Modern Intellectual History 4 (1):145-161 (2007)

This essay focuses on the oppositional politics expressed in the historical geography of the Persian and Urdu poetry of Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), showing how it emerges from, and breaks with, Urdu and Persian travelogues and poetry of the nineteenth century. It explores the complex relationships between the politics of Muslim separatism in South Asia and European imperialist discourses. There are two defining tensions within this politics. The first is between territorial nationalism and the global imaginings of religious identity, and the second is between the homogenizing imperatives of nationalism and the subjectivity of individual selfhood. These tensions are reflected in the composite geography of Iqbal's work, which contains three elements: a sacred space, a political territoriality and the interiority of subjectivity. But these elements are in conflict with each other; in particular, the space of interiority in his poetry conflicts with the realm of politics in the external world
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DOI 10.1017/s1479244306001090
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