This book analyses engagements with non-Shia practices of Muḥarram celebrations in the past and present, in South Asia and within a larger diaspora. Breaking new ground by bringing together a variety of regional perspectives (the Deccan, the Punjab, Singapore, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago) and linguistic backgrounds (Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu), the chapters discuss the importance of Muḥarram celebrations in terms of their respective actors.
While in some cases these include an interrelationship with Shia Muslims and their traditions of mourning during Muḥarram, other contributions address contexts in which Shias, and even Muslims, form only a minor component of the celebrations, or even none at all. Focusing on Muḥarram celebrations that are beyond the script provided by Shia Muḥarram practices, this book opens up new perspectives on Muḥarram as a social practice widely shared by South Asians across regions.
The book will be a key resource to scholars and students of South Asian studies, Asian religion, in particular rituals and religious practices, and Islamic studies but also engaging to non-academic readers interested in the practices of several regions.
Table of Contents
Pushkar Sohoni and Torsten Tschacher
2. Ḥusayn’s Hindu Defenders
3. An Ethnographic Exploration of Muharram(s) in Pune, Maharashtra
4. Visual Language of Piety and Power: Ta’ziahs and Temples in the Western Deccan
5. The Idea of Religion and the Criminalization of Muharram in the Straits Settlements, 1830-1870
6. Contestation and Transformation: Muharram Practices among Sunni Muslims in South Africa, 1860-2020
7. It Ain’t Religion, It’s Just Culture, Man! Muharram Controversies in the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora
Frank J. Korom
Pushkar Sohoni is Associate Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune. His previous book is The Architecture of a Deccan Sultanate: Courtly Practice and Royal Authority in Late Medieval India (2018).
Torsten Tschacher is a research-scholar at Freie Universität Berlin studying the history and discursive traditions of Muslims around the Bay of Bengal. His book Race, Religion, and the ‘Indian Muslim’ Predicament in Singapore was published in 2018 with Routledge, and he co-edited, with Deepra Dandekar, Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia (Routledge 2016).