The volumes will covers India's encounter with the West; the search for a Islamic and secular identity in a colonial context; the intellectual struggle between modernist and traditionalists for the Islamic heritage; the regional and social tradition that have enable Muslims to develop a composite personality; and rise of Muslims nationalism leading to the creation of Pakistan. Literature, music, drama and wit and humour will be covered as well to illuminate aspects of social history.
Volume I reveals, with the aid of travellers, novelists, missionaries and administrators, how the notice of a distinct of exclusive Muslim identity come to be invented in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The second half of the volume, based on scholarly writings, provides a corrective to these image and representation.
Volume II introduces certain aspect of India's response to the West. It also includes travel literature which is becoming increasingly important, because culture theorists treat them as serious little jigsaw puzzles and social and cultural history.
Volume III recovers some of these voices in order to introduce a systematic exposition of the role of the ulama as well as other thinkers who functioned outside the realm of the traditional world.
Volume IV focuses on the significance of the secular within the broad framework of largely 'Muslim' concerns.