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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



Amar Sohal is an Early-Career Research Fellow in Politics and International Studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. An intellectual historian of modern India and Pakistan, Amar is interested in those ideas that continue to shape contemporary politics in both countries. Unlike in Europe where political thought has been associated with systematic theorists operating beyond the realm of political practice, in South Asia it has belonged to political (and especially anticolonial) actors who were interested in changing the destiny of their country. Until recently, a dominant empirical approach to writing about Indian nationalists had obscured this rich but neglected body of political thought. Amar’s work contributes to an emerging scholarship committed to understanding these figures as political thinkers and thus seeks to not only fill a historiographical void, but use this neglected thought to participate in a present-day discussion about the political in South Asia.

Amar read History at University College London before going to Balliol College, Oxford for a MSt in South Asian History and Hindi Literature. In 2019, he completed his DPhil in History at Merton College, Oxford under the supervision of Professor Faisal Devji. Amar’s dissertation, which he is currently revising for a monograph, examined the political thought of three eminent Indian Muslim nationalists of the twentieth century—Abul Kalam Azad, Sheikh Abdullah, and Abdul Ghaffar Khan. It argued for the presence of a distinct Muslim secularity within the grander intellectual family of secular Indian nationalism. His next project explores how a set of modern Hindu nationalists engaged in fraught experiments with conservatism, secularism, and ideas of Pakistan.

Apart from his academic output, Amar continues to engage in outreach projects. In 2016, he scripted and anchored the hour-long documentary film Azad and Jinnah: A Political Rivalry in Late Colonial India. Produced for the RAH Foundation, Azad and Jinnah features dramatizations, interviews with leading academics, and some of Amar’s initial doctoral research. A rare attempt at bringing competing, pre-Partition visions of an Indian Muslim future to a wider, non-specialist audience, it has also been integrated into undergraduate curricula across the globe.


Key publications: 

'Pure Kashmir: Nature, Freedom and Counternationalism', Modern Intellectual History (2021),

'Kashmiri Secularism: Religious Politics in the Age of Democracy', Global Intellectual History (2021),

Co-authored with Taushif Kara, 'Introduction: Creative Minorities', Global Intellectual History (2021),

‘Ideas of Parity: Muslims, Sikhs and the 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 40/4 (2017)



Early-Career Research Fellow in Politics and International Studies at Corpus Christi College
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