj was something like a grand counsel of Muslim soldiers where plans against enemies could be hatched, the fast was a preparation for the deprivations of siege warfare, the giving of alms, nally, was a way of raising funds for Muslim re-armament.47 Mashriqis radical reinterpretation of Scripture targeted much the same customary modes of religious observance that also attracted the ridicule of


43 44 45 46 47

The only other instance when a similar argument was proposed related to the victory of Japan over Russia in 1905, when in Turkey the Young Turks relabelled Buddhists as Muslims in order to appropriate a sense of strength for themselves. Niyazi Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Modern Turkey (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964), 342. Later, the Punjabi scholar Ghulam Jilani Barqa man who resembled Mashriqi in many respects and appears to have widely borrowed from himagain repeated the idea that Westerners could be better Muslims than the Muslims themselves. Ghulam Jilani Barque, IslamThe Religion of Humanity (Lahore: Publisher, 1956), 315. M, 391; TK II, 5, 6, 35. TK II, 578 (2723). M, 400. M, 401; emphasis in the original. M, 396.

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more mainstream middle-class Muslims in South Asiareligiously sanctioned dress and toilet etiquette, the veneration of mystic saints as miracle-workers or interlocutors between mankind and God, the participation in certain community festivals with their associated customs.48 But Mashriqis wrath was not conned to traditional Islam. In almost all of his writings the most powerfully articulated sections invariably contained an absolute rejection of any other source of knowledge and guidance that the Muslim community of India may nd itself compelled to rely on: recipients of torrents of abuse are a the Muslim religious establishmentthe c ulam whom Mashriqi routinely accused of being completely ignorant of modern science and hence incapable of understanding the hidden centre of Gods revelation to mankind;49 others who are severely criticized include liberal reformists, educationists, nationalist politicians, cultural activists and poets.50 Mashriqi revelled in his self-styled role as a hard taskmaster who would fearlessly and tirelessly point out the momentous failings of the Muslim community, and who like other prophets would gladly endure the hostility of an ignorant majority who could not help being provoked by his tirades.51 Mashriqis scientic understanding of Islam led to a far-reaching attack on religious mores that breached the limits of even the most reformist thinkers. Building on the assumption that the Quran essentially contained an ethics of radical nation-building, Mashriqi suggested that the usual cardinal sins of Islam neglect of prayer, drinking alcohol, adultery and so onwere in fact minor in character and should, more or less, be considered private misdemeanours.52 Mashriqis reinterpretation effectively disregarded the example of prophetic conduct (the sunnat) as a source of Islamic law, while simultaneously elevating the evidence gained from a scientic interpretation of history into a new source of divine guidance. In the end, Islam and social Darwinism could be conated into a vision that sounded almost identical to sections of Hitlers Mein Kampfat least in the following paraphrase from al-Tazkirah prepared by some of Mashriqis friends for foreign consumption:
A persistent application of, and action on these Ten Principles is the true signicance of tness in the Darwinian [sic] principle of Survival of the Fittest, and a community of people which carries action on these lines to the very extremist limits has every right to remain a predominant race on this Earth forever, has claim to be the ruler of the world for
48 49 50 51 52 M, 408. QF, 1820; M, 396; TK I, 36, 523. QF, 20, M, 396. QF, 278. M, 4089.

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all time. As soon as any or all of these qualities deteriorate in a nation, she begins to lose her right to remain and Fitter people may take her place automatically under the Law of Natural Selection.53

Despite a great deal of conscious cross-references, Mashriqis social Darwinism remained quite distinct from its Nazi counterpart, however. Mashriqi did not employ race-biological arguments in his rendition of the struggle for survival. His units of analysis are religious civilizations or religiously dened nations, not races. Although references to biology and biological evolution do occur in Mashriqi, there is only a tenuous link between the universe of constant warfare he depicts and typical Darwinian arguments of population pressure and shortage of resources.54 For Mashriqi, perennial warfare was the result of materialistic greed and religious disunity, both of which he accepted as historically given, but emphatically not insurmountable. Conict theory as espoused by Friedrich von Bernhardi or Heinrich von Treitschke55 was only one side of Mashriqis theoretical edice; the other was a curious form of what Paul Crook has called peace biology. This essentially optimistic interpretation of organic and social evolution saw war not as the driving force of the struggle for existence, but as an increasingly obsolete and harmful leftover from a less civilized past.56 Mashriqis al-Tazkirah and his postSecond World War writings often speak of the promise of a glorious future of humankind unied. It was the ultimate mission of the Science of Religions
to make [Man] t to live on this Earth forever, not to let him be swept away in his latest struggle for existence. In fact to make him progress in the scale of Evolution in such a way as to make him even a more perfect creation than man. Nay, to let him work so in this theatre of endless struggle as to make him as omnipotent, as omnipresent, as powerful, as merciful, as Just, as Knowing, as Seeing and as Hearing as God himself.57

The very rst sentence of the Arabic Introduction (Iftitahiyyah) of al-Tazkirah . is a powerful invocation, in imitated Quranic diction, of the truthfulness of the a a. optimistic vision of the world: al-hamdu li-llah al-c azmal-b r al-f tir al-laz . fatara l-sam w t wa-l-ard f ahsan tanzmPraise to the most exalted God a a . . . . the Great Creator who created the Heavens and the Earth as a perfectly ordered
53 54 55 Reprinted in M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah, 243; compare to Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. R. Mannheim (London: Pimlico, 1992), 88. There is a reference to the ill effects of medicine creating population pressure by keeping the least t humans articially alive and thereby hindering natural selection. TK I, 31. The inuence of these Germans on Mashriqi is hypothetical, but made very plausible by the fact that Mashriqi himself expressed opinions about the destructive nature of pacism in Germany that echo these sources very closely. M, 2212. Crook, Darwinism, War and History, 2, 628. Nobel Peace Prize Dossier, Reprinted in M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, 224.

56 57

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structure.58 In Human Problem: A Message to the Knowers of Nature (1952) an open letter that was published and, with typical self-importance, also sent to several of the worlds leading scientistsMashriqi went further to illustrate his optimistic vision of the evolutionary process. A combination of scientic progress and continuous struggle would lead to a gradual biological evolution of the human race. In his own time, he claimed, it could already be observed that Americans were as a rule healthier and more intelligent than Europeans because they were the descendants of the most disadvantaged section of European society that consequently had to struggle the most.59 In the future, the very shape of all human beings would change. As was proven by recent research at high altitudes and in polar regions, many human organs were in fact unnecessary; they could be cast off in the process of evolution and replaced with scientic inventions. The rst to go would be the limbs, followed by the sexual organs:
By radical changes in physical organs Man shall have to chose a much neater, much quicker, all-pervading and overwhelming way of self-production, perhaps akin to that of the original animal when life started, i.e. by constant and interminable ssion in order to become as overwhelming and as near to the Divine way of existence possible.60

Evolution, in other words, would lead to a gradual self-disembodiment and unication of the collective human spirit, which would enable human kind to conquer more and more aspects of the universe around them. The conquest of nature by technology would and should be pursued to the very end of outer space,61 Mashriqi observed, under the impact of the beginnings of a human space programme as well as the UFO scares of the time.62 His vision of the culmination of history deserves to be quoted at some length:
It is conceivablenay, NATURAL and INEVITABLEthat at this stage of the development of this Man, the SUPREME DIVINE INTELLIGENCE that originally created this Universe in millions and millions of years with a PURPOSE and nally ended with HUMAN EYE, HUMAN EAR, and HUMAN BRAIN with a set AIM . . . throws open with a terric Universe-wide Quake the ETERNAL CURTAIN and burst into a UNIVERSEWIDE HANDSHAKE with MAN, greeting HIM with the words WELL DONE!the TWO SPIRITS then UNITE INTO ONE with a terric CRASH in which the whole Universe disappears into complete nothingnessthe Divine Trumpeteers announcing that PURPOSE OF CREATION HAD COME TO A SUCCESSFUL END and THE GREAT EXPERIMENT NOBLY FULFILLED!THE TWO PORTIONS OF ONE SOUL THAT

58 59 60 61 62

TK I, 217; the vocabulary is taken from Quran 35:1, also 6:14, 12:101, 14:10, 39:46, 42:11. HP, 9. HP, 1314. HP, 4. Baljon, Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation, 89.

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Although there are clear references to Quranic eschatology herethe trumpet, the curtainthis vision had little to do with Islam as conceived by the orthodox consensus; the divine is no longer seen as the transcendent creator and law-giver, but split into a world-immanent and a world-transcendent aspect whose ultimate purpose is mystical union. Morality, by implication, is no longer a question of individuals being judged for their action after the rupture of time, but the inner logic of a world-historical process of collective evolution within time. Some of these elements can be traced back to Islamic mysticism, particularly to the highly inuential doctrine of unity of Being (wahdat al-wuj d) attributed to the u . c 64 thirteenth-century scholar Ibn Arabi. Another potential source (or parallel) a is the Neoplatonism of the Brotherhood of Purity (ikhw n as-saf ), a tenth. a century Islamic sect which was much discussed in orientalist circles and whose epistles formed a standard part of the Persian education of Indian ofcials.65 None of these culturally specic precedents are really necessary to account for Mashriqis monist vision, however, as some of his openly acknowledged European sources proposed something very similar. Ernst Haeckelarguably the most inuential of Darwins popularizers in the late nineteenth centurywrote in the context of his own semi-religious project that Pantheism is the world-system of the modern scientist.66 Mashriqis imagery oscillated between two visions of the world. On the one hand was the social Darwinist universe of fearthe realization that Muslims had no special place in the merciless game of survival of the ttest, and ultimately that there was no moral meaning in the unfolding of history at all; on the other hand there was his boundless optimism that the world was inherently good, andonce

63 64



HP, 15; all capitals in the original; in part also quoted in Baljon, Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation, 97. On c Ibn Arabi see Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975), 26373. Such parallels have sometimes given rise to the conclusion that Mashriqi was really a proponent of Islamic mysticism operating under the then fashionable garb of fascism (e.g. the magisterial dissertation of Jamal Malik, University of Bonn, which the author discussed with me in a personal communication). I remain sceptical about such explanations because they not only ignore more immediate sources of Mashriqis monism, but also fail to acknowledge the explicitly anti-Su stance that he took in his writings, and which is typical of the wider views in his social milieu. For more on their philosophical position see Goldziher, Die Richtungen der Islamischen Koranauslegung, 18696. A translation for the use of colonial ofcials is The Ikhwan-ussuffa; A Translation into English by Joseph Wall (Lucknow: Newul Kishore Press, 1889), OIOC, Printed Books 14112.a.37. Ernst Haeckel, Riddles of the Universe (London: Publisher, 1901), 102.

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its inner working was properly understoodcould be completely mastered for the ultimate purpose of human redemption. Even when invoking redemption as the ultimate goal of the evolution of human consciousness through science, Mashriqi was never quite able to silence his doubts about the inevitability of this glorious process. His closing chapter of Human Problem continued on a decidedly darker note than the gushing vision of mystical world-union:
If the above [his vision of the end of history] is not the true and logical picture of what MUST happen SOME DAY, this world is a mockery of the joking DEVIL, an exhibition of the INSANE and a replica of the ABSURD. If this wonderful drama of the Universe is not going to end in this CEREMONY, this world is a TRAVESTY OF FACTS and a PARODY of TRUTH, POWER and INFINITY.67

The switch between the two aspects of the future was in Mashriqis eyes entirely within human control; if they accepted his vision of scientic Islam the worldwide community of Muslims was guaranteed to lead the rest of mankind to Paradise; if they did not, they were guaranteed to be banished to world-immanent hell. Mashriqis stark might-is-right vision of a collective and martial struggle for existence had a precise rhetorical function. By proposing to be somebody who could lead the Muslim community back to the world-conquering power of their early centuries, Mashriqi effectively bracketed off his social Darwinist reading of history as some form of cautionary tale. As self-appointed harsh taskmaster, Mashriqi could use the iron law of evolution in order to demonstrate that the crisis of the Muslim community was no longer amenable to gradualist reform or moralist solutions. The idea that the Nazis may be better Muslims than the Muslims themselves was a way of forcing the community to stare into the abyss that in Mashriqis eyes had opened up before them. But by continuing to equate the law of evolution with what he understood as true Islam, Mashriqi effectively promised a way out of the frightening universe of social Darwinism and back into the comfortable realm of religious certainty and divine election. In stark contradiction to his assertion that Nazis or Americans could be better Muslims than the Muslims themselves, Mashriqi never tired of pointing out that being a world-dominating power was actually the birthright of the Muslim community; in his own words, We Muslims emerge ready to be emperors from our mothers wombs.68 As an ex-post-factum legitimization of the existing empirical state, social Darwinism could be used to open up a space for radical historical voluntarism. If the Muslim community was steeped in radical determination, self-belief and hope against hope, it could once again muster the power thatafter its successful applicationwould appear as a conrmation of

67 68

HP, 15. QF, 15.

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the laws of science. Mashriqis social Darwinism was thus a vehicle for a decidedly un-scientic and un-evolutionist politico-religious ethics.

social darwinism as religious MYSTERIUM

Mashriqis reconciliation of religion and science was as much guided by ideological and political needs as it was the response to a genuine crisis of sensemaking. It is important to note that Mashriqis equation of Islam and evolutionary science was far from immediate or easy. He always rejected the ideacommon to both Christian crisis theology and Muslim theologians like Abul Kalam Azad that matters of reason and matters of faith should be placed on entirely different epistemological planes and, therefore, that they could not really contradict each other.69 Although he replicated many of their arguments, Mashriqi was also very sceptical about the naive belief in a direct correspondence between the Words of God and the Works of God that guided the late nineteenth-century Muslim reformist thinkers. If such a correspondence was as unproblematic as Sir Sayyid or Abduh made it out to be, Mashriqi would not have had a role as the Sage of the East out to save the world, nor would he have to engage in a lifelong publishing effort that took him to the very edge of religious acceptability. Unlike many Darwinian scientists operating in Victorian Britain, Mashriqi did not want to play down the clash between his own vision and established religiosity.70 Like Ernst HaeckelGerman prophet of evolutionary monism and one of Mashriqis sourceshe preferred the impact of science on religious certainty to be as stark as possible, since this helped him to legitimize his own self-acclaimed status as visionary leader and thinker.71 There was indeed a way out of the depths of religious doubt, there was indeed some higher truth that brought science and religion together, but this path of truth was hidden and only accessible through the guidance of a mystical leaderwho for Mashriqi was, of course, none other than himself. In Mashriqis eyes, science had the power of uncovering the universe as a perfectly ordered structure. The perception of the miraculous beauty of Gods programme72 would not only transform the apparent brutality of natural
69 Crook, Darwinism, War and History, 202; James R. Moore, The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 18701900 (Cambridge: CUP, 1979); with reference to Azad see Douglas, Abul Kalam Azad, 2302. Robert M. Young, The Impact of Darwin on Conventional Thought, in Anthony Symondson, ed., The Victorian Crisis of Faith (London: SPCK, 1970), 1335. Alfred Kelly, The Descent of Darwin: The Popularization of Darwinism in Germany, 1860 1914 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), 224, 758. QF, 20.

70 71 72

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law into ultimate justice, it would also once and for all resolve the riddle of divine revelation. The truth that lay buried under the apparent ambiguities and contradictions of the worlds greatest textsthe scriptures of the world religions, as well as the monuments of philosophy and literaturewas one and the same as the truth that the ongoing advance of science would reveal.73, In Mashriqis own words, the ultimate perfection of the Holy Quran
can, if at all, only be put together only in those minds who have got to see every nook and corner of this magnicent cosmos, who have acquired substantial knowledge of the mysteries of the Book of Nature, who have been elevated by the majestic heights of knowledge and the grand vistas of ultimate reality to the higher horizon of the heavens and the stars; who, unperturbed by the technicalities of lowly logic, are pursuing the nality of absolute truth; who are aware of the secret tunes of acceptability in this supreme music of condition and consequence, cause and effect, basis and outcome; who know the hidden melody of the Providential decisions; who, in this apparently unshapely, unguided, unarranged, and tyranneous world of contradictions, nd an amazing balance, surprising justness and harmony, supreme equlibrium and arrangement.74

For Mashriqi, science was essentially some form of esoteric knowledge, as the proliferation of aesthetic metaphors in this passage already indicates; truth is a seen from the majestic heights of knowledge (c ilm k buland-nig h) and the great vistas of ultimate reality (haqqat k wasc -nazar); it constitutes supreme . a u au music (c azm ul-sh n m sq) and a hidden melody (poshdah naw n). . There are countless other expressions in al-Tazkirah with a similar avour: deep knowledge is likened to an ocean without shore (muh. or bahr-e bekar n);75 a . t . the electric candle of scientic knowledge (c ilm k . ahh barq mashc al) would s . . reveal the veiled, courage-destroying, beauty-laden, brilliant and elusive bride a of reality (haqqat k pardah nashn aur t b gusil husn se muzayyan aur tajall be . u niy z c ur s) lying hidden . . . behind [the] ugly and closed windows [of apparent a reality].76 More revealing still, the secret truth of Scripture and science was a coy a u beloved (sharms r mac sh qah), an established term from Indo-Persian poetry denoting both an object of sexual desire and God.77

73 74

75 76 77

TK I, 712, 4041; TK I, 59. TK I, 41, translation partially based on the excerpt reprinted in Syed Shabbir Hussain, ed., Allama Inayatullah Khan al-Mashriqi, Mans DestinyA Mathematicians View of the Breath-Taking Climb that Awaits Man to Reach his Ultimate Destiny (Islamabad: elMashriqi Foundation, 1993), 72. TK I, 39, 85. TK I, 58, 4041. TK I, 41; for more on the use of the ghazal form as expression of the ideal of unrequited love see Ralph Russell, The Pursuit of Urdu Literature (London: ZED Books, 1992), 2652.

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This language points to an epistemology that is different from the conventions of science. The seeker is driven by a desire for the absoluteor, as Mashriqi often enough put it, echoing the Bible, by the wish to meet God face to face.78 The capricious lover, Truth, remains unresponsive, unless and until God Himself grants the seeker the grace of ultimate fullment. The discovery of the beautiful and harmonious universe behind a facade of misery is only ostensibly the result of an evolutionary growth of factual knowledge; what Mashriqi really had in mind was an instant switch from ignorance to knowledge that had its cause outside the process of knowledge production itself. His truth appears or is suddenly and mysteriously illuminated.79 Al-Tazkirah was always much more than a modern commentary on the Quran; it was an attempt to update fundamentally the revelation of Islam itself. Although Mashriqi was careful to deny any prophetic ambitions in several disclaimers both in al-Tazkirah itself and later publications, no careful reader was going to be fooled about the extent of his self-importance.80 One key section of his magnum opus was the lengthy introduction (Iftitahiyyah) written . in Arabic. The diction throughout the piece is not standard prose language, but based on a rhythmic and poetic succession of verses that are meant to resemble the language of the Quran itself. Throughout the text actual quotes from the Quran are interwoven with Mashriqis own writing, creating the impression of a unitary divinely inspired text. Mashriqi was getting very close to denying the most fundamental elements of the Islamic faith here: that the Quran was the unadulterated word of God and that the Prophet Muhammad was the recipient of the nal divine revelation meant to guide mankind until the day of judgment. Mashriqi never questioned any of these tenets, but he created a space for his own world-historical mission by suggesting a continuous prophetic tradition that included not only Muhammad and the Semitic prophets, but also Buddha, Krishna, Aristotle, Bacon and other non-Islamic wise men.81 Mashriqis insistence that the laws of evolution and the lessons of science would lead back to the doorstep of Islam, in other words, was not something


79 80 81

For a rare statement of this idea originally written in English see Syed Shabbir Hussain, Allama Inayatullah Khan al-Mashriqi, Mans Destiny, 17697; more extensively in Mashriq, Hadt al-Qur n (extended reprint, Islamabad: Allama Mashriqi Publishers, 2000 (1952)), a . 1357. Nobel Peace Prize Dossier, reprinted in M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi; also TK I, 42. a Disclaimers in TK I, 59; QF, 131. For reaction of the c ulam see Riexinger, Sanaullah Amritsari, as quoted in footnote 5; M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, 4051. TK I, 40.

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that he could effectively argue. This problem was intricately connected to his dual vision of the world. The analysis of world history with the methodology of straightforward exoteric science would only lead to the damming insight of a world without purpose, a battleeld of all against all.82 For a colonized people even at a time when nationalist mobilization was beginning to bear fruitany talk about survival of the ttest had to be seen as a threat. Not only was the doctrine itself associated with norms and values imported under duress, there was also little question that the European countries, Japan and the US had to be seen as the ttest nations in a time of great and much-admired technological progress. At the same time there was no longer any guarantee that tness would ultimately lead to something good and morally justied. The world of the inter-war period was a dog-eat-dog affair. The struggle against competitors as well as against ones own aspirations for upward social mobility had become all but hopeless after the Great Depression, which hit the salaried middle classes of India particularly hard and led to a skyrocketing of educated unemployment.83 Indian politics, meanwhile, came to be ever more dominated by religious violence, which was eagerly mopped up by newly emerging mass media. Then there was the everpresent danger of another world warwhich many Indians anticipated from the mid-1930s onwards and associated with the possibility of a physical annihilation of their world.84 In such a context, only the select few who shared in the secret code of social Darwinism were in a position to see that a perfect world of innite order existed behind the turmoil of everyday injustice. It is only after the devotee has accepted the existence of a perfect and hidden reality that he or she becomes susceptible to allegedly scientic strategies of interpretation, which demonstrate that everything was indeed sensibly and causally connected to everything else. Mashriqis science was therefore the exact opposite of what it actually claimed to be: not a step-by-step deduction of rules from empirical evidence but the ex post facto rationalization of a prophetic vision that turned fear into a source of supreme power for its originator. The worse the world appeared through the looking glass of social Darwinism, the more it required a saviour like Mashriqi who could prove against all the odds that there really was divine intelligence in all the apparent madness. All this has to be seen in context. Mashriqis claim to leadership short of full prophethood touched a raw nerve amongst mainstream Muslim opinion, but only because it seemed to go further than other common examples of egomania
82 83 84 TK I, 35. Narain, India in the Crisis, 36571; Dietmar Rothermund, India in the Great Depression 19291939 (Delhi: Manohar, 1992), 824, 11920. Daechsel, The Politics of Self-Expression, 1414.

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at the time. Abul Kalam Azadfrom whom Mashriqi had plagiarized both the title al-Tazkirah as well as the stylistic habit of writing Arabic introductions with a heavy dose of Quranic quotations85 had believed in his twenties and early thirties that he was a divinely chosen renewer of Islam. Abul Ac la Mawdudi, the founding father of Islamicism, and Hasan Ali Nadwi, the spokesman of a the Indian c ulam , entertained similar pretensions, while the Punjabi publicist Mirza Ghulam Ahmadto the great detriment of the community he founded actually went all the way to assuming full prophetic status.86 As was the case with so many other aspects of his work, Mashriqis megalomania was only an extreme example of a wider and very common sociological type of late colonial South Asia: the middle-class child prodigy turned schoolmaster, turned autodidactic scholar, turned saviour of the nation.

mashriqis fascism: redemption through suffering

The validating power of scientic discourse could not generate acceptance for Mashriqis vision of a perfectly ordered universe. The believer rst had to glimpse this universeor at the very least trust Mashriqis vision as truthfulbefore the latters arguments could turn into esoteric wisdom, and thus furnish the belief in cosmic harmony with an apparent rational foundation. This raises the crucial question about the source of the personal legitimacythe personal ability to seeof both prophet and devotee. Mashriqi was not particularly successful in generating conventional means of prophetic self-legitimization. As far as such a judgement is possible in retrospect, his personal charisma seems to have been limited. He took a conscious decision not to give public speechesostensibly on the ground that speeches only led to idle talk, not action.87 Attempts to use his personal political pulling power a a in order to revive the faltering fortunes of the Kh ks r movement in the mid1940s failed miserably, and according to contemporary observers made Mashriqi look ridiculous.88 The obsession about contacts with the outside worlda much publicized visit to Einstein, the meeting with Hitler, the proud quotations from the replies he received from leading scientists to his correspondencewere

85 86

87 88

Douglas, Abul Kalam Azad, 103, 1626. For more on the Ahmadiyya sect see Yohanan Friedmann, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992). QF, NN. Som Anand, LahorePortrait of a Lost City (Lahore: Vanguard, 1998), 15366. OIOC, File L/P&J/5/248. Fortnightly Report for Punjab for First Half of September 1945; also interview with Dr Kaniz Fatima Yusuf, a Muslim League youth leader who witnessed such an incident in 1945 (Islamabad 1999).

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desperate means of appropriating the charisma of others. At the same time Mashriqi rejected alternative religious means of legitimization, as they were employed by Hindu holy men and Islamic mystics. There are no stories about Mashriqis spiritual powers, about any signs of election from early childhood, nor are there any accounts of a dramatic experience of awakening later in his life. His obsessive insistence on his scientic erudition foreclosed the self-image of the childlike saint who speaks not on his own behalf but as a vehicle of Gods message. No observer could ever get past Mashriqi, the self-appointed harsh taskmaster, who revelled in his own arrogance. In order to generate trust for the validity of his mission, Mashriqi chose to rely on an ethics of redemption through suffering that remained radically different from his much emphasized insistence on the validity of science. There was, in other words, a transit point at the very centre of Mashriqis intellectual edice, which connected two altogether different world views.89 Their juxtaposition seems to echo Mashriqis alternation between a good and a bad universe, but there is something more fundamental at stake here. A social Darwinist ethics based on the assumption of inexorable Laws of Naturemerciless or benign as a matter of choicewas transformed into an ethics of personal authenticity, which can be summarized as follows: when the proclaimer of truth is principally unable to use the power of argument to persuade others of his calling, he has to turn rejection itself into a surrogate proof of his righteousness. The very fact that he sticks to his message in the face of hostilityand, most importantly, visibly suffers terrible mental and physical hardship as a consequence of his convictionsgenerates a sense that his message must at least be genuine, and therefore in a certain sense true. It was this very logic that stood behind Gandhis doctrine of Satyagraha or truth-force,90 and which the towering poet and philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal (18771938) employed to produce his celebrated reconstruction of Islamic identity as a case of unrequited love for God and his Messenger.91 In his long a poem Shikw (Complaint), rst recited in front of an ecstatic crowd of several tens of thousands Punjabi Muslims in 1908, Iqbal compared God to the precocious and unresponsive object of desire in traditional Indo-Persian love poetry. The Muslims of the world had been genuine in their commitment
89 It is highly possible that a similar switch exists in all forms of social Darwinism, which must place a question mark behind Mike Hawkinss recent attempt to dene social Darwinism with reference to a unitary world view. M. Hawkins, Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, 18601945 (Cambridge: CUP, 1997), 305. David Hardiman, Gandhi in His Times and Ours (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003), 3965; Joe Alter, Gandhis Body: Sex, Diet, and the Politics of Nationalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 2852. On Iqbal see Annemarie Schimmel, Gabriels Wing (Leiden: Brill, 1963).



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to Islam, and yet He had not rewarded them with political or civilizational strength in the world.92 Under these circumstances, rejection is reinterpreted as a source of self-validation. The fact that Muslims continue to love God despite his unresponsiveness actually gives them a sense of pride in the strength and moral authenticity of their own emotions. I would argue that Inayatullah Khans fascism was of crucial importance to his intellectual project because it represented an ideological rendition of that crucial transit point between his belief in science and his belief in salvation through suffering. While incanting the inevitability of success in the language of Darwinian evolutionism, fascism was rst and foremost about creating a practical organizational structure that could institutionalize and aestheticize an ethics of a a emotional authenticity. Although the Kh ks rs certainly saw themselves as the stormtroopers ready to save the Muslim nation, they did not really tie their role to the ability to do battle; rather they wanted to constitute a visible body of Muslims who had cultivated a sense of moral superiority through their experience of paramilitary organization. The secret of their success lay in their ability to produce public spectacles, which encapsulated the fruits of their methodologies of self-purication and made them immediately consumable to members of the a a public. When Kh ks rs participated in public Friday prayers they would do so en masse and dressed in identical outts, performing their obligatory prayer movements with the deliberate jerkiness and precision of a military exercise. a a On the streets Kh ks rs would be seen as a marching column, spades on their shoulders like ries; when holding public meetings or organizing training camps, there would be parades, inspections by ofcers as well as military street furniture such as watchtowers and gates.93 As the colonial authorities understood only too a a well, it was not actual Kh ks r actions that were politically dangerous, but the a a Kh ks rs ability to project the image of a militarized Islam that had successfully appropriated the governments own insignia of power.94 The wearing of uniform and the regular conduct of military training sessions was meant to subject the activists to a rigid form of self-discipline that turned ordinary members of the public into initiates into Mashriqis social Darwinist mysterium. True to any mystical or ascetic tradition, an element of physical a a chastisement was emphasized. One practice that made the Kh ks rs famous 95 was the public ogging of latecomers at their training sessions. For Mashriqi,

92 93 94 95

Muhammad Iqbal, Shikwa and Jawab-i-shikwa = Complaint and Answer: Iqbals Dialogue with Allah, trans. Kushwant Singh (Delhi: OUP, 1981). Map reprinted in M. A. Malik, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, 1806. NAI, File (Home Political) 75/3/40 and OIOC: L/P&J/5/243 Fortnightly Report for Punjab, Second half of May, 1940. M, 406; Talbot, The Khaksar Movement, 199.

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the main characteristics of the early Islam that he wanted to resurrect in his paramilitary movement were the willing suffering of physical pain, of forgoing food and travelling long distances on foot, of never giving in to the ease-giving life of the normal everyday.96 The real enemy is not outside but inside, Mashriqi argued in a striking echo to his contemporary, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.97 a a If the Kh ks rs have to do battle, it is a battle with the un-martial instincts in their own souls, and with the individual incarnations of vice in Muslim community life: the dandy, the rich politician, the Mullah without dignity or taste.98 As Mashriqi pointed out with great venom, the greatest danger to national survival came from family commitments, career interests and stakes in business99 all areas of life where radical readiness to suffer was a hindrance rather than an asset. Mashriqis blood-curdling glorication of violence and his incantation of the need to conquer the world were strangely juxtaposed against an ethics of victimhood. The favourite image of the Prophet Muhammad in Mashriqis Qaul-e Faisal is not Muhammad the successful statesman and general, as would . a a logically follow from the Kh ks r goal of world domination, but the Prophet as marginalized and dejected gure who nevertheless holds fast to his commitments. Mashriqi invokes the abuse that Muhammad had to suffer, the fact that he was spat at by the people of Mecca and showered in dirt and stones, that his wives were denigrated and his grandsons Hasan and Husain brutally killed (normally an altogether separate episode especially associated with Shic a Islam).100 The chapter about the enemies of Islam in the same tract also combined an ethics a a of non-violence with a dashing rhetoric of the Kh ks rs willingness to sacrice their lives in war. After invoking once again the ideal of the Muslim born to rule, the conqueror of countless cities and castles, Mashriqi exhorted his followers to offer seless and unrewarded service to all creatures, and not to respond to those who malign Islam in their presence.101 In some sense, this emphasis on the positive role of suffering could still be justied within the wider logic of social Darwinism. Suffering produced hardness, and hardness was the cardinal virtue in the game of survival of the ttest, as Mashriqi himself often argued. But belief in ultimate victory was in reality always undercut by a fear of failurethe same fear that made Mashriqi proclaim that

M, 4023; QF, 29. For Gandhis classic statement see M. K. Gandhi, An Autobiography, or, The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Ahmadabad: Navajivan Publ., 1927); also Alter, Gandhis Body, 327. 98 QF, 1820. 99 M, 395. 100 QF, 267. 101 QF, 25.

96 97

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Germans were better Muslims than the Muslims themselves, or that the universe may be nothing but a purposeless slaughterhouse. Within this context the cult of suffering led towards an ethics of emotional authenticity: no matter whether the Muslims were successful in restoring their former position of glory, the very fact that they sacriced everything when trying to do so had to be seen as some form of redemption in itself. More importantlyand in a striking logical loop back into social Darwinismthe purifying power of suffering prepared the soul of a a both Mashriqi the prophet and the Kh ks r devotee to have the kind of vision of a perfectly good world that made their belief in science emotionally sustainable. The meaning of survival of the ttest could be changed into the doctrine that suffering could never go unrewarded in this world. In some sense, this belief was some form of afterglow of a desperate trust in Gods justice and mercy that had been secularized into an ethics of hard work and being true to oneself. The genius of Mashriqis formulation, however, lay in its ability to turn radical doubt into the building material for a new certainty. The more the exoteric message of social Darwinism pointed to a universe without justice and without order, the more moral currency the mystic believer could gain from holding fast to belief in an underlying good. The discrepancy between ultimate truth and an illusory present created potential for suffering, which by itself would diminish the power of the latter and strengthen the former. Before concluding, it is worthwhile noting not only that all this was typical of South Asian nationalisms eager to overcome their position of colonization, but also that a very similar argument could be made about various aspects of European fascism. In both the Italian and German cases there was this strange juxtaposition between scientic determinism and a cult of radical voluntarism, the celebration of the machine versus the cult of a New Man, race biology versus the Triumph of the Will, the iron law of Providence versus the cult of leadership and genius. All this was connected to a crucial shift in what constituted an ideology. The relationship between content and form was marked by the striking predominance of the latter over the former. As Giovanni Gentile put it, fascism was not a thinking but an acting ideologysomething that Mashriqi repeatedly said about his scientic rendition of Islam as well.102 What mattered most was the spectacle of action itself, not any concrete political outcomes that could be achieved by such action.103 Mashriqi may have placed more emphasis on victimhood and suffering than his European equivalents, but this was only a

102 Giovanni Gentile, Grundlagen des Faschismus (K ln and Stuttgart: Deutsche o Verlagsanstalt, 1936), 33. 103 Walter Benjamin famously identied the aestheticization of politics as the core of fascism. W. Benjamin, Das Kunstalter im Zeitalter seiner Reproduzierbarkeit (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1963), 424.

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difference of degree that is easily explained by local political constraints (as well as by the need to get his pamphlets past the colonial censors). Mussolini constantly spoke about Italy as the quintessentially wronged of world history, while the Nazis attached greatest importance to commemorative cults of the martyrs of the movement.104

Inayatullah Khan Mashriqis self-validationand his legitimacy as a political and religious leader in the eyes of his followersonly partially depended on the dozens of academic qualications and memberships of scientic bodies that he so proudly listed on every occasion. Mashriqi could no longer be a believer in the merits of educational advancement and upward social mobility as had been the religious reformers of the late nineteenth century. For Mashriqi the supreme truth of science posed an existential and painful challenge, but one that he learnt to utilize in order to construct an often exaggerated sense of worldhistorical leadership. Social Darwinism, in other words, provided Mashriqi with a universally accepted question, not with a universally accepted answer. From the point of view of a colonized people, the doctrine of survival of the ttest was a threat rather than a promise. Mashriqis role lay precisely in his ability to turn this threat into a promise once again. In order to do so, he did not resort to the powers of the scientist, but to the powers of the prophet. Social Darwinism could be a force of consolation only after it had been reformulated as esoteric vision, as a religious mysterium. Mashriqis real trump card was the idea that any belief could be legitimate as long as it was held with passionate conviction. The ultimate evil was not scientic ignorance or religious misguidedness, but personal inauthenticity that manifested itself in the inability to endure suffering and hardship. This was no longer a kind of self-fashioning anchored in some form of belief in the laws of progress, as had been the case with more conventional projects of nationalist self-discipline. There was no grand narrative that could underwrite the success of the modernization project. All that was left was the possibility to establish some sense of security from within oneself, by embarking on the never-ending struggle to connect with some nebulous notion of being true to ones inner essence. Where the older reformers wanted to produce frugal workers, model citizens or diligent pupils, the likes of Mashriqi only replicated such ideals at a rhetorical level; what they really, and entirely unreasonably, wanted was to create a class of activists
104 R diger S nner, Schwarze Sonne (Freiburg: Herder, 2001), 11824; Benito Mussolini, Der u u Faschismus: philosophische, politische und gesellschaftliche Grundlehren (M nchen: Beck, u 1933).

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who had completely severed all ties to such societal institutions and devoted their entire lives to internal transformation. This questas I have pointed out elsewherewas anchored in far-reaching changes at the level of socio-economic infrastructure: instead of some surrogate of a nineteenth-century bourgeoisie with its norms of frugality and educational achievement, we see the emergence of a highly amorphous middle class communicating its identity through consumer choice. In the place of a public sphere we nd a plethora of mass media more concerned with the selling of spectacles than with the communication of arguments.105 As could be expected in the colonial context, this transformation was riddled with a multitude of contradictions and ideological distortions, and it is precisely here that we need to situate somebody like Mashriqi. It is important to note once again that his fascism was not the product of simply endorsing the new modernity of selfexpression hook, line and sinker, but of seeking to reconcile the certainties of the oldnow reformulated as the will to belief in the truth of nineteenth-century a a sciencewith the challenges of the new. The Kh ks r cult of violence and action drew its energy from the transitional and contradictory character of its underlying world view. What the historiography of South Asia needs is more engagement with both the socio-economic and the discursive aspects of the coming of a twentiethcentury modernity, and, in order really to come to grips with it, it has to start with the battleground between old and new that was the era of fascism.106 It is only then that we no longer need to be surprised aboutand struggle to nd short-term explanations forsome late twentieth-century developments such as an allegedly sudden espousal of consumerism in South Asia going hand in hand with the creation of new radical ideologies, be they the Hindu fascism in contemporary India or the rise of al Qaida-style neo-fundamentalisms in the Islamic world.

105 Daechsel, The Politics of Self-Expression, chaps. 3, 4, 5. 106 A similar enquiry into the cultural politics of mid-twentieth-century communism is already producing interesting results: many Indians espoused Marxism as a new anchor of certainty to bypass the vicissitudes of twentieth-century modernity. See remarks in Sudipta Kaviraj, Laughter and Subjectivity: The Self-Ironical Tradition in Bengali literature, Modern Asian Studies 34/2 (2000), 379406. As Rajarshi Dasgupta has pointed out, there was a strong tendency in ofcial Marxism to purge all forms of cultural production that took the troubling aspect of the new modernity seriously, thereby propping up some hollow form of nineteenth-century certainty well into the late twentieth century. R. Dasgupta, Rhyming Revolution: Marxism and Culture in Colonial Bengal, Studies in History 21 (JanuaryJune 2005), 7998. This fossilization ultimately led to the more or less rapid decline of genuine Marxist politics in South Asia.