SUFISM IN PUNJAB: Mystics, Literature and Shrines
The crystallization of the culture of Punjab began with the advent of sufism. In due course, sufism imbibed vernacularity of the region to such an extent that it permeated every aspect of the Punjabi lived experience. Unfortunately, sufism remained marginalized in the historiography of Punjab, owing to the communitarian consciousness of the colonial period, the partition of the province in 1947 and the subsequent communal politics.
The present volume seeks to fill a major gap in the historical studies on Punjab. A collective endeavour of scholars from India and Pakistan, this anthology of 18 essays is organized in three sections that are devoted to sufi mystics, sufi literature and sufi shrines. In a detailed Introduction, the editors present a critique of the divergent approaches to sufi studies from the early twentieth century to the present.
The essays explore the methods adopted by the Punjab sufis to popularize the mystic ideology and praxis in the medieval socio-cultural milieu. These writings also delve into the different genres of sufi literature, both in the elite and vernacular languages, with a view to appreciate the nuances of Punjab sufism. Apart from the architectural features of the sufi shrines, attempts have been made to illumine the organic linkages between these institutions and the Punjabis and, thus, to underscore the sufic non- communitarian devotion as a major ingredient of the Punjabi cultural fusion.
Characterized by an engagement with interdisciplinary tools of historical analysis, this volume is of interest to the students of history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, literature and folklore.
Surinder Singh has been a Professor at the Department of History, Punjab University, Chandigarh. His books and articles explores medieval India and undivided Panjab, with reference to polity, society and culture.
Ishwar Dayal Gaur is a former Professor of History, Department of Evening Studies-Multi Disciplinary Research Centre, Panjab University Chandigarh. His area of research and interest is Panjab history, Literature and culture.