We are Different from Shias Here; We are Different from Iranis There: Irani Shias in Hyderabad
Muslims, at over 138 million, constitute 13.4 per cent of India’s population of more than a billion. Yet there is a serious dearth of sociological research material related to not only Indian Muslims but South Asian Muslims in general, as reported in scholarly collections.1 Recent interest in South Asian Muslims is infl uenced by the need to challenge certain stereotypes based on the construction of monolithic Islam and homogenisation of Muslim communities. Diversity in lived Islam is examined by focusing on specifi c Muslim communities. An excellent collection has put together a number of studies of such communities in South Asia in terms of three ‘key themes’, namely: (a) attributes of cultural identity, (b) modes of social organisation, and (c) dimensions of power (Madan 2001: 11). Our interest here is in exploring the dimensions of identity in the case of a small Muslim community.