Artefacts of Devotion

ISBN 9780199063215
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Sindh, the land and the river which gave its name to the subcontinent, is a region rich in history with a distinctive cultural heritage. It is the first base of Islam in the subcontinent but can be defined in religious terms as independent and more flexible. As a result, Sufi Islam took root here and spread across the Indus region attracting Muslim and non-Muslim devotees alike. In this book, Michel Boivin, who has devoted much of his time to the study of Sindh, takes his readers to Sehwan Sharif’s shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, one of the Sufi icons of Sindh. Shahbaz Qalandar, of Persian Asian descent, is described as one of the unconventional qalandars who was accepted as ‘one of the sons of Sindh’; his ‘kalam’ made him ‘a symbol of daring authenticity during times of stifling conformity’ to quote the author. Boivin has produced a volume that explores and explains ‘the Sufi repertoire’ as he terms the monuments and artefacts of devotion, particularly in the Qalandariyya context, and is enriched by painstakingly researched and striking images. Through the four main chapters and the Excursus, the reader is introduced to the description, history and significance of each aspect of the artefacts and of the shrines in the Indus region, mainly Sindh. The book is supported by a comprehensive glossary, a list of illustrations, bibliography and an index.