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Artefacts of Devotion: A Sufi Repertoire of the Qalandariyya in Sehwan Sharif, Sindh, Pakistan

 
Michel Boivin (Author) Carl W. Ernst (Foroward) Centre of social studies in Karachi series
Synopsis

The Indian subcontinent has a remarkably rich heritage of complex cultural formations. One of these can be seen in Sindh -- now a province of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Sindh’s cultural heritage is marked with distinctive characteristics, which is today preserved not only in Pakistan, but also by a diasporic community in other regions of South Asia and beyond. Even if Sindh’s engagement with Islam goes back over a millennium: to the Arab invasion of the early eighth century, it can be defined, in religious terms, as a deliberately marginal region, or perhaps better, an independent locality. Resultantly, Sufism took roots here. And its popular saints and their shrines have had multiple clientele from different religious backgrounds.

Michel Boivin: a distinguished scholar of South Asia history and culture, with specialized interests in Sindh, here introduces the readers to the striking architectural complex of Sehwan Sharif shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar: one of the Sufi icons of Sindh. While he may have been one of unconventional qalandar dervishes -- who came from Persia and Central Asia to India during the 13th century, Shahbaz Qalandar has taken on larger-than-life characteristics since he became fervently adopted as one of the sons of Sindh. His kalam made him “a symbol of daring authenticity during times of stifling conformity”. Exploring the Lal Shahbaz shrine, the author offers a comprehensive description of its entire architectural complex as well as the history and significance of the diverse material artrfacts: the “Sufi repertoire”, associated with it. 

“Michel Boivin has made a major contribution to the understanding of this marvellous pilgrimage centre, in which he draws upon his extensive contacts with key figures related to these shrines,” says Carl W. Ernst in his Foreword to the book. Boivin’s narrative is generously supported by exquisite photographs of monuments and arterfacts

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About the authors

Michel Boivin

Michel Boivin is currently Research Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS, and also teaches history at the University of Lumiere Lyon and University of Savoie.

Carl W. Ernst

Carl W. Ernst is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Islamic studies at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

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Bibliographic information

Title Artefacts of Devotion: A Sufi Repertoire of the Qalandariyya in Sehwan Sharif, Sindh, Pakistan
Format Hardcover
Date published: 30.09.2011
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780199063215
length xii+166p., Illustrations. (Chiefly Colour); Maps; 29cm.