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Writing Sample_Rewa Marathe

Writing Sample_Rewa Marathe

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Published by rewa
Excerpt from my dissertation
Excerpt from my dissertation

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: rewa on Mar 22, 2013
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11/26/2013

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Writing sample
(An excerpt from my Dissertation)May 2010
“Culture and Climate in architecture of Bohra Settlements”
 
Rewa Marathe
 
Rewa MaratheDissertation excerpt May 2010 2
CHAPTER 1
The Bohra People1.1. Origin
Trade routes have existed between India and the Arab countries long before thearrival of Islamic Invasion. The initiation of Bohra faith in India dates back to thattime. Though there is no authentic record, it is believed that around the 6
th
century,
the Fatimid Calif of Egypt, the ‘Ismaili Imam Al Mustansir Bilah’ sent two imminent
 Arabs to Khambat an ancient port in Gujarat. They lived there and studied the local people. They even learned their language. Over time they performed some miraclesthat led people to convert from Hinduism, the common religion to Islam. Bohra people are those who were the first to convert to Islam. They are believed to have belonged to upper echelons of the Hindu caste system. The word Bohra is supposed
to have its origin from Gujarati ‘Vohorvu’ (to trade) the occupation followed by the
first Hindu converts to Islam.
1.2. History
The establishment of Bohra community in Gujarat occurred long before the arrival of the Muslim power in India around the 1300. Bohras continued to grow in number tillDelhi was conquered by Muslim sultans and remained under the rule of Delhi till theend of 14
th
century. With the arrival of Muzzafar shah, came the suppression of theShia sect to which the Bohra community belongs. Things became worse whenAurangzeb came to power at Delhi. Shia Muslims were persecuted and attempts weremade to forcibly convert them to Sunnism. As a result, many Shia Bohras convertedwillingly to Sunnism. These Bohras came to be known as Sunni Bohras. Gujaratremained under Mughal domain till 1701 A.D. After that the Peshwas and Gaekwadsof Maratha ancestry became successful in the ensuing struggle. Some Mughalofficials also gained control of a few pockets, which came to be known as Nawabistates. The constant violence against the Bohra sect forced them to move the seat of their head priest from place to place. The religious discrimination ended with thearrival of the British and finally head priest settled in Gujarat, 1785. Today the seat of the head priest resides in Mumbai.
 
Rewa MaratheDissertation excerpt May 2010 3
During the colonial rule, Bohras were able to establish special relationship with theBritish due to which they were benefited as a minority group within the majority of Hindu population. They were encouraged to trade and travel to major cities in Indiaand abroad. The total population of Bohras was estimated to be around 5, 60,000 in1980. More than 50% of that population lives in Gujarat. Other cities with significantBohra settlements are Ujjain, Udaipur, Jaipur, etc.The foundation of Ismaili communities in Gujarat is a unique fact in Indian history. Nowhere else in India did these communities come into being in any sizeabledimensions; nowhere else was the penetration of Islam as peaceful or the rise of thenew communities so imperceptible. No other Muslim community in India sufferedmore at hands of the iconoclastic Sunni ruler. And finally, none other have developeda business outlook within Muslim communities. Their only compare in this respect isGujarati community of the memons.
1.3. Religion
The Bohras are a closely knit community and have remained so over a long period of time. They are peace loving, hardworking and very religious people. Over years theyhave maintained their separate identity even within the sub-sects of Islamic minoritiesin India.The Bohras, as mentioned before, belonged to Shia sect of Islam; i.e. they believe the
 prophet’s son
-in-law Ali as his heir and reject the three Caliphs, Abu Bakr Sadik,Umar and Usman. They believe in the Quran as the vision of G
od’s being.
 Essentially the religion is based on peaceful and voluntary conversion. Despite beingstrictly religious, they have never been categorized as religious fanatics. They areattentive of their religious duties and both men and women know Quran. Theyabstain from music and intoxicating drinks and drugs. Their head priest is known as
‘Dai’
. He is representative of imam who is the representative of God on earth. He is
also known as ‘Mullaji’/ ‘Syedna’/ ‘Bava Saheb’, meaning Our Lord. The apparentsuccessor of the Dai is known as ‘Mazoon’; below him are the ‘Mukhasirs’, the‘Shaikhs’ and the ‘Mullahs’.
Religion is omnipresent in the life of the Bohras.

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