Tamil Muslims – once known as Chulias – prospered as traders of pelikat cloth, pepper and local products in the Straits of Malacca. In the nineteenth century, they enriched the port town of Penang with endowments for mosques, Sufi shrines, burial grounds, a water tank and an ashurkhanah, holding religious feasts and processions. The most valuable endowment in the Straits Settlements was that for a mosque and burial ground in George Town, granted in 1801 by the English East India Company. On this site, a South Indian vernacular mosque was founded by the leader of the Chulias, Kapitan Kling Cauder Mohuddeen, a Marakkayar shipowner, merchant and progenitor of the ‘Merican’ clan. In the early twentieth century, the colonial government enacted an ordinance to take back the lands and modernize the townscape. In the process, they co-opted the traditional leadership and refashioned the mosque into a grand Indo-Saracenic symbol of British patronage over its Muslim subjects. The Chulias excelled as Malay scribes, clerks and land surveyors, and also as ship chandlers, stevedores and lighter owners in the port industry. Educated in English, Malay and Islamic schools, the local-born Chulias, called Jawi Pekan or Jawi Peranakan, became part of the cosmopolitan Muslim elite. They innovated the performing arts of Boria and Bangsawan and pioneered early Malay and Tamil print media in Penang, which helped give birth to modern vernacular discourses. Influenced by the Khilafat and Self-Respect Movements in India, they strengthened Tamil identity and started Tamil schools. For economic and political reasons, they formed the Muslim Merchants Society, the Muslim Mahajana Sabha and then the Muslim League, the last of which competed in Penang’s city and settlement elections in the 1950s. The book looks at how this diaspora community – living under the East India Company, then in the Straits Settlements and British Malaya – evolved in response to the changing terms of colonial patronage.
List of Illustrations and Tables Foreword Preface Acknowledgements A Note On Terms, Names And Orthography Introduction A Living Place of Worship The Port of Penang An Entrepreneurial Diaspora Tracing South Indian Muslim Migration Place-Making and Endowment Organisation of the Book A New Port for the Chulias 1 Indian Ocean Connections The Land of Gold Muslim Traders from South India A Cosmopolitan Maritime World Chulias in the Straits of Malacca The Chulia Trade in Aceh Francis Light and the Chulias of Kedah 2 Early Settlers and Mosque Precolonial Antecedents Chulias in the Census Chulia Settlers Locating the Early Mosques Destruction and Death 3 Piety and Patronage Sufi Pioneers The Nagore Dargah The Tanjore Association 4 The Kapitan Kling Captain of the Chulias A Shipowner and Merchant from Porto Novo Land and the Law 5 Munshis and Malay Writers A Literary Diversion A Petition for the Batu Uban Mosque 6 Family and Legacy A Saintly Wife and a Royal Wife Cauder Mohuddeen?s Will of 1834 From Seafaring Merchants To Settlers 7 Penang as a Centre of Chulia Trade The Consolidation of Chulia Trading Activities Mahomed Noordin, the Most Munificent Merchant The Bountiful Penang?Aceh Trade Diminishing Returns 8 The Jawi Peranakan The Evolution of the Jawi Peranakan Education 9 Pepper and Pelikat Tycoons The Muslim Elite The Ariffin Clan Dalbadalsah and Yahyah Merican The Noordin Clan Shaik Nathersah 10 Women with Status and Property Royal Connections A Woman Scorned A Suitable House Family Fortunes House-Proud Jawi Peranakan 11 Diversity, Difference and Division A Heterogenous Population The Dato? Koya Shrine Riven by Rivalries Secret Societies and the Penang Riots Alternating Mosques 12 Cultural Expressions The Cosmopolitan Context Awal Muharram Boria Bangsawan Mosque, EndowmentS and Community 13 Religious Endowments The Concept of Waqf Tamil Muslim Waqf in Penang Pious Endowments for Mosques Endowments for Burial Grounds Waqf for Water Waqf for Education Waqf for Feasts and Family Trusts 14 Land and Leadership in Dispute A Pilgrim Agent Leadership Dispute Disputes over Land and Religious Position Disputes over the Family Endowment 15 Reforming Muslim Endowments A Crisis and a Commission Courting Municipal Ambitions Enquiry and Investigation Depositions 16 The Consultative Process Penang Muslim Society The Qadi Question 17 The Endowments Board A New Ordinance for Endowments The Endowments Board?s Mode of Operation The Madrasah Haniah and the Madrasah Al-Mahmoodiyah 18 Urban Transformation Towards a New Townscape The Removal of Urban Villages A New Phase of Urban Development 19 Reimagining Mosque Architecture The Mosque in the Nineteenth Century Indo-Saracenic Architecture: From India to Malaya Remodelling the Mosque Social Movements and Modernity 20 The Press and Pan-Islamism The Power of the Printed Word Empire Fever Modest Demands 21 The Mohammedan Advisory Board War and the Impact of the Singapore Mutiny Establishing the Mohammedan Advisory Board Officiating the Minaret The Advisory Board and the Endowments Board The Cannon from Pulau Brani 22 Religious Reformists and Rifts The Islamic Reformist Movement in Penang Idaran Zaman The Mihrab Controversry Fair or Fowl Bumi Putra Allegation against the Kaseda The Prophet?s Birthday 23 Social Leadership Labour Migration and Chain Migration Two Trade Organisations The Khilafat Movement The Plight of Tamil Labour The Indian Chamber of Commerce 24 Diverging Identities Friendly Societies and Football Representing the Malays Malaya for the Malays The Self-Respect Movement Indian Nationalist Politics The Port Cluster 25 Business Networks Textiles and Piece Goods Jewellers and Gem Traders Shroffing Mamak Food Distribution and Retail Networks Printing Presses 26 The Penang Port Port Ecology Harbour Pilots, Ship Chandlers and Stevedores Lighter Owners Boatmen and Lightermen Dockworkers Labour Strife War and Politics 27 The Japanese Occupation War Comes to Penang Bombing and Destruction Japanese Policies towards Islam The Indian National Army The End of Occupation 28 Post-War Politics The Nationalist Challenge Starting Again The Muslim League The Partition of India Electoral Competition towards Independence The Mosque, City and Port Conclusion Patronage Personalities Bibliography Index