This first-of-its-kind book is an illustrated monograph on the history of Islamic popular devotional art and visual culture in 20th century India. It traces how the Muslim cultural practices of visuality transformed with the arrival of the earliest images of Mecca and Medina in India; their dissemination through print and electronic media; how the printed image affected popular Muslim piety and the ‘devotional gaze’; and the adaptation of local Indian icons and symbols into Islamic iconography. Historicising the study, the book explores how the Partition of India may have influenced Muslim print culture — the syncretism of popular Pakistani poster art on the one hand and the cautious apolitical themes of Muslim art in India on the other - and what is replacing the older visual culture in the 21st century. Juxtaposing the traditional religious pluralism of Muslim iconography in South Asia with the present trend of Arabisation that dissociates itself from the influence of local cultures on the faith and practices of Muslims, the last section examines the choices that are available to the New Age Muslim while underscoring why images and popular visual cultures will always remain an inevitable part of popular piety amongst South Asian Muslims.
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