Each upsurge of Hindu-Muslim tension in India brings in its wake scholarly and journalistic articles that highlight the frustrations of Indian Muslims and that raise serious questions about their commitment to India's secular democracy. The philosophical and empirical bases of these accounts are challenged by findings that suggest that region, poverty, illiteracy, and the working-class position of Indian Muslims are more significant in shaping their political outlook than religion. In contrast with the “orientalist” orthodoxy, this study finds the views of Indian Muslims to be diverse, complex, and well-integrated into the political perspectives of the linguistic regions in which they reside.

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