1st Edition

Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia

Edited By Deepra Dandekar, Torsten Tschacher Copyright 2016
    380 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    380 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book looks at the study of ideas, practices and institutions in South Asian Islam, commonly identified as ‘Sufism’, and how they relate to politics in South Asia. While the importance of Sufism for the lives of South Asian Muslims has been repeatedly asserted, the specific role played by Sufism in contestations over social and political belonging in South Asia has not yet been fully analysed.

    Looking at examples from five countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan), the book begins with a detailed introduction to political concerns over ‘belonging’ in relation to questions concerning Sufism and Islam in South Asia. This is followed with sections on Producing and Identifying Sufism; Everyday and Public Forms of Belonging; Sufi Belonging, Local and National; and Intellectual History and Narratives of Belonging. Bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines, the book explores the connection of Islam, Sufism and the Politics of Belonging in South Asia. It is an important contribution to South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies and South Asian Religion.

    Introduction: Framing Sufism in South Asian Muslim Politics of Belonging Deepra Dandekar and Torsten Tschacher

    Part 1: Producing and Identifying Sufism

    1. Sufis, Dervishes and Alevi-Bektaşis: Interfaces of Heterodox Islam and Nationalist Politics from the Balkans, Turkey and India Robert M. Hayden

    2. Who’s the Master? Understanding the Religious Preceptors on the Margins of Modernized Religions Dušan Deák

    3. Islamic and Buddhist Impacts on the Shrine at Daftar Jailani, Sri Lanka Dennis B. McGilvray

    4. Longing and Belonging at a Sufi Saint Shrine Abroad Frank J. Korom

    Part 2: Everyday and Public Forms of Belonging

    5. The Politics of Gender in the Sufi Imaginary Kelly Pemberton

    6. The Everyday as an Enactment of the Trauma of Being a Muslim Woman in India: A Study of Two Artists Shaheen Salma Ahmed

    7. Who Is In? Who Is Out? Social vs Political Space in the Sufi Shrines of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Syed Pir Waris Shah in Sindh and Punjab, Pakistan Uzma Rehman

    8. The Survival of the Syncretic Cults of Shirdi Sai Baba and Haji Ali despite Hindu Nationalism in Mumbai Marika Vicziany

    Part 3: Sufi Belonging, Local and National

    9. Abdul Kader Mukadam: Political Opinions and a Genealogy of Marathi Intellectual and Muslim Progressivism Deepra Dandekar

    10. From ‘Rational’ to ‘Sufi Islam’? The Changing Place of Muslims in Tamil Nationalism Torsten Tschacher

    11. "Sindhis are Sufi by Nature": Sufism as a Marker of Identity in Sindh Julien Levesque

    12. The Politics of Sufism on the Ground: The Political Dimension of Pakistan’s Largest Sufi Shrine Linus Strothmann

    Part 4: Intellectual History and Narratives of Belonging

    13. A Garden of Mirrors: Retelling the Sufi Past and Contemporary Muslim Discourse Afsar Mohammad

    14. "Islamic Renaissance", Sufism and the Nation-State: A Debate in Kerala Nandagopal R. Menon

    15. Mullā Vajhī’s Sab Ras Christina Oesterheld

    16. Sufism in Bengali wa‘z mahfils Max Stille


    Deepra Dandekar is an Associate Member of the Asia and Europe in a Global Context Cluster of Excellence at Heidelberg University, Germany , and works on Gender and Religion in Maharashtra.

    Torsten Tschacher is Junior-Professor of Muslim Culture and Society in South Asia at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. His research focuses on the history of Tamil-speaking Muslim societies in South India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia.