In 1945, Mahmooda Rizvia, a prominent Urdu author from Sindh, published a travel account of her journey across the Arabian Sea from British India to Iraq during World War II. In her travel account, Rizvia conceptualized the declining British Empire as a dynamic space for Muslim renewal that connected India to the Middle East. Moreover, she fashioned a singular autobiographical persona as an Urdu literary pioneer and woman traveler in the Muslim lands of the British Empire. In her writings, Rizvia focused on her distinctive observations of the ocean, the history of the Ottoman Empire, and her home province of Sindh's location as a historical nexus between South Asia and the Middle East. In contrast to the expectations of modesty and de-emphasis on the self in many Muslim women's autobiographical narratives in the colonial era, Rizvia fashioned a pious, yet unapologetically self-promotional, autobiographical persona. In conversation with recent scholarship on Muslim cosmopolitanism, women's autobiographical writing, and travel literature, this article points to the development of an influential project of Muslim cosmopolitanism in late colonial Sindh that blurred the lines between British imperialism, pan-Islamic ambitions, and nationalism during the closing days of World War II.

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