Colonialism and the Construction of Religious Identities in Punjab: The Case of Muslims


  • Muhammad Abrar Zahoor University of Sargodha
  • Munir Gujjar University of Sargodha



Muslim Identity, Colonial Punjab, Colonial India, Religious Identities, Social Organizations, Punjab


The colonial state of India referred to as the Raj introduced multiple changes and sought modifications in the socio-cultural, political and economic spheres in the province of Punjab. Being the last province annexed and rendered the part of British Indian Empire, forming North Western area with proximity to the Russian Empire and contributing heavily, never lower than fifty per cent of the total British Indian Army, Punjab attained a special significance for the Raj. By the turn of nineteenth century, the extensive network of canals turned this area into a ‘basket of bread.’ Similar to the unprecedented physical infrastructure feats, the British carried out social-engineering as well to attain calculated goals. In addition, the colonialism was conjoined by colonial modernity which included, inter alia, decennial census and its concomitant process of enumeration, massive use of printing press and burgeoning press and publications market, electoral arenas of politics, and formation of a large number of social organizations. It provided impetus to the redefinition of social and political identities and an assertive quest for social mobility. This redefinition of increasingly religiously informed social and cultural identities among Muslims of Punjab in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is the focus of this paper.

Author Biography

Muhammad Abrar Zahoor, University of Sargodha

Assistant Professor

Department of History and Pakistan Studies


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How to Cite

Zahoor, M. A., & Gujjar, M. (2019). Colonialism and the Construction of Religious Identities in Punjab: The Case of Muslims. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 8(4), 56-67.