ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

‘Ghetto within a ghetto’- An ethnographic account of Ahmadi neighbourhood in a Muslim locality in Kashmir analysing the negotiations of a misrepresented identity.


. Umtul Aleem Kokab - Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Humanities and Social Sciences, New Delhi, India


27 – Muslim agency within and against India’s regimes of urban segregation


 Is ghetto formation a linear phenomenon? What follows the suggestions made by Gayer and Jaffrelot(2012)about the largest driver of true ghettoization being violence is the social nature and origin of that violence. While Muslims comprise an underrepresented section of South Asian and Indian strata, the paper attempts to locate Muslims outside the purview of a monolithic category encompassing a wide variety of social experiences where they differ from their co-religionists. Ahmadi Muslims are an ostracized community in Islam (widely persecuted in certain countries of South Asia for their religious beliefs). Using ethnographic enquiries, the paper navigates the negotiations made by Ahmadis in public spaces as ‘Muslims’ and in spaces that strip them of their agency to assert the Muslim identity.The spatial distribution of this community provides us an insight into the sociality of a neighborhood that is ghettoized within a larger ghetto.By furthering this stance, it makes a generous attempt to redefine the theoretical aspirations associated with ghetto formation and segregation as an employed category used by Muslims to subvert the social humiliation.How is the nature of Ahmadi Ghetto different from the larger category of ‘Muslim Ghettos’? This trajectory of exclusion pushes us to rethink about their ritual economy, their relationship with the other Muslim neighbourhoods, thus, giving us a holistic picture of a crystallized identity construction of Ahmadis in an urban setting.