Both seminaries at Deoband (1867) and Bareilvi (1904) that were established essentially as revivalist movements in Islam prescribed to the same lighthouse in Fiqh and Usooluddin (principles of the religious practice). Nauman Ibne Sabit, more famously known by the name of his daughter, Abu Hanifa (father of Hanifa). Both grew divergent and opponent in their interpretations of Islam in the coming years. They called themselves as Ahle Sunnat Wal-Jamaat, and proudly declared themselves as the truer believers and followers of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and Imam Abu Hanifa, respectively. By the 1920s, the Deoband movement had started looking deeper into the source of their academic interpretations of Islam, while the Brelvi school of thought was more engaging and inclusive. This divergence has traditionally continued on both sides of the border. Interestingly, the religious motivation and the initial intent was nearly the same in the beginning but demographics and the level of inclusivity and interactivity of their leaders dyed both arms of the interpretive Islam in two different, and at times totally opposing colors. There is hardly, or probably no difference in the Fiqh and Usooluddin that they follow; the practice at times propagates sheer hatred against the other. There would be many reasons and justifications to that, but one is interestingly demographic. Even in 2017, Deoband seems like a secluded, exclusive and left out town when compared with Bareilly. According to the official Indian census in 2011, the population of Deoband was 97,037. Bareilly’s population dwarfs it with 4,448,359 people the same year. Deoband today is 2.18% of what Bareilly is. True for individuals, groups of individuals and nation-states, seclusion and exclusivity creates an introvert challenge of identity and in the process, views and positions are hardened, as these increasingly become icons of identity. While indulgence and inclusivity influences individuals, groups of individuals and nation-states differently: they tend to accommodate others, interact and change their positions according to the surrounding environment. Resultantly, the Deoband movement went deeper into academic purity in its pursuit to define its existence and identity. The demographics and surroundings of then leadership supported it. The Bareilly movement went out of their religiously academic shell. It constantly interacted, and got influenced from the local ethos, and associated with the Muslim Sufis whose shrines and heirs dotted the Indian subcontinent. While Deobandis also believed, and still do, in their version of Sufism, it wasn’t and isn’t as colorful and responsive to the local culture as what the Brelvis offered. While Deobandis also believed, and still do, in their version of Sufism, it wasn’t and isn’t as colourful and responsive to the local culture aswhat the Brelvis offered The religious, academic and ideological gap between the two became an abyss by the time of the partition of the Indian Subcontinent. Deobandis and Brelvis faced each other in heated discussions and newspaper articles on the creation of Pakistan. Generally speaking, the mainstream leadership of the Deobandi leaders did not generally support the idea of Pakistan and maintained that it would divide the Muslims, because of which, the Muslims would get weaker. Brelvi leadership, on the other hand, saw this as an opportunity to counter the political, social, economic and state-level influence that the Deobandis by that time had crafted by mostly aligning itself with the Indian National Congress (INC). It can be safely deduced that it was less about religious or sectarian differences, and more about political, social and economic disparities that kept, and still keep them positioned against each other in nearly all realms possible from religion to international politics. Given the slightly more academic excellence, and legacy of learning and influencing politics and the state structures, Deobandis quickly adjusted them after the partition. From “thank God, we weren’t part of the sin of partition” to “once a mosque is built, it is responsibility of the Muslims,” the Deobandi transformation was swift, strategic and took less than three years. Brelvis, on the other hand, operated effectively at the local level and kept promoting their version of Islam via the tactics of traditions via shrines and their heirs. In time and as always, the (Deobandi) strategy toppled the (Brelvi) tactic. Although, fewer in numbers and with lesser number of madaris in Pakistan, their strategic alignment with the political state gave them an influence that was later harbingered by Jamiate Ulmae Islam (JUI), an offshoot of the Jamiate Ulmae Hind that worked with INC before and after Partition. Brelvis missed the train, and as we speak, they do not have an effective national and political representation as their counterparts do. The history lesson ends here, and the discussion on madaris begins now. The writer is a social entrepreneur and a student of Pakistan’s social and political challenges. Twitter: @mkw72 Published in Daily Times, October 30th 2017.