Economic modernization in late British India: Hindu-Muslim differences

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The article explores the historical origins of Muslim underrepresentation in the management of large Indian firms. Muslims found it relatively harder to pool capital within large and durable enterprises capable of exploiting the new technologies of the industrial era. Their difficulties were among the unintended consequences of Islamic institutions designed to spread wealth and circumvent inheritance regulations. The British certainly devalued the mostly Muslim professionals who symbolized Mughal rule, such as court poets and calligraphers. However, anti-Muslim British hiring policies would not necessarily account for Muslim underrepresentation in trade and industry. Throughout the world, various minorities have excelled in commerce despite severe discrimination in government employment, if not also in private-sector hiring. The arguments usually advanced to explain the underperformance of Indias Muslims all have Middle Eastern counterparts, which are equally inadequate. When in the late eighteenth century the Middle East's Muslims started falling behind its Christian and Jewish minorities, neither religious differences in attitudes nor third-party biases were the cause.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kuran, T; Singh, A

Published Date

  • April 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 503 - 538

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0013-0079

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/669259

Citation Source

  • Scopus