Venkat Dhulipala, Assistant Professor

Morton Hall 257 | 910.962.2531 |


Venkat Dhulipala is Assistant Professor of History and teaches courses on the history of modern South Asia, comparative colonial histories and introductory surveys in Global History. He received his Ph. D in History from the University of Minnesota in 2008. His first book, Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India will be published by Cambridge University Press in September 2014.

About the book:

The book examines how the idea of Pakistan was articulated and debated in the public sphere and how popular enthusiasm was generated for its successful achievement, especially in the crucial province of U.P. (now Uttar Pradesh) in the last decade of British colonial rule in India. It argues that Pakistan was not a simply a vague idea that serendipitously emerged as a nation-state, but was popularly imagined as a sovereign Islamic State, a new Medina, as some called it. In this regard, it was envisaged as the harbinger of Islam’s renewal and rise in the twentieth century, the new leader and protector of the global community of Muslims, and a worthy successor to the defunct Turkish Caliphate. The book specifically foregrounds the critical role played by Deobandi ulama in articulating this imagined national community with an awareness of Pakistan’s global historical significance. It demonstrates how these ulama collaborated with the Muslim League leadership and forged a new political vocabulary fusing ideas of Islamic nationhood and modern state to fashion decisively popular arguments for the creation of Pakistan.

Excerpts from my book 'The Hindu'

Upcoming Research:

His next project extends his research interest in the study of India’s Partition. Tentatively titled Sundering a Subcontinent: Partition and the birth of modern India and Pakistan it will try to provide a more encompassing narrative of the Partition by linking ‘high politics’ of the Partition with popular upsurges from below, connecting the politics of Muslim minority provinces with those of the Muslim majority provinces, and juxtaposing memories of Partition against the historical record to explore how these diverse ways of representing and remembering the past interact and impact upon the historical imagination in contemporary South Asia. A second project that he is also working on involves a study of the Deobandi ulama’s vision of the Islamic state and their quest for its achievement in Pakistan in the nation-state’s early days. It analyzes the ulama’s relationships with both Muslim modernists as well as Islamists led by Abu Ala Mawdudi as they worked towards competing visions of this goal that later provided inspiration to Islamic movements in the Middle East.

Select Publications:

‘Rallying the Qaum: The Muslim League in the United Provinces 1937-39’ Modern Asian Studies (May 2010)

‘A Nation-State Insufficiently Imagined? Debating Pakistan in Late Colonial North India’ Indian Economic and Social History Review, (July/September 2011)

 ‘Between Jinnah and Toba Tek Singh: Rethinking Partition Historiography’, Occasional Papers, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (June, 2014)

Towards a New Medina: Deobandi Ulama, Jinnah and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial India, Occasional Publications, India International Center, (September, 2014)

Courses Offered:

Partition of India: Problems and Perspectives

Empire and Nationalism in South Asia and Middle East

India and Pakistan after 1947

Gandhi and the Politics of Non-Violence

The Making of Modern South Asia

Mughal India

Global History from 1848 to the Present

Global History from 1500 to 1848



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