Who’s who in Muslim India
People lived separately but side by side. That is now under threat
By Wendy Kristianasen
The three biggest Sunni movements are:
Deobandis, named after the Darul Uloom religious seminary in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh (see main article). There are also many Deobandis in Pakistan and among emigrant communities.
Barelvis, who take their name from the town of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, home to the Islamic scholar Ahmed Raza Khan. The movement follows many Sufi practices and is considered deviant by other Sunnis. Though poorly organised, the Barelvis have many followers in India, Bangladesh and particularly Pakistan; they oppose reform.
Jamaat Ahle Hadeeth, who are Salafists; unlike those in many other countries they are seen as the most progressive of the main Sunni movements.
There are also:
Tablighi Jamaat. India is home to the worlds biggest Muslim evangelical movement, proselytising door-to-door among other Muslims. Its absence of structure has, in some countries, allowed in militants, creating suspicions of extremism.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), the Indian branch of the Islamist organisation founded by Abul Ala Maududi in Lahore in 1941. Although it has only 25,000 members it has considerable influence. Ex-JIH members founded the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and, in Kerala, the National Development Front (NDF), which is engaged in armed self-defence against Hindu rightwing groups, and its new umbrella group, Popular Front of India.
Among the minority Shia are:
Ismailis, who follow the Aga Khan and form a progressive, prosperous community across the world.
Dawoodi Bohras, who are a tightly knit community of about one million, mostly in India and Pakistan. Mainly traders (bohra means trade) they are often affluent and live apart from other Indian Muslims. Their lives are rigidly controlled by their amir, based in Mumbai.
Le Monde diplomatique.