Wilfred Cantwell Smith

Canadian academic (1916–2000)

Wilfred Cantwell Smith OC FRSC (21 July 1916 – 7 February 2000) was a Canadian Islamicist, comparative religion scholar, and Presbyterian minister. He was the founder of the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Quebec and later the director of Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions.


  • [The separate electorates led enfranchised Muslims and members of other sections to] vote communally, think communally, listen only to communal election speeches, judge the delegates communally, look for constitutional and other reforms only in terms of more relative communal power, and express their grievances communally.
    • Modern Islam in India (1943), p. 212. Quoted in Arun Shourie. “Falling Over Backwards.”
    • Modern Islam in India: A Social Analysis (1943, 1946, 1963), Victor Gollancz, London, ISBN 0-8364-1338-5
  • Each takes the long view , dealing in millennia , and the cultural view , dealing in values and ideas and their historical outworking . The first flees from Indian - ness , and would extraterritorialize even Mohenjodaro ( linking the ancient Indus - valley civilization with Sumer and Elam ) as well as the Tāj ( ' Yet though left in India , the monuments and buildings of Agra and Delhi are entirely outside the " Indian ” tradition and are an essential heritage and part of Pakistani culture ' — and omits from consideration altogether quite major matters less easily disposed of (such as Asoka’s reign, and the whole of East Pakistan)…” The other two , on the other hand , seek for the meaning of Muslim culture within the complex of Indian ‘unity in diversity’ as an integral component.”
    • Comparing the works of Ahmad Ali entitled Culture of Pakistan with Richard Symond’s The Making of Pakistan (London, 1950) on the one hand and Humayun Kabir’s Indian Heritage and Abid Hussain’s National Culture of India on the other.
    • W. Cantwell Smith in Philips, Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, pp. 322–23. also in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 2
    • Historical Writing on the Peoples of Asia: Historians of India, Pakistan, and Ceylon, edited by C.H. Philips
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