Religion as practice, religion as identity: Sufi dargahs in contemporary Gujarat

Heitmeyer, Carolyn (2011) Religion as practice, religion as identity: Sufi dargahs in contemporary Gujarat. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 34 (3). pp. 485-503. ISSN 0085-6401

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Abstract

The role of religion in contemporary Gujarat remains both contradictory and highly contested: the rise of politicised Hinduism and Islamism, which has gained strength in recent decades, remains at odds with the many forms of everyday religious practice which blur the boundaries of more reified religious doctrine. This article examines the practices around Sufi shrines in a commuter town in Central Gujarat and, in particular, the lives of three pirs (saints) who maintain a significant following among different religious communities. Through an analysis of the precarious position of Sufi shrines in contemporary Gujarat, I will suggest that Islam has, much akin to Hinduism, become a site of contestation in which the politics of identity formation do not necessarily sit easily with everyday beliefs and practices that continue to be widely practised. As such, the article seeks to problematise widespread assumptions which often conflate religion as a personal experience with its role as a marker of social and political identity.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
Depositing User: Carolyn Heitmeyer
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2012 09:40
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 09:40
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39575
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