Cambridge University Press organized a panel discussion of the book Creating a New Medina by Venkat Dhulipala at the elegant hall of Bikaner House, New Delhi on 6th August 2016. It was an enlightening occasion organized by the Press with the panelists who are well-known in the country’s social and political circle: Mukul Kesavan, historian, novelist and political essayist, Arif Mohammad Khan, former union minister of Civil Aviation and Energy, Dilip Simeon, labour historian and Ashok Malik, senior media person. The panel was moderated by Mr Malik. The author himself took an active part in the discussion and responded to queries. Besides there was a book launch of the paperback edition for South Asia with Ratnesh Jha, MD Cambridge University Press South Asia unveiling the book along with the author and the panelists. The hardback edition was published in 2015.
There is a common assumption that from 1940 to 1947, the idea of Pakistan remained vague. This book tracks the articulation of the idea of Pakistan in the public sphere during those years and how popular enthusiasm was generated for its successful achievement. The discussants elaborated different socio-political factors of Pre-Partition India while commenting on the book – the debate on the idea of Pakistan, Ambedkar’s manuscript on Pakistan and his views on its creation, and the role of Indian National Congress and Muslim League. The pervasive popularity of the Islamic state in Pakistan from its very inception ties in with one of the author’s central arguments that its vision was integral to Pakistan’s popularity in the run up to the Partition. The multiple voices that articulated this vision and also framed popular debates on Pakistan, need to be highlighted as a corrective to studies of Pakistani nationalism. In this regard, the book traces a more longstanding relationship between the Muslim League leadership and ulama, the men of religion, in contrast to the existing wisdom that the latter were implacable foes of Muslim League and Pakistan.
Cited a masterpiece by Newsweek, the second-largest news weekly magazine in the US, Creating a New Medina has won the Newsweek Award for Best Book in Global Non-Fiction for 2015 and is also selected a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015.
About the Author
Venkat Dhulipala is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina,Wilmington. He teaches courses on the history of modern South Asia, comparative colonial histories and introductory surveys in Global History. He has a doctorate in History from the University of Minnesota besides degrees from the University of Wisconsin Madison and the University of Hyderabad.