CURA Colloquium: Beyond Worship: The Case of Politics of Modernity and Religious Piety in Sufi Shrines

  • Starts12:00 pm on Friday, March 3, 2023
  • Ends1:30 pm on Friday, March 3, 2023
with Aizaz Younas, PhD Student, Anthropology This paper focuses on the everyday social practices in Sufi shrines. Moving beyond the rituals of worship, the paper sheds light on the growing social engagements in the forms of conversations, chants, humor, collective unsegregated gatherings, communal eating, dating, and drug use that are fostered in the walls of the Shrines. Based on the findings from the three months long ethnographic research in the Shrines of Data Ali Hajveri (1009-1072) and Madho-Lal Hussain (1538-1599) in Lahore, Pakistan, the author tries to demonstrate why such everyday social engagements – ranging from religious activities to modern practices – carry an unconventional significance in the walls of the Shrines than in the outside world. Building on the concept of situational morality, the author suggests that the routine social engagements in the shrines reflect the tensions and negotiations between modernity and religiosity, which inform the lives of most people in contemporary Pakistan. Such negotiations between these “conflicting” concepts in the confines of the shrines are significant because they are otherwise curtailed by the puritanical political parties in the outside world, as they are said to stand against the direct teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.
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