Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Ideology and Muslim militancy in India: Selected case studies of the 1857 Indian rebellion

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posted on 2021-11-15, 09:22 authored by Ahmed, Sabbaq

This thesis examines the ways in which ideologies of royalism, militarism, and Jihad influenced the behaviour of contending Muslim factions in the 1857 Indian rebellion. The historiography has focused almost exclusively on the ideological motivation of Muslims who fought against the East India Company, with little mention of the large number of Punjabi Muslims and North West Frontier Pathans who chose to collaborate with the British against their co-religionists. The dominant themes of anti-colonialism, nationalism, proto-nationalism and Jihad that emerge in the literature overlook the role of moderating factors that link ideology to behaviour. Another tendency has been to apply the essentially modern concepts of nationalism and its variants to a pre-modern Indian Muslim setting. This thesis addresses these gaps by providing a framework for analysing the ideological functions of royalism, militarism and Jihad for both pro and anti-British Muslims. Drawing on insights from political and cognitive approaches of decision-making, this study demonstrates how the dynamics of information processing moderated the relationship between these ideologies and the combat behaviour of the belligerents. It finds that the process produced different outcomes of behaviour for the key individuals and groups in the 1857 rebellion. The methodology employed is comparative case studies of four regions with the most active Muslim resistance and collaboration groups. This thesis hopes to contribute to the growing literature on new approaches to the study of the 1857 Indian rebellion.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar; Capie, David