The Queen's Urdu: Translating Colonial Secularity in Victoria's 1858 Proclamation

Brannon D. Ingram*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article argues that Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858, marking the transfer of power from the East India Company to the crown, ushered in a new era of colonial secularity. Colonial secularity refers to the myriad ways that normative distinctions between religion and not-religion emerged and proliferated in colonial contexts. The proclamation committed not to interfere in religion, but religion is circumscribed, reconceptualized largely as a matter of private conscience set against the purview of the state. As this article explores, it is according to this logic that the abolition of Islamic criminal law after the proclamation could register as noninterference in native religion. At the same time, Christian missionaries contested the proclamation's notions of neutrality to carve out a space in which they might operate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-127
Number of pages24
JournalVictorian Literature and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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