Pakistan is both the embodiment of national ambitions fulfilled and, in the eyes of many, a failed state. Muslim Zion cuts to the core of the geopolitical paradoxes entangling Pakistan to argue that it has never been a nation state in the conventional sense. It is instead a distinct type of political geography, ungrounded in the historic connections of lands and peoples, whose context is provided by the settler states of the New World but whose closest ideological parallel is the state of Israel. A year before the 1948 establishment of Israel, Pakistan was founded on a philosophy that accords with Zionism in surprising ways. This book understands Zion as a political form rather than a holy land, one that rejects hereditary linkages between ethnicity and soil in favour of membership based on nothing but the idea of belonging. Like Israel, Pakistan came into being through the migration of a minority population, inhabiting a vast subcontinent, who abandoned old lands in which they feared persecution to settle in a new homeland. Just as Israel is the world's sole Jewish state, Pakistan is the only Muslim country to make religion the sole basis for its nationality. Revealing how Pakistan's troubled present continues to be shaped by its past, Muslim Zion is a penetrating critique of what comes of founding a country on an unresolved desire both to join and reject the world of modern nation-states.
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 176
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 28 mm
Edition: New ed.
'...provocative but compelling ... a convincing example of intellectual history writing.' - History Today 'No one but Faisal Devji could have given us Muslim Zion, which offers a brilliant, counterintuitive meditation on the analogy between ideologies of Zionism and Pakistani/Muslim nationalism, and at the same time a nuanced historical exploration of the idea of Pakistan. Intellectual history as a page-turner.' * Noah Feldman, author of Cool War: The Future of Global Competition *
'A fascinating, thoughtful, and provocative work, Muslim Zion explores the paradoxical dimensions of Pakistan by focusing on the period when this country was imagined, but yet unrealized.' * Christophe Jaffrelot, CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS *
'Devji is arguably the most brilliant scholar of his generation writing today on South Asian history and global Islam. His explorations of the tensions inherent in the idea of Pakistan as a Muslim homeland, and the fascinating parallels he draws with Zionist and settler-colonial pasts, provide a new point of departure for the study of both Muslim and Dalit politics in British India. And his reflections on the failure of the category "minority" in decolonizing times will help us rethink the very idea of the political in the twentieth century. A thoughtful and courageous book.' * Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor, Department of History, University of Chicago *
'Faisal Devji's brilliantly written, deeply felt book is an important contribution to the study of the tortured relationship between different ideas of Pakistan and of Islam.' * Anatol Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country *