Hindu-Muslim Syncretism in India Author(s): J. J. Roy Burman Source: Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 31, No.

20 (May 18, 1996), pp. 1211-1215 Published by: Economic and Political Weekly Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4404148 . Accessed: 15/06/2011 01:13
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He even wore a ring on his finger with the inscriptionof 'prabhu' in Sanskrit on it [Mohiuddin 1987:94]. 1996 1211 . a comparative study of Hindu and Muslim mystic philosophy. According to Rasheeduddin Khan. Hinduepics like Mahabharat.Bhagwat Gita and Yoga Vashishthainto Persian. idioms and traditional of pattern living. Many scholars feel that the bhakti movementin Indiahas been to a largeextent responsiblefor promotingeclectic faithsand lessening the religious orthodoxy. coexistence ratherthanmutualannihilationof the politically dominant Islamic strands" (1987:36).socialorprofessional There is thus a sort of a patron-saint relationship. Right from ancient days syncretism is linked to the shrineswhich are dedicatedto the objects of nature.This is perhapsdue to the fact that humankindhas to depend on or natureforits sustenance. Khwaja Khijr protects all castes associated with water: washermen. points" [Lokhandwalla 1987:121 RasheeduddinKhan also states that most of the bhakti saints tried to harmonisethe orthogeneticand heterogeneticelements of of thegreatandlittletraditions Hinduismand Islam. to therefore. He also passed a law treatingboth Hindus and Muslims in the same way. few have studied the syncretic phenomenon of local religion. Sakhi Sarwaris believed to cure Sahebexorcises the eye problems. the warsbetweenMuslim and Hindu rulers have been representedas religious wars.Hindu-Muslim Syncretism J J Roy Burman in India Thereare syncretismin India has deep culturalroots whichhas survivedpolitical and social upheaval. Lokhandwallastates. Khan.regarded the spiritual foundations of Hinduism and Islam as one and found equal inspirationin both. rather than refutation. owing to their short rule.the cult of saints has been one of the religious steps which has promoted Hindu-Muslim syncretism in India. water carriers and boatmen.Makhdun possessed.Later. referred essentially to the ethnic geographic identity of inhabitants in and aroundIndusvalley" [Khan 1987:42]. Kabir.Islam is perhapsleast orthodoxin Economic and Political Weekly May 18. Also. by Ramanuja had a great impacton boththe Muslimsandthe Hindus.The medieval age was the periodwhen sufi andbhaktithought andpracticeblendedand coalesced at many ]. However. thus. Indian civilisation has been profoundlyaffected by two fundamentaltraditions:the Indo-aryan cultural stream which provided vedic philosophy. realisethatthecompositeculture in India originated in an environment of reconciliation. Recentresearchalso helpsto dispel wrong notions harbouredby the common masses about Islam in India. and the Indo-Muslimstrandof culturebased on the intertwiningof 'bhakti marg'andIslamicSufism. Similarly. Majmaul-Bahrain ('The Meeting Place of Two Oceans'). Khan furtherstates that the term Hindu does not occur at all in our ancient literature. group. conveniently ignoring that the armiesof Muslimrulerscontaineda large numberof Hindu soldiers and vice versa" [Mohiuddin 1987:101]. Oilmen ('teli') and dyers ('ranrez')follow saintswhose family names referto the professions.pilgrim tax for the Hindus . and vedic into Persianat his literaturewere translated insistence for the convenience of Muslim Hindu readers. symbols. the Khanconsiders notionof Hindureligion a misnomer. Instancesof saints curing sterility are galore. not many positive steps could be initiated. Hindu-Muslim numeroussyncreticshrines across the countrywhich even todaycontinueto attractpeople of bothfaiths. Manipur. strongly refutes the history advanced by the orthodox scholars who view the medieval period in India as being markedby religious intolerance and communal wars between the Hindus and Muslims. IN EASr INDIA EastlndiahaswitnessedalessrigidMuslim rule and consequently. HasanTeli and Pir Ali Ranrez. though many have studied it in terms of formationof composite culture. The proliferationof Sufism in fact became one of the importantmechanisms of ensuring betweenthe Hindusand communalharmony the Muslims.while the term Hindu which wasused by the ancientPersians. Ramayan.immediatelyoniassumingpower. In India. For example.s. According to Abid Husain. is Whatis sociologicallyrelevant thatmany of the local saints were supportedonly by determined certainsectionsofthe population.He wrote a book.These saintspreachedthe philosophy of life which was close to the social ethics and philosophicalproblemsof the poor and artisansthat arecommonto boththe Hindus and the Muslims.DaraShikohtranslated theological texts like Upanishads. the first reference of it being in a tantrikbook of 8th century AD.Many of the saints are also linked with curing certain specific diseases. into human forms like facilitated Ramachandraof Ramayanagreatly this.That is why sometimestherevivalismof Hinduism takestheformof revivalismof Indianculture.Again. Ramanuja's attempt at transforming the Hindu gods. in THE rise of fundamentalism recentyears in India has obliterated the deep rooted syncretism in Indian culture.Akbar removed the Jizya .BothBabarand Humayunhad broadvisions and inclination to support Islam and Hinduism. It was Akbar who took decisive steps in this direction. Guga pir and Saheb Madarcure people of snake bites [Saiyad 1989]. integral and defined faith to be revived. cooperation rather than confrontation. values. particularly with reference to Aurangzeb."Itis notsurprising.who attemptedto simplify the notionof god as a mysticobject. The wandering saintly beggars like Guga Pir or ZahirPir ('king of theserpants')arealsocountedamongancient syncretic saints of India [Ahmad 1994]. eitherbylocality.And no piror sadguru ever forced a Hindu or Muslim to give up his religion for any other. "The Sufi and bhakti movementsblurredthe differencesbetween the two religions so much that it was very common till very recentlyto have a sadguru or a pir having a common following of Hindusand Muslims. Itdoes nottaketheparticular form of the revival of a faith because there is no such ordained. the term includes people of different religious ways which "gives Hinduism a flexibility and resilience and a traditionbase wide enough to coverthe syndroineof Indianculture.Greeksand later by the Arabs and the central Asian people.SheikhSadhucuresmelancholia. the bhakti movement led. Hinduism's religious content has been generally referred to as rahminism.namely. According to him."Modem research has revealed a surprising fact that even Aurangzebgrantedjagirs to a large number of temples. blacksmiths invoke the name of HazratDaud. Such saints are bothby HindusandMuslimsand frequented also by people of other faiths.PirJharion 'saint of the woods' in Sind was perhapsone of the earliest saints to have preached about syncretic values.who is none otherthanbiblical king David. The syncretic trend continued to thrive even duringtheMoghulrule. Aziz Ahmad (1994) thinks that the inherent anthropomorphism of Hindureligion at the popularlevel helped in syncretisation of some of the famous Muslim saints. According to Gaborieau. the impact of Islam Besides too hasbeenofan unorthodox variety.

Buddhist. emergenceof neoconverts(among the Muslims) with roots in themselves theBengaliculture. In Bengal the syncretictraditionis mainly evident in rural areas but there are a few dargahs in the cities and towns which are frequentedeven by the Hindus. The main idgah lies in close proximityto the Laxmi Narayantemple.Many pirsthusplacedthe Islamictraditions a Hinduisedframework. His preachingalso made a profound impact on the course of bhakti movement in the later years. to combat caste inequalities and fight other social evils.curious mix of animism.The mostfamoussyncretic ritual of West Bengal is perhapsthe 'Saty Pirer Mela' (fair of the true pir).This necessitated Islamicreligious. In the month of Magh when thousands of Muslim devotees throng to celebrate the annual 'urs' at Puamecca.At the time of 'Bahag Bihu' (spring festival) Muslims and Buddhists join the ceremonies lceldat the i lo!vrib temple.Sikhandtribalshrines as well. The most popularversion among the local villagers (both Hindus and Muslims) and holy men called faqirs. Homage to him was encouraged probably withmixedmotivesof superstition policy and by SultanHusainof Gaur[Ahmad1994:Roy 1983]. IN WEST INDIA In western India the syncretictraditionis not only wide-spread but also deeply entrenched. This ritual is believed to enhance the chances of survival of the babies. For Muslim and Hindu peasants of Sundarban cult of Bonbibiis muchmore the important than other major gods and goddesses. Moreover a few 'Jikir' contain praise of Hindu god 'Hari'. All the three communities.Itis believedthatGiasuddin.The Muslim mosque on the other handis consideredto be 'Puamecca'. 1212 Economic and Political Weekly May 18. These families are treated as kin for all practicalpurposes. the protectorof humans. In rural Bengal there are many shrines which are worshippedby the Hindusby one name and by anothernameby the Muslims. This gets manifestedin 'Jikir'. The popular worship of 'Satyanarayan' by the Hindus itself is supposed to have been borrowedfrom the Muslims.LalanFaqiris believed to have been a Hinduby birthbut was reared by a Muslimfamily when he was abandoned in childhood.Muslim devotionalsongs. S Narayan (1980) writes that Rajgir in Biharwhichis sacredforthe Hindus. whoidentified both with Islamic great traditionas well as with the local masses andtheirneeds. Ashim Roy (1983) has challenged the orthodox view that the pir tradition is a deviation from Islam.the Hindus. In this system if the purchaser is a Muslim.The presence of the Hindus in no way breeded tension or friction. The sacredcomplex of Hajo. S L H Moini (1989) writes that the shrine of MuinuddinChisti appointed Hindus in senior positions of management like. The legends of the three deities are inextricably woven together. "Inresponseto theirenvironment locals the have evolved a religion which is a. Lalan is also popular in Bangladesh. 'Mutawwalli' (custodian) and 'Amin' of (revenueofficer). is considered accordingto the Hindutexts an incarnation of Vishnu.andintroduced Prophet of Arab as 'avtar of Kaliyug'. The dargah of Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chisti of Ajmer in is Rajasthan perhapsthe most famousshrine of westernIndia. offeraground interaction amongfollowers for of different faiths and represent the complexity of the Indiancivilisation at the micro level. Not only is there a great deal of social interaction betweenthetwo communitiesbut thereis some amountof ritualborrowingas well.Chisti's maineffort was to promote harmony between Hindus and Muslims. many of whom have Muslim identities. Some kinship terms are also applied to the purchaser who have roles on all importantoccasions appropriate in the life of the children thus purchased. is a confluence of three religions: Hinduism.The dargah of Moula Ali. Akbar was a staunch supporter of Chisti's preachings. onefourthof Mecca. identifiedby some Hindupoets as Yogi. No wonderthatthereis a greatdeal of communal harmony between the Assamese-speaking Muslims and Hindus. The ShivangrishiKundin Rajgiris also knownas 'MakhdoonKund'amongthe Muslims. the seller is a Hindu and vice versa.it had to incorporate the medium of cultural communicationthroughadoptionof idioms and symbols rootedin Bengali culture.i e. The Hindu have a temple of Hoygrib which is believed to have been constructed abovea Buddhiststupa. the Muslims and the Buddhists. Saba Naqvi Bhowmick states.There are many variations of the legends attachedto these folk deities.. theones insidethevillages arequiteelaborate and the deity of Bonbibi stands alongside a number of consorts. The devotional songs of Lalan Faqirwhich eclecticallypraiseelementsof Hinduismand Islam areequally popularamong Hinduand Bengali Muslims. a religious man. held in Hooghly district. in One of the pirs with considerablebacking even went to the extent of equating the Islamic concept of 'nabi' with the Hindu the conceptof 'avtar'. an Theseshrines important shrineof the Hindus.Theyworebrahminical foreheadbutacceptedalmsfromtheMuslims alone. lacked the ashrafiorthodoxoutlook.describesthe conflit between Bonbibi. in colourful detail. by others with Satyanarayanor Vishnu. founded the mosque on Garurachalhill and had the sanctity of Mecca attributed to it. Lokhandwalla 987) statesthatthepriests (I at the dargah of MuinuddinChisti used to ask the Muslimsto wear greensacredthread so thatthe Hindusmay not feel out of place.Assam." The temples of Bonbibi near the but forestsareusuallysimplemudstructures. Siddiqui also states that in Kamrupsome of the Hinduand Muslim families enterinto ceremonialfriendshipswhich compel them to help each other during periods of crisis. The three most popularcults of the region are those of a Shakti-like figure named Gazi Bonbibi. Hindus also pay obeisance at the shrine and take candle and incense sticks with them. In Bengal the patron saint of butcherswas honouredby the Muslimname of Gazi Mianiand the Hinduname of Satya Pir. pir-ism and Shakti cult. Chistias a titular TheyconsideredMuinuddin as divinity. which are sung in exactly the same tone and tune in which the Hindu devotionalsongs 'Nam' are sung.actually offers a syncretic religious complex which has Muslim. literallymeaninghorse's neck. in Calcutta is moreby the Hindus believedto be frequented thantheMuslims. the tiger god. the grant of stipends and daily allowance to "zunnerdars' (Hindu priests). about32 km north-westof Guwahati. Islam and Buddhism. A peculiarculturo-religious ritualof mock selling and buying of new born infants betweentheHindusandMuslimsis prevalent in Assam [Siddiqui 1992]. apartfrom Bengali language. fasted like Muslims during the Ramjan and also buried their on caste-marks dead.Hoygrib. He avers that the syncretictraditionwas useful to the Islamic causein Bengalas alsoto thelaterpurificatory The revivalistmovements.semi-religious and secular historical traditionsalong with mystical writings.Thoughthesechildrengrowup in their owncommunities mock-buyers treated the are as foster parents. and DakshinRay.a legendarypircalled Mobrah and a tiger-god named Dakshin Ray. 'bairagis'(Hindufaqirs)andfixationof their sharesin daily 'langar'(free food) reflected the increasing presence of non-Muslimsin the internalmanagementof the dargah.. Aziz Ahmad(1994) writesthattheHusaini brahmins represent the most outstanding example of high caste syncretic borrowing from Islam and transformingthem at will. They honouredMohammad one of the Hindu avtars. for instance. He also states thatin orderto make Islamacceptableto the masses.have respect for each other's shrine.Participation the Hindus in ceremonies at the shrine in an official capacity. 1996 .

etc.as an illustration Hindu-Muslim syncretism. Hazrat TahurullahShah Qadri. traders and cultivators. his This is a striking example of the way in which many such sources have come to portray Muslim cult saints as sponsorsor protectors of Hinduholy places.There are Hinduand Muslim prieststo oversee the HinduandMuslim dailyrituals. The Lohanas. Bayly writes that throughout south India new dargahsarebeingfoundedandendowed by pious Tamil and Dakshini worshippers. In Kathiawar and Kutch. and the Meos fled to Pakistan. Holi.But this has not alteredthe basic elements of their tribe andtheyretaintheirelaborate kinshipsystem based on the clans. S L Sharma (1980) writes that the Meos in spite of conversionto Islam.They werenotsureto whichreligion they belonged and it was the English court which declared them to be Shias of Islamic branch. The MuslimTadvistakepridein tracingtheir Rajputantecedence. She further notes thatthe Muslim saint has always been a figure who may leap the boundariesbetween 'Hindu' Economic and Political Weekly May 18. special perfumes for bride and bridegroom. Lokhandwallafurtherstates. Many of the Hindu superstitions have pervadedtheir households like the 'magni' ceremony (engagement). The Meo. many of whom are Hindus. scriptures and customs of both religions are clearly visible among them [Shama 1983]. even Shivaji's held grandfather Muslimsaintsin veneration and had named his sons Shahji and Sharifji after the name of his Muslim teacher Shah Sharief [Ahmad 1994]. festivals are celebratedtogetherby both the communitiesanddonationsfor the same are raisedjointly as well. spiteof thefightbetween in HinduandMuslimrulersformanycenturies.coastal and hinterlandpeople. However. Traditionally. Reverence towards saints. Diwali is celebrated with 'a full-fledged Laxmi puja just as Id or Shabe-Barat.Ahmad(1994) writes thatthe Khojas reveal a direct syncretic borrowing from Hinduism. in The dargahtradition southIndiareveals a close relationship withtheHindutraditions.His shrines most of which are situated on elevated cross or rocky outcrops.. al-din regardedAdam and Ali as the avtars of Vishnu. Accordingto Bayly (1992) Awliya Sahebis believed to have freed one of the wheels of the chariot of the Hindu deities during the annualprocessionsthrough miracles.Maruti. and taboo of wearing new clothes or the use of 'henna' to avert the evil eye. reveals traits of both Islam and Hinduism. TheTadviBhiltribesmen Satpurasreveal of an element of Hindu-Muslim syncretism whereverthey reside.and the singing of gay or obscene wedding songs.(3) Link (2) between the pirs and the Tamil 'ammas' or mothergoddess tradition.Durga. sacredcomplex The of Haji Malang comprises of four dargahs and temples of Santoshima.these closely resemble Tamil cult images of the horseman deity Ayyappa" (1992:108-09). Most of the Meos in even now celebrateHindufestivals Rajasthan like Holi. and practitionersof 'standard'and 'folk' Islam"(1992:116). But at the time of partitionwhen they came underthe spell of Tabligh . syncretic shrines are found in cities like Mumbai. the warrior hero had come to be widely identifiedwith the martialclan deity Skanda (MurukkanSubramanya).Mutual suspicionis also believed to have growndue to the political interferenceof the Shiv Sena which has rechristened the place of Sreemalang. Haji Malang is perhapsthe second most popular syncretic shrine after Shirdi in Maharashtra. during the marriage. a so-called ex-criminal tribe.The word Kalki was transferred to 'Nakalanki' meaning spotless. relationbetweenthe masses of the two faiths was quitecordial. Savantvadi and Ahmednagar.Ganesha. Theshrineis managed by a trustwith the Hindubrahminfamily of Ketkarsas the chief hereditary trustee. Interestingly. They arealso foundin smaller semi-rural areaslike Ghodegaon. was recently built by the brahmin proprietorof a local bus company. who originally believed in Shakti cult. such as fasting during lunardclipse.Not surprisingly.Sikander.. All the early missionaries lived and dressed as Indians and took up Indian names" (p 110). featuredterracota images in the shape of mounted warriors. pure to correspondto the belief of Imams and the Prophet being sinless and pure (masum). The BohraMuslims too have a numberof customs like the Hindus such as the Hindu law of inheritance. Dassera and Diwali.a communal conflict occurredwith the Jats.seven rounds around the fire . The Hindu pantheon of nine avtarswas acceptedreadilyandthe tenth..for instance.the practiceof charging intereston loansandthecelebration Diwali of as the new year day in their business lives.the dargahof an Arabicpir. Pune. 1996 1213 . few more deities also have been installed recently within the sacred complex [Roy Burman 1995]. IN SOUTH INDIA Susan Bayly (1992) provides Madurai. Diwali.the Kalki avtar. which has a long association with Sikandar of tradition. They have also renamed the A saint as Machindranath.it is said that afterthe demolitionof the Babrimasjidthere has been a significant drop in the number of Hindudevotees visitingthe shrine. The Muslims celebrate all the Hindu festivals and the Hinduseat only 'halal' meat and bury their dead. and Ali seen as Vishnu. Lokhandwalla(1987) writes that Khojas yet continue to observe Ekadasi. The Muslimconverts among them invariablykeep Hindu names anddo not discardthe practiceof clan-based kinship and the traditionof clan exogamy.. Theistic vaishnavism. also someof theirolderreligious retained practices before conversion to Islam. "Byearly 18thcentury. and at some point in the pre-colonialperiodthe cult hadbecome one of the many regional devotional traditions which transcended formal boundaries between Tamils and Dakshinis. Haji Malang is located about 12 km south of Kalyan in the suburbs of Mumbai.like the Hindus.was claimed to have appeared in Arabia. Aurangabad.'The Natharwalli dargah in Trichi is regarded as an of exceptionallypotentialrepository barakat. Accordingto the texts. the services of saraswatbrahminsand quazis were sought for the proper completion of marriage rituals.Such beliefs were encouragedby theirleaderRashid-al-din the 12thcentury. In most Muslim homes. InMaharashtra.Mohammadwas at times placed parallel to Mahadev.. of The Khojas are believed to have been TheirleaderSadroriginallyLohanarajputs.an agency which worked for perfect Islamisation of the Meos . The Koranwas referred AtharvaVeda and as the five Pandavas were equated with five pure bodies (Panjatan). Bayly notesthreetrendsof pirculttradition in southIndia:(I) Linkwithsaivitedevotional tradition. Many of the taboos for the pregnant women were borrowedfrom the Hindus.SumitaPaul(1995) reportsthatin Ajaysen and Khakrivillages close to Ajmer.Junnar and Kalyan. Thedargah pirHazarat of HamidShahAwliya is one such famous syncretic shrine. In Gujaratthere were many communities where both Hindu and Muslim ceremonies were resortedto for solemnising a marriage.They also participate in the traditionalTadvi festivals. and explained Mohammad as another name of Mahesha..The word 'Om' written in Sanskritwas equated with 'Ali' written in Arabic.foughtthe Muslimrulers bitterly all through the history.The shrine is situatedat a slightly higher elevation at the base of a mountain pass which must have been frequentedby several warringHinduand Muslim soldiers andlongdistancetraders. Waghjai. Natharwalihas been a figure of greatpower in Tamil country. HinduMuslimdividemakesno sense. "The Khojas drew many parallel between HinduismandIslam. Kanchipuram dargaheven allows the local for templeauthoritiesto show theirgratitude the saint's patronage by allocating him a share of the temple's sanctified 'prasadam' (offerings). In Madurai.The Muslim women also often insist on 'phera' .People of both the faithequally visit temples and mosques. etc.

Thus. hideous ascetic" (1992:120). Milleralso drawsattention theMappilas to who worship Hindu saints in spite of being Muslims. Pir is a figure of the forest. this is a saivite world. rituals combining Islamic and local folk traditions are performed.Ayyappadid not want him to become a Hindu and constructeda mosque for him at Erumeli. India. a place of Saktidivinities andof Lord Shiva and the terrible Lord Bhairava. located at Erumeli. agricultural Weinvite papers relevant them. the biggest festival of the Mappilas. The syncretism is also manifested at Sabrimalain Kerala.Some versionsof the KatBava legend even state that the maidens were brahmin by birth. It is said that he saved lives of seven maidens from the hands of dacoits in a forest. Pinto (1989) mentions a Hindu woman who "has been visiting the dargah for over last thirty years to ensure that her only surviving child continues to live" (1989:114).ties of friendshipandtolerance are not unknown in this region. to contactus at Forfurther information. Miller (1976) thinksthatAyyappa.It is customaryfor the devotees who visit the temple of Ayyappa to first pay their obeisance to the shrine of a Muslim saint named 'Vavara' or Vavarswamy. challengesof creating globalisation. a common deity in the south. 1996 . on 30th and 31st July 1996.In the Natharwalistory. fulfilmentandspiritualnourishment those to who follow him". like the Nayars. Bayly mentions the sufi saint Kat Bava (forest father)who became extremely popular in 18th century Tamil Nadu. The shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi is perhaps the most famous syncretic shrine after the shrine of Muinuddin Chisti in Ajmer. 1214 Economic and Political Weekly May 18. the seven-figured corporate representation of the goddess which appears in the temple iconography and 'sthalpurana' texts throughoutTamil Nadu. 6962589 Phone & Fax: 6856795. e. S F Dale and M G Menon (1978) mention that during 'Nerccas'. 'Islamic' and 'NonIslamic'. Phone: 6968077. he inhabitsthe same domain as the 'demonic' spirits and marauderswho lie beyond the marginsof the settled social order.Itis believed that Vavara is actually an incarnation of Ayyappa and had helped him during his fight with 'asuras'(demons). Their women. IN NORTH INDIA TheHindu-Musliminterminglinghasbeen deep in North India. These female figures are identified with saivite i 'saptamatrikas'. New Delhi110 016. "onepoor Hinduwho had FOR INVITATION CONFERENCE PAPERS ON INTERNATIONAL ON FOOD SECURITYAND SUSTAINABLEAGRICULTURE GLOBALISATION. From Erumelithedevotees go dancingin a manner called 'pettathullal'and proceed to a pond for dip. to This conferencewillbe the firstof its kindand willaddress key issues relating agricultural and sustainable agricultural practicesin the contextof impacton food security. the festival as such is conducted within a ritualframeworkbased on the traditionalform of worship of local folk deities.rateleader. SheikhNizamuddin apiousmanwhose was tolerant outlook offended the orthodox mullahs. A-60 HauzKhas. They usually relate to the miracles performed wandering by saintsduringtravels throughwilderness. concerned peopleonsubjects from scientists. they follow the matrilineal system. After the dip they climb up to the temple of Ayyappa throwing pebbles into thegorgelocatedalongtheroad. Most importantly. The traditionof saivite myths are found extensivelyin the 'Tazrika'literaturein south India. Nerccas appears to be an adaptation of non-Muslim festivals like 'Yelas' 'Purans'. policy economists. Despite the communal strife between the two communities over long periods. Shaikh Shard. which are linked to postharvesting gaiety. Technology and Natural World Network Resource Policy/Navdanya/Third policy. like the Hindus.and 'Non-Hindu'. 'marumakkathayam'. and makers. More specifically. while the focal point of each Nerccas is the reverence shown to a pir.In formal Hinduism this world of dangerous uncontained forces is the resortof the divine at its most awesome and terrifying. Also. thepirandhis partyaresavedfromstarvation in forest when a herd of deer offers them milk to drink. Their mosques resemble the Jain temples. Organised by The Research Foundation for Science. tie 'tali' around theirnecksaftermarriage. an Arabianp. made an alliance with Vavara. "At the most generous level the flow of milk is an image of divine munificence: it is to be seen as the waking up of God's love and mercy and a proof of the saint's capacity to provide succour.

ASyncretic RoyBurman. Miller. P N (1995): 'Secular Concept in Kashmir Tradition' in V Grover (ed). Composite Cultureand National Integration' in R Khan (ed).The dargahis looked after by Hindu and Muslim assistants or 'sevaks'. P K (1992): 'Sacred Complex of Hajo'. 'PhoolWalo Ki Sair' even now holds politicalsignificance.just come to Delhi lost his five-year old in daughter a roadaccident. Khan. service and simplicity. the secularcredentialsof the state is an age old phenomenon.Manohar. Macmillian Publishing Co. IndianInstituteof AdvancedStudies. Bhowmick. The Encyclopedia of Religion.Yesterday and Today. near the Old Fort. S N (1993): 'With Bonbibi's Blessings'.ClarendonPress. S (I1995):'WhereMuslims PerformDiwali. remainingaloof frompoliticalcontroversies or governmental powers. Shimla. works as a sevak. Oxford. New Jersey. Mumbai. that are religious fundamentalists responsibleto terroristactivities. Hussain. M (1987): 'The Elements of Composite Culture' in R Khan (ed). C (1987): 'Syncretism' in M Eliade (ed). References Ahmed. New Delhi. Muslim Shrines in India. the syncretic dimensions . July 1-15. The dargahof KhwajaNaseeruddinChisti or Chirag Delhi is a well known syncretic shrine in Delhi. the trees of which were not cut or felled by anyone.. selflessness. What Bazaz has writtenabout Kashmiris true for the entire country. An annual 'urs' (fair) is held for threedays at the dargah. Lokhandwalla. during the annualpujaof the Divya Bhairon temple. A R (1989): 'Saints and Dargahs in the Indian Sub-Continent: A Review' in C W Troll (ed). Ethnicity. representativesof the dargah take offeringsto thetemple. and he was assisted even for cremating the body" (1989:116). Moini. The Story of Kashmir . Composite Cultureof India and National Integration. Mumbai. Goddesses And Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society 1700-1900. they abstainfromeating flesh and have no intercourse with other sex.. S A (1978): The National Culture of India.there is a dargahof 'MatkaPir' which is frequented by devotees irrespective of _ase or creed. A (1983): The Islamic Syncretic Tradition in Bengal. Bamzai about (1962) quotesAbulFazl's observations the rishi cult: "The most respected people of Kashmirarethe rishiswho. New Delhi. was also constructing his fort in Delhi. the king got annoyed and ordered all the Telis (oil suppliers) to stop providingoil to Nizamuddinso thathe would not be able to kindle lamps. But when the latter did not abide. Colpe. Princeton. Bazaz. R E (1976): Mappila Muslinms Kerala.The rishis who flourishedlaterunderthe rule of Zainul Abidin carried the torch of humanism. S L (1980): 'Religion and Ethnic Traditionamong the Meos' in L P Vidyarthi (ed). No 17.The king asked Nizamuddin to postpone constructionof the mosque.Aspects of SocialAnthropologyin India.It becomes quite apparent from the illustrations provided here that there is a great deal of syncretic culture and religion at the folk level. Oxford University Press. a tolerant variety of religionemergedthere. Right in the heart of Delhi. althoughthey do not suffer themselves to be fettered by traditions. Muslim Shrines in India. where it is believed. The emperor also used to visit the fair and distributeflowers among the people [Brelvi 1995]. The Indian Express. Composite Culture of India and National Integration.He approached the Pirzada to help him to get the body released from the Police morgue. Composite Culture of India and National Integration. S T (1987): 'Indian Islam. When NaseeruddinChisti came to know of this he went to Nizamuddin and converted all the water in a small reservoirinto oil. 1996 - 1215 . Oxford University Press. 90 per cent of the devotees of the shrineareHindus. king. If syncretismhad been given due recognition.M K A (1992): 'Muslimsin India:Some with Social Aspects of their Interrelationship Environment' in K S Singh (ed). New Delhi. Hindu grooms of the locality proceed to marryonly after praying at the shrine. Narayan. Mumbai. In Kashmir.lt is said that when Nizamuddin Aulia was trying to construct a mosque. Shamas. Bamzai.. the hermitess. 'Phool Walo Ki Sair' is an old tradition in Zaffar originating thetimesof Bhadurshah when long processions (comprising both HindusandMuslims)used togo fromAjmeri gate to Mehrauli with a great fun fare. Vol III.P N Bazaz (1995) opines that though the Kashmirvalley embracedIslam in the 14th century. Even today. Indian Instituteof Advanced Studies.New Delhi. Metropolitan Book Company. Similarly.JJ(1995):'HajiMalang: and Shrinein Distress'. The Times of India. the Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq. Muslim Shrines in India. the 'rishis' wielded tremendous influence over the educated and the illiterate.could have been highlighted. Mohiuddin. A (1994): Studies In Islamic CultureIn The Indian Sub-Continent. Heis also knownas 'Jangal Baba' since he used to meditate inside a forest. Aspects of Social Antihropology in India. Bayly. Puja'. There are two thousand of these Rishis in Kashmir". Princeton University Press. Mumbai. According to many scholars the 'rishi cult' was mainly responsible for this. Deep and Deep Publications.a disciple by dargah nameofJalauddin of ChiraghDelhi. Many of them had both Hindu and Muslim names and it was often difficult to discern whether they were Hindu or Muslim. Living humble lives of poverty. Khwaja Naseeruddin was adiscipleof NizamuddinAuliaandpreached religious tolerance according to the sufi traditions.Duringthe 'urs' a chadaris taken out in a procession to the Divya Bhairon temple and is broughtback after taking a circle around the temple (a sort of respect to the deity). Vol 2. New Delhi. S (1980): 'The Sacred Complex in Rajgir' in L P Vidyarthi (ed). May 16. The happeningsat Ayodhya or Mumbai cannot erode the deeply entrenchedsyncretism. Dale. S (1995): 'During BahadurShah Zaffar's Time'. Vol 14. Since he restored light to the shrine he became popularlyknownas ChiragDelhi. Roy. they plantthe roadswith fruit trees to furnish the traveller with refreshments. after the demolition of the Babri masjid. primeministerbeing the an occasional visitor to it. S (1983): Meos of India: TheirCustoms and Laws. They revile not any other sect and ask nothingof any one. of Orient Longman. Classical Publications. Mumbai. pp 197-200. People from far-flung places frequentthe shrine to ask for boons at times of calamity. Saiyad. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. At presenta Hinduwoman hailing from a wealthy industrialistfamily. September 10. Sharma. Close to Chirag Delhi there is another Chisti. Shimla. OUP. Economic and Political Weekly May 18. New York. Cambridge. D (1987): 'The Mysteryof the Nizamuddin Dargah: The Accounts of Pilgrims' in C W Troll (ed). (27). Paul.EcononLicNews Views. National Book Trust. New Delhi. Oxford University Press. S F and M G Menn (1989): 'Nerccas: the Saint-MartyrWorship Amnong Muslims of Kerala' in C W Troll (ed). S (1992): Saints. Even now Hindus and Muslims visit his shrine to ask for boons. religioustoleranceandHindu-Muslim amity. Muslim Shrines in India. Hindustan Times.The forest aroundthe shrine has been declared as reservedforestby the Delhi Development Authority. Brelvi. Siddiqui. S L M (1989): 'Rituals and Customary Practicesat the Dargahof Ajmer'in C W Troll (ed). P N K (1962): A History of Kashmir. Because of this there was acute shortageof labour. Pinto.aredoubtlesstrueworshippersof god.which are in all probabilityassociatedwith the Babrimasjid or Chrar-e-Sharief . Deep and Deep Publications. September 10.Shimla. Casteand People.harmonised shaivismwith the basic tenets of Islam and reasserted the cardinalprincipleof Kashmiriculture. New Delhi. Guha. R (1987): 'Composite Culture as a New National Identity'in R Khan(ed).LalDedorLaleswari. Journal of Indian Anthropological Society.. Cambridge University Press. Classical Publications.

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