Balochistan Archives now online

“The Balochistan Archives has an impressive collection of the official records, rare books, and rare photographs of the British period. The Directorate has catalogued 27,000 files for research purposes in addition to 29,000 files of defunct Commissioners’ Office. Our collections include the Agent to the Governor General (AGG) Balochistan’s Records (1831-1947), Revenue Commissioner’s Records (1855-1955), Chief Commissioner’s Records (1910-1937), and Balochistan Secretariat Records (1903-1954).”

It also includes collections of rare books, manuscripts and maps, as well as Shahi Jirga records, etc.

More information is available on its official website and its Facebook page.

Learning Sindhi language in India

Learning Sindhi

Sindhi is a language spoken as a mother tongue by 23.4 million people in Pakistan, where it is the official language of the province of Sindh, and 2.8 million people in India, where it enjoys official status since its inclusion in 1967 in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Sindhi’s official recognition has given the language institutional support: the Sindhi Adabi Board and the Institute of Sindhology in Pakistan and the Sahitya Akademi in India which promote the publication of literature and research in Sindhi.

Sindhi used to be written in a plurality of scripts, both Perso-Arabic and Sanskritic, up until the mid-nineteenth century. But after their annexation of the province in 1843, the British decided to standardize Sindhi to use it as an administrative language. The script now in use, a modified Arabic script in Naskh style, was created in the early 1850s and adopted by the East India Company for official use. Indian Sindhis, however, after the 1947 Partition, remain undecided over whether to employ the Devanagari or Perso-Arabic script and many writers and schools have switched to the former.

Sindhi shares a number of features with other Indo-Aryan languages, such as retroflex sounds and word order, but also possesses specificities of its own: its phonology includes a set of rare implosive phonemes, while its grammar is characterized by the use of pronominal suffixes which allow the speaker to condense a sentence into a single word.

Due to a lack of demand, there is unfortunately a limited offer of courses and material to learn Sindhi for non-native speaking students. This article presents brief information on two major learning centers for Sindhi in India and lists available material.

Indian Institute of Sindhology, Adipur-Gandhidam

Julien Levesque, 2012 student

The Indian Institute of Sindhology does not offer a proper course as such but provides a favorable context to learn Sindhi. The Institute was set up in 1989 by writers and scholars for the preservation and promotion of Sindhi culture. It has a school attended by more than 600 students and also conducts research and publication activities. Cultural events, concerts or theater plays, are held monthly. The Institute possesses an important library catalog as well as a folklore department in charge of collecting and digitalizing folk music.

I contacted the Indian Institute of Sindhology in May 2012 to inquire about the possibility of learning Sindhi in Adipur and was agreeably surprised by the quick and positive response from the director Mr Lakhmi Khilani. I received a warm welcome and was hosted for a month in the Institute’s guest house, located in the Malir Enclave where the staff lives.

As I was the sole student, my learning was mostly based on a two-volume correspondence teaching book designed by the Indian Institute of Sindhology for the Central Institute of Indian Languages. Every day, I would first read the lessons, complete the exercises, and then spend about two hours with Mr Preetam Varyani who would explain grammar rules and invite me to read out loud in Sindhi. As a town founded by Sindhi migrants from Pakistan and still largely populated by Sindhis, Adipur is probably the only place in India where the learner can practice his or her newly acquired language skills with shopkeepers. I was really satisfied of my stay in Adipur, since I was able to go over most of the lessons of the two-volume book, but I would never had made such progress had I not had previous solid knowledge of Hindi and Urdu. The book is fairly well-designed but cannot be used as a self-teaching method by somebody unfamiliar with North Indian languages.

For more information and questions, contact me at


AIIS, Sindhi Summer Language Program, Pune

Natasha Raheja, 2010 student

In 2010, from early June to mid-August, I participated in a ten-week Sindhi language program where I was the only student and was paired with two part-time teachers. I received instruction in both the Devanagari and Arabi scripts in the areas of writing, grammar, listening comprehension, speaking, and literature from 9am to 1pm, five days a week, with occasional guest speakers and field trips. My classes were held at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Language Center at the beautiful Deccan College Campus in Pune. Classes in Marathi, Sanskrit, and Prakrit are regularly held at this center and at the tea break and lunch hour, these students were good company for a lone student. While AIIS does not offer Sindhi on a regular basis, if even one student submits a strong application to learn Sindhi or any other less commonly taught language, they will happily make the necessary arrangements.

In the months of June, July, and August, the weather in Pune is quite cool and pleasant. While the city does not offer an immersive environment for Sindhi language learning like Ajmer, towns in Kutch, and other locales that have emerged out of former refugee camps, Pune is home to many prominent Sindhi literary figures, cultural institutions, and places of worship, which offer students the promise of engaging interactions and productive language learning opportunities. The Sindhi colony and former refugee camp of Pimpri is in close proximity to Pune and can be visited at ease. Longer field trips from Pune to the former Sindhi refugee camps and populous Sindhi colonies of Kalyan and Ulhasnagar are also feasible over the weekends.

When I was a student, there were not many options for accommodations presented to us that were close to the college campus and commutes of 30-45 minutes each way were part of our daily routine. The teachers are friendly and well-connected and may be able to arrange for a home stay in a Sindhi speaking household. There are just a handful of structured, short-term Sindhi language courses and this one is well organized and instructive.

For more information and questions, contact me at


Short-term Sindhi Language Courses

Indian Institute of Sindhology (Adipur-Gandhidham, Gujarat, India)

Inquire at:

Instructors: Lakhmi Khilani, Preetam Varyani, Satish Rohra

American Institute of Indian Studies

Apply at:

Instructors: Jiwat Keswani, Bhojraj Lekhwani

SASLI program, University of Wisconsin – Madison (United-States)

Apply at:

Sindhi Courses at University Level

University of Sindh (Jamshoro, Pakistan)

University of Karachi (Karachi, Pakistan)

Shah Abdul Latif University (Khairpur, Pakistan)

Tolani College (Adipur, Gujarat, India)

Western Regional Language Centre, Central Institute of Indian Languages (Pune, India)

R. K. Talreja College (Ulhasnagar, India)


Learning materials

Sindhi Language Book (2 volumes), Satish Rohra, B. Syamala Kumari & I. S. Borkar (eds), Central Institute of Indian Languages & Indian Institute of Sindhology, 2007.

Sindhi: An Introductory Course for English Speakers, Hubert F. Addleton & Pauline A. Brown, Doorlight Publications, 2010.

An Intensive Course in Sindhi, Kanhaiyalal Lekhwani, Central Institute of Indian Languages, 1995.

Tribute to Dr Charu Gidwani (1970-2013)

Dr Charu Gidwani was born on 21 August 1970 in Pune, Maharashtra (India). She was the daughter of the renowned scholar Dr Parso Gidwani (1932-2004) and of Pushpa Khubchandani. Parso was born in Dadu, Sindh, nowadays in Pakistan and Pushpa was born in Karachi. In 1947 both their families migrated to India, leaving their ancestral Sindh. Dr Parso Gidwani finally established in Pune where he taught Sindhi linguistics and literature at the Deccan College. Born after an elder brother named Rohitesh, young Charu grew up in the academic environment of the Deccan College in Pune.

Dr Charu Gidwani (centre) “at home” with friends, in the Sindhi-speaking area of Banni
Dr Charu Gidwani (centre) “at home” with friends, in the Sindhi-speaking area of Banni

Charu showed great interest in English Literature. In 1990, she graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Pune and with an M.A. in 1992. The same year Charu Gidwani started her teaching career in Abeda Inamdar College in Pune (Maharashtra) where she was to stay two years. In September 1994, she shifted to R.K. Talreja College in Ulhasnagar. In 2004, she defended a Ph.D. in the University of Pune on “Depicting of childhood in the works of Tagore”. Later on, she was Associate Professor in English Literature at R.K. Talreja College.

Despite her specialization in Tagore’s work, for which she was considered an expert, Dr Charu Gidwani was familiarized with Sindhi spirituality since her early childhood. Among other Sindhi mystics, Hindu Sufis used to visit the family, as for example Dada Ajwani (1920-2001), the author of several Sufi kalams, for whom she had a deep affection. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that her father’s Ph.D. had been devoted to a comparative study of Hindi and Sufi poets (Sagaur University, 1966). In sum, the Gidwani family, where she grew up, thus perfectly mirrored the open minded conception of Sindh culture, based on toleration expressed in the sharing of poetry and the performance of devotional songs.

When Dr Parso Gidwani passed away in 2004, Charu started to look at her father’s papers. Her   will was to publish a number of them which were still under manuscript form. Among her main achievements in this field, there was Dr Parso’s seminal work on “Similarities in Sindhi and Dravidian Languages” in 2007, for which she had written a post-face. Another one was the publication in 2010 of Sindhi Lok Geet- Bolia Ji Osar by the Sindhi Language Authority, in Hyderabad, Sindh (Pakistan), with a preface in Sindhi of her own. She was thus, with her father, one of the very few Indian Sindhi scholars to have been published in Pakistan. Dr Charu Gidwani was still fighting to edit her father’s magnum opus: the “Etymological Dictionary of Sindhi”, containing around 10 million entries which lies with the Deccan College unpublished, a unique piece of scholarship which is still missing many students and scholars.

Progressively, she became more and more involved in Sindhi literature and culture. After her parents acquired a house in Kutch, in the Sindhi speaking area of Banni, she had the opportunity to spend days in a rural Sindhi milieu. She had to be back there for research fieldwork on Sufi Sindhi legacy in summer 2012. Her fame in the field of Sindhi Studies was growing every day. Dr Charu Gidwani was in touch with Sindhi scholars in India, but also in Pakistan, such as Professor Ghulamali Allana, a former director of the Institute of Sindhology (University of Sindh, Jamshoro) and former vice-chancellor of Allama Open University in Islamabad.

In the same time, Dr Charu Gidwani was more and more concerned with the future of Sindhi literature and language. She was very upset to see the decline of Sindhi language in India, and concerned that the treasure of Sindhi Sufi poetry remains unknown. In Ulhasnagar, a place which has been a hub of Sindhi refugees, she began to regularly visit Sindhi darbars like that of Rai Rochaldas in Shantinagar. She was fascinated by Sindhi Sufi poetry and singings and was fond of attending satsangs where her discrete, sweet and charismatic presence was much appreciated.

She had already participated in a number of seminars and workshops (see the list below) where she had delivered talks on the issue of Sindhi identity. More and more, she felt that the Sindhi Sufi legacy was the core of Sindhi identity and interestingly in the wake of her father’s work, she was working on an anthology of Sufi texts, with the Sindhi original and an English translation. She had also started to study different Sindhi Sufi traditions in India. To implement her study, she had travelled in a number of cities like Ulhasnagar, Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri, Delhi, Haridwar, Vadodara, Nagpur, and many others.

Her short but so rich life will not give her the opportunity to realize the many projects she had in mind. Last but not least, she had created with her family The Parso Gidwani Centre for Sindhi Studies in 2011. This is a living testimony of the richness of the Sindhi culture she has cherished. Among the Sufi poets she was fond of, there is Dalpat Sufi (1769-1842), a Hindu Sufi who was born in Sehwan Sharif and who had died a year before the British conquest of Sindh. The English translation is Dr Charu’s one, and it perfectly reflects her poetic sensitivity:


وﻥﺀ ﭘﻨﻬﺟﻲ وﻂﻦ ڏﻱ ﺳﭸﺎﺛﻲ ﺩﻟﭘﺕ ﺩﻡ

ﻧﻚﻮﺳﺎڌ ﻧﻴﻤﻦ ﮐﻲ ﻧﻚﻮ ﺳﺎڌﻳﻢ

ﮀڏ اﭜﻤﺎن دﻳﻬﻪ ﺟﻮ ذات ورن ﻛﺮ ﮔﻢ

 ﺳﮑﻪ ﭤﻲ وﭸﻲ ﺳﻣﻬﻪ ﺳﺎﻣﻲ ﺳﺖ ﺳﺮوپ ۾

(Deewan Dalpat, Ed. Gidumal Khatanmal Harjani, Kalyan, 1965, p. 68)

Go to the land of your origin, knowing give you breath Dalpat

Do not pursue rituals, nor on death do medidate,

Leave all arrogance of the body, caste and colour renounce,

Be blissful and go immerse, in the True Master’s Being


List of Dr Charu Gidwani’s achievements (prepared by Rohitesh Gidwani)


Abstracts in Seminar Proceedings

Rethinking William Jones’ Family Tree of Languages, Deogiri College, Aurangabad, July, 2008

Language: Preserver and Nourisher of the Ethnic Self, NEHU, Tura, Nov-2009

Rethinking William Jones’ Family Tree of Languages, West Goalpara College,Goalpara, Nov-2009

Identity Crisis Of The Displaced Sindhi-Hindus In India. North Gauhati College, Gauhati, June-2011

Language: Preserver of Sindhi Identity, Narrativizing margins, Assam University, Diphu, Jan-2012

Sindhi Sufi poetry in post-partition India. CLAI & Central University of Rajasthan, Ajmer, Feb-2012

Papers in Seminar Souvenirs/Proceedings

Tagore- poet,critic. Nabira Mahavidyalaya, Katol, Sep-2008

Tagore- Indianness in the face of colonialism Nabira Mahavidyalaya, Katol, Feb-2009

Language: Preserver and Nourisher of Ethnic Self,  Jaihind College, Pimpri, February, 2012

Research articles/papers in International Journals

Contributed to “Similarities in Sindhi & Dravidian Languages”, IJDL, Jan-2007

Translations of Jhulelal Panjras in Newsletter, MIFS, Sep-2009

“Sindhi Customs, Literature and Oratures”, The Marginal Voice, Vol-II, NINAD, May-2011

Research articles/papers in National Journals/Books

‘Some ceremonial milestones in the life of a Sindhi male”, DLA, Kerala, March-2006

Book review of ‘Pages of My Life’, JJCL, Vol. 48, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 2010-2011.

‘Tagore: Indianness in the face of colonialism’ in Multiplexity of postcolonial literature, Author’s Press, New Delhi, 2010, pg 53-56

Book review of ‘Divine Dwellers in the Desert’,

International Book

Sindhi Lok Geet- Bolia Ji Osar, Sindhi Language Authority, Hyderabad, Sindh, 2010

Creative Writing

Short Story- Green Leaves of Life, Melange, Guwahati, Sep-2008.

Short Story- Convenience, Melange, Guwahati, Dec-2008.

Short Story-  Lines, Melange, Guwahati, March-2009.

Sufi Stories of Sindh,

Sindhi Folksongs

‘Manto: Burden of Pain’, Muse India May-June,2012,

Seminars / Workshops/ Conferences/ Meetings attended          


Improved Instructional Skills, Disha Research and Resource Centre, Pune,May,2006

FYand SY syllabus, Jhunjhunwala College, Ghatkopar, 11th September, 2007

National Seminars

’Emerging trends in contemporary American Literature’, 7th February,2008, conducted by Dept of English, CHM College and The American Center, Mumbai

Indian Literary Criticism, Deogiri College, Aurangabad, July, 2008. Title of paper- Rethinking William Jones’ Family Tree of Languages

Indian Literary Criticism in English, Nabira Mahavidyalaya, Katol, Sep-2008. Title of paper- Tagore- poet,critic

Postcolonial Indian English Literature, Nabira Mahavidyalaya, Katol, Feb-2009. Title of paper- Tagore- Indianness in the face of colonialism

Subaltern Studies in the Global Context, Mahatma Phule College, Panvel, March-2009.

Culture and Ethnic Persistence, NEHU, Tura, Nov-2009. Title of paper- Language: Preserver and Nourisher of the Ethnic Self

Postcolonialism, West Goalpara College, Goalpara, Nov-2009. Title of paper- Rethinking William Jones’ Family Tree of Languages

Tribal Literature, Gauhati University, Gauhati, Feb-2011. Title of paper- Sindhi Literature- A case of Cultural Dislocation.

Social Exclusion and Inclusive Development, North Gauhati College, Gauhati, June-2011. Title of paper- Identity Crisis Of The Displaced Sindhi-Hindus In India.

International Seminars/ Conferences

Understanding and Interrogating Fourth World Literatures, AN University, Guntur, September-2009. Title of paper- A Lost Voice, A Lost Identity: Sindhi

Expanding Territories, CLAI & Sahitya Akademi, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, March-2010. Title of paper- Sindhi Language and Identity

Sociological Imagination in Comparative Perspective, CLAI, Gujarat, March 2011. Title of paper- The curious case of Sindhi Literature and Art.

Narrativizing margins, Assam University, Diphu, Jan-2012. Title of paper- Language: Preserver of Sindhi Identity

Minority Discourses, CLAI & Central University of Rajasthan, Ajmer, Feb-2012.

Title of paper- Sindhi Sufi poetry in post-partition India.

Other achievements

a) Refresher courses/orientation programs attended-

Refresher Course -Goa University, March 2008

b) Guest speaker/Judges/Co-ordinator-

Guest speaker

Momin College, “Enjoying Poetry”, 29th January,2008

SB College, “Analysis of Register”, 5th December,2008

SB College, “Feminism”, 27th February,2009

Momin College, “Indian Literature”, February,2010

Momin College, “Indian Literature”, January,2011


Smt KC Gandhi School, Kalyan 9th August, 2008

c) Resource Person at Conference/Seminars/Workshops/Symposia/Refresher  courses

Women’s Day at Kohinoor Technical Institute, Kalyan March 2011.

National Seminar on “Ravindranath Tagore: Image & Influences”, 27th January, 2012

State Level Seminar on “ Sindhi Language & Young Generation”, 18th February, 2012

Chairperson at International Seminar on ‘Religious minorities in India and Pakistan’, CSH (French Centre of Social Sciences and Humanities), Delhi, 25th April, 2012

Resource person at Refresher Course, University of Mumbai, 23rd October, 2012

Talk on ‘How to write research articles’ at Bharat College, Badlapur on 23rd August, 2012

Administrative work at University

Paper Setter for TYBA-February, 2008 and February, 2009

Moderator- June, 2010

Examiner-April-May, 2008

Examiner for MA- April 2005, April 2007, April 2008

Call for papers: “Sindh through the centuries”, December 2013

Second International Seminar on

“Sindh through the centuries”

Karachi, December 2013

“Sindh Madressatul Islam University is organizing Second International Seminar on “Sindh Through the Centuries” at Karachi in December 2013. The seminar will focus on history, culture, language, archeology, anthropology, cuisine, arts and crafts of Sindh, which has the distinction of being the seat of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

Here it may be noted that the first International Seminar on “Sindh through the Centuries” was held at Karachi in March 1975 wherein scholars from all over the world had shared their research on various aspects of Sindh.

An Organizing Committee has been constituted to organize the event in befitting manner. The Committee comprises eminent historian Dr Hamida Khuhro as convener, Dr Nilofar Shaikh (archeologist & former VC SALU), Mrs Mehtab Akber Rashdi (former Secretary Culture and Director Institute of Sindhiology), Dr Fahmida Hussain (Chairperson Sindhi Language Authority), Ms Ameena Syed (MD, OUP), Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed (Director, Pakistan Study Center KU) and SMIU’s Ms Shaista M. Ali, Dr Safeeullah Soomro and Mr Anwer Abro. Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, Vice Chancellor SMIU shall co-chair.

The scholars desirous of participating in the Seminar and contributing their papers relating to the theme of the conference may submit abstract of their papers (250-500 words) through Email: latest by 15th May 2013. The accepted abstracts shall be notified by 31st May 2013. The Scholars shall be required to submit their full length papers latest by 31st October 2013 in order to participate in the conference to be held in December 2013 (exact dates shall be notified shortly).”

Sindh Madressatul Islam University
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Phones: +92 21 99217501-3, Fax: + 92 21 99217504
Email:, URA:

Workshop: Pilgrims and Politics in Pakistan, 21 May 2013 (Paris)

This Workshop, whose proceedings will be conducted in English, aims to focus attention on the adaptation of the institutions and languages of Sufism to the political economy of different regions of Pakistan and to explore the potential of Sufism to negotiate the impact of radical Islam on the Pakistani state. Bringing together established and early career scholars working across a range of disciplines, including history, anthropology and political science, the Workshop is intended to deepen our understanding of Sufism in Pakistan not as a ‘degraded’ form of Islamic mysticism but as a living tradition ever responsive to wider social and political changes at the local and national levels.  By doing so, it hopes to shed light on the resilience of Sufism to survive the challenge of more ‘modern’ forms of reformist Islam sweeping Pakistan as well as Sufism’s capacity to withstand the historical pressures brought to bear on it by the state’s own ‘modernist’ agenda.


May, 21, 2013 – 9h30 – 18h

Key-note address

  • Professor Nile Green (Professor of History, UCLA) ‘Making Sense of Sufism in South Asia and Beyond.’

Sufism and regional identity in Sind

  • Professor Michel Boivin (Directeur de recherche CNRS, CEIAS-EHESS) ‘The languages of Sufism in the lands of the Sindhu’
  • Julien Levesque (Doctoral Student, CEIAS-EHESS) ‘Claiming Sufism as a marker of ethnicity: identity politics and religion’

Moderator: Professor Claude Markovits (Directeur de recherche CNRS, CEIAS-EHESS)

Sufism and reformist zeal in Punjab

  • Professor Tahir Kamran (Iqbal Fellow, University of Cambridge) ‘Chishti Revivalism and sectarianism in the tradition of the Sialvi Saints in the Punjab’
  • Muhammad Mubeen (Doctoral Student, CEIAS-EHESS) ‘Islamic reformism and Chishti shrines in the Punjab’

Moderator: Professor Denis Matringe (Directeur de recherche CNRS, CEIAS-EHESS)

Sufism and Pashtun activism in northern Pakistan

  • Dr Mariam Abou-Zahab (IEP-Paris & INALCO) ‘Sufism and the construction of Pashtun identity’
  • Dr James Caron (SOAS, London) ‘Pashto Sufi Literary Cultures: Local Institutions, Inter-regional Evasions’

Moderator:  Dr Aminah Mohammad-Arif (Chargée de recherche & Directrice-adjointe CEIAS-EHESS)

Sufism and the Pakistani State

  • Dr Farzana Shaikh (Institut d’études avancées, Paris) ‘Sufism and the modernist state in Pakistan’
  • Dr Alix Philippon (IEP-CHERPA Université d’Aix-Marseille) ‘State and Anti-State: the dynamics of Sufism in Pakistan’

Moderator:  Professor Max Zins (Directeur de recherche CNRS, CERI-Sciences Po)

Registration compulsory :

For more information:


Book: Nocturnal Music in the Land of the Sufis by Jürgen Wasim Frembgen

Nocturnal Music in the Land of the Sufis  Unheard PakistanJürgen Wasim Frembgen, Nocturnal Music in the Land of the Sufis. Unheard Pakistan, Karachi, OUP, 2012.

“In Nocturnal Music in the Land of the Sufis, Jürgen Wasim Frembgen takes the reader along on his fascinating journeys into the world of mystic music in Pakistan. In rich descriptions, he relates his personal experiences and emotions during ecstatic nights of transcendental music at Sufi shrines. He also recounts trance rituals and the sublime rapture of classical music in private music rooms in Lahore. In his ethnographic narrative, he unfolds authentic cultural contexts and life-worlds in which music is deeply embedded, tracing how music is perceived and ‘tasted’ by listeners. He himself listens with all his senses, above all with the ‘ear of the heart’, to the nuances in sounds which seek to remove the veils between man and God. Thus, he experiences spirituality and discovers the enormous power of music in the land of the Sufis – experiences and discoveries that he shares with the reader in this volume.”

Nocturnal Music in the Land of the Sufis is a ‘musical archive of memory’, a personal travelogue… Frembgen takes the reader with him into his world, the world of Sufis and fakirs, dervishes and hijras, a world of mysticism and music. He provides fantastic insights into Pakistani Sufi Islam.… The book is not like an ethnological academic report; it is much more like a kind of travel fairytale or fairytale journey; every section entices the reader deeper into a mystical, almost magical world…

– Simone Falk Art & Thought 96 (2011), p. 80

Workshop: Discussing recent work on Islam in South Asia

The research team “History and Sufism in the Indus Valley“, coordinated by Michel Boivin at the Center for South Asian Studies (CEIAS) in Paris, organizes a workshop to discuss on recent publications focusing on Islam in India and Pakistan. It will be held at the CEIAS on 24 January 2013 between 9 am and 1 .30 pm. For more information about this event, you can contact Delphine Ortis.

Julien Levesque will discuss the book by Alix Philippon, Soufisme et politique au Pakistan. Le mouvement barelwi à l’heure de la “guerre contre le terrorisme”, Karthala – Sciences Po Aix, 2011.

Discussant: Alix Philippon (IEP Aix-en Provence)

Delphine Ortis will draw a comparative review of recent books dealing with dargah in India: Anna Bigelow, 2010, Sharing the Sacred. Practicing Pluralism in Muslim North India, Oxford University Press ; Kelly Pemberton, 2010, Women Mystics and Sufi Shrines in India, University of South Carolina Press ; Carla Bellamy, 2011, The Powerful Ephemeral. Everyday Healing in an Ambiguously Islamic Place, Berkeley, University of California Press.

Discussant: Farzana Shaikh, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London

Michel Boivin will discuss on new works about Ismailis and Aga Khans, through a presentation of the book by Teena Purohit, 2012, The Aga Khan Case. Religion and Identity in Colonial India, Harvard University Press, et de quelques autres.

Discussant: Denis Hermann, CNRS-Mondes iranien et indien

The First International Conference on Karachi (2013)

The First International Conference on Karachi will be held in 2013 in Karachi. For the purpose abstracts are invited on the broad theme divided in to ‘the historical’, ‘the contemporary’, and ‘the physical’ on all subjects related to Karachi. Abstracts should be 300 – 350 words required to be submitted on the prescribed e-mail (contact) address along with a brief bio-data of the contributors, by 30th of January, 2013; selected abstracts will be notified accordingly. Here is the link for submitting an abstract.

For more information about the event, see the conference dedicated website.


International conference: Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods

Call for papers

‘Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods: theories and practices’ Conference

University of Cambridge, 15 – 16 March 2013

CFP deadline: 31 December 2012

Conveners: Dr Annamaria Motrescu (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Marcus Banks (University of Oxford)

Full details at

The Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge, and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) are organising the first international conference on ‘Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods: theories and practices’.

This conference aims to investigate the ways in which visual research methods support the development of new perspectives on modern South Asian history. It will explore the strategies employed by historians and scholars of visual (digital) culture, film and visual anthropology when incorporating representations of South Asian history within the framework of traditional historical scholarship. Also, the role of interdisciplinary research in terms of producing, distributing, re-interpreting and repatriating visual records of South Asian history will be assessed throughout several roundtable discussions.

The conference will create for the first time the opportunity to strengthen the network of historians, anthropologists, visual and digital scholars and artists concerned with the re-examination of modern South Asian history across visual records. It proposes four themes of investigation that will support new scholarly developments:
▪       digital humanities and issues of South Asian history, visuality and ethnographic enquiry
▪       theories of visual anthropology relevant to historiographical research of South Asia
▪       examples of historical scholarship strengthened by visual research methodologies
▪       historical and anthropological practices replicated in visual artwork inspired by South Asian history

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Professor Marcus Banks (University of Oxford) and by Professor Christopher Pinney (University College London). Papers, panels and roundtable discussions led by international scholars such as Professor Denis Vidal (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris), Dr Clare Harris (University of Oxford) and Professor Ravi Vasudevan (CSDS, Delhi) will explore new perspectives on visual research methods and modern South Asian history. Also, there will be three exclusive presentations by the renowned visual artists Pushpamala N., Rajkamal Kahlon and Ayesha Abraham. The opening address will be delivered by Professor Sir C.A. Bayly, Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies.

Location: CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT.

The conference organisers invite proposals for papers or presentations of 20 minutes in length. Abstracts of 300 words and an author biography (including institutional affiliation) should be submitted via email to by 31 December 2012.

Any questions and concerns can be directed to Dr Annamaria Motrescu amm230 [at]

Preserving endangered Urdu language periodicals

The University of Chicago has been awarded a grant from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP), funded by Arcadia, for the digitization and preservation of 60 rare and endangered Urdu language periodicals. You can read more about the project EAP566: Endangered Urdu periodicals: preservation and access for vulnerable scholarly resources.

You can also read about the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP), funded by Arcadia, which sponsor several projects of digital archives in India and Pakistan.

A comparative review of recent books on Pakistan (EPW)

In her review article (“Contesting notions of Pakistan“, Economic & Political Weekly, November 10, 2012, vol. XLVII, n°45.), S Akbar Zaidi, a political economist based in Karachi, draws a comparative, critical and stimulating analysis of six recent books focusing on Pakistan. These books, of varying genres (journalistic, policy-oriented, academic, literary…) and covering various themes (history, state formation, religion, politics, economy…), offer contrasting views, analysis and interpretations of today’s Pakistan.

Here below are the books chosen by S Akbar Zaidi for the review:

Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven (London: Allen Lane), 2011.

“In the past decade Pakistan has become a country of immense importance to its region, the United States, and the world. With almost 200 million people, a 500,000-man army, nuclear weapons, and a large diaspora in Britain and North America, Pakistan is central to the hopes of jihadis and the fears of their enemies. Yet the greatest short-term threat to Pakistan is not Islamist insurgency as such, but the actions of the United States, and the greatest longterm threat is ecological change….” (back cover)

The Future of Pakistan by Stephen P Cohen and Others (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2011.

“With each passing day, Pakistan becomes an even more crucial player in world affairs. Home of the world’s second-largest Muslim population, epicenter of the global jihad, location of perhaps the planet’s most dangerous borderlands, and armed with nuclear weapons, this South Asian nation will go a long way toward determining what the world looks like ten years from now…” (back cover)

Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ edited by Maleeha Lodhi (Karachi: Oxford University Press), 2011.

“Seen through the lens of the outsider, Pakistan has often been reduced to a caricature. Its diversity and resilience have rarely figured in the single-issue focus of recent literature on the country, be it journalistic or scholarly. This book seeks to present an alternate paradigm and to contribute a deeper understanding of the country’s dynamics that can help explain why Pakistan has confounded all the doomsday scenarios…” (back cover)

Secularising Islamists? Jama’at-e-Islami and Jama’at-ud-Da’wa in Urban Pakistan by Humeira Iqtidar (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press), 2011.

Secularizing Islamists? provides an in-depth analysis of two Islamist parties in Pakistan, the highly influential Jama‘at-e-Islami and the more militant Jama‘at-ud-Da‘wa, widely blamed for the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. Basing her findings on thirteen months of ethnographic work with the two parties in Lahore, Humeira Iqtidar proposes that these Islamists are involuntarily facilitating secularization within Muslim societies, even as they vehemently oppose secularism…” (back cover)

The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan by Saadia Toor (London: Pluto Press), 2011.

 “The State of Islam tells the story of the Pakistani nation-state through the lens of the Cold War, and more recently the War on Terror, in order to shed light on the domestic and international processes behind the rise of militant Islam across the world. Unlike existing scholarship on nationalism, Islam, and the state in Pakistan, which tends to privilege events in a narrowly-defined political realm, The State of Islam is a Gramscian analysis of cultural politics in Pakistan from its origins to the contemporary period…” (back cover)

Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan by Naveeda Khan (Durham: Duke University Press), 2012.

“In Muslim Becoming, Naveeda Khan challenges the claim that Pakistan’s relation to Islam is fragmented and problematic. Offering a radically different interpretation, Khan contends that Pakistan inherited an aspirational, always-becoming Islam, one with an open future and a tendency toward experimentation. For the individual, this aspirational tendency manifests in a continual striving to be a better Muslim…” (back cover)

International conference on Ethics and Spirituality in Islam, 29 November-1 December 2012

Ethic and Spirituality in Islam: Adab of the Sufis

(Ethique et spiritualité en islam: l’adab soufi)

29 November-1 December 2012



Eve Feuillebois-Pierunek (Sorbonne Nouvelle), Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen (INALCO, IUF), Luca Patrizi (University of Aix en Provence and L’Orientale at Naples)

Institutional partners

IISMM, Mondes iranien et indien, CETOBAC, Institut Universitaire de France, EHESS, IREMAM, INALCO-CERMOM

Au cœur de la culture arabe et islamique, se trouve la notion centrale d’adab. L’adab soufi correspond à la nécessité pour les soufis de discipliner leur âme, de codifier les rapports entre maître et disciple et de créer des règles pour la vie en communauté, qui aboutit finalement au développement d’institutions typiquement soufies. Pour le soufi, mais aussi pour le pieux musulman, l’adab est un usage du monde extérieur qui façonne en retour le monde intérieur, éduque le corps, dompte l’âme charnelle et libère l’esprit, grâce à l’exemple du Prophète reproduit dans la personne même du cheikh. Réfléchir sur l’adab soufi, c’est aussi réfléchir sur l’éthique de l’islam. Le colloque abordera, dans une perspective de longue durée, à la fois les questions de formation et de formulations de l’adab soufi; de normes et de transgressions; la comparaison avec le soufisme juif et les règles de vie du christianisme oriental; la question des genres littéraires (prière, musique, littérature) produits par l’adab soufi et de ses corpus (manuels, hagiographies…) à différentes époques.

Thursday 29 November 2012

IISMM, 96 boulevard Raspail 75 006 Paris (Métro Saint-Placide ou Notre-Dame-des-Champs)

9:00 – Accueil

9:15 – Mot du Directeur de l’IISMM et des organisateurs

9:30 – Conférence inaugurale

– Denis Gril (Aix-Marseille Université, IREMAM), « Adab et akhlāq  en islam »

10:00 – 12:30 – Formation et formulations de l’adab soufi

Séance présidée par Denis Gril

10:00 – Ahmet Karamustafa (University of Maryland, College Park), « Reading Medieval Persian Hagiography through the Prism of Adab : The Case of Asrār al-tawhīd»

10:30 – Jean-Jacques Thibon (Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, IREMAM), « Adab et éducation spirituelle chez les maîtres de Nīšābūr aux 3e et 4e siècles de l’hégire »

11:00 – Pause

11:30 – Florian Sobieroj (Friedrich Schiller Universität, Iena), « Literary Perspectives in  Qushayrī’s Meditations on Sufi Ethics: The ‘Uyūn al-ajwiba fī funūn al-as’ila »

12:00 – Francesco Chiabotti (Aix-Marseille Université, IREMAM), « Éthique et théologie : la pratique de l’adab dans le traité sur les noms divins d’Abū l-Qāsim ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Qushayrī (al-Taḥbīr fī ‘ilm al-tadhkīr) »

12:30 – Déjeuner à l’IISMM pour les participants

14:30 – 17:00 – L’adab comme éthique: norme et transgression

– Séance présidée par Ahmet Karamustafa, EPHE, Paris

14:30 – Paul L. Heck (Georgetown University, Washington, DC), « The Illumination of the Skeptic and the Mystical Basis of Ethical Action in Islam: The Case of Ghazali (d. 505/1111) »

15:00 – Lloyd Ridgeon (University of Glasgow), « Reading Sufi History through Ādāb: The Manners of Sufis, Jawānmardān and Qalandars »

15:30 – Pause

16:00 – Pierre Lory (EPHE, Paris), « Le saint fou comme modèle de l’éthique »

16:30 – Samuela Pagani (Università di Napoli «L’Orientale»), « L’adab comme bid‘a: les règles soufies au miroir du monachisme »

 Friday 30 November 2012


9:30 – 12:00 – Soufisme juif et monachisme chrétien oriental : d’autres ādāb

Séance présidée par Paul Heck

9:30 – Sabino Chiala (Monastero di Bose), « Les trois degrés de l’éthique : entre littérature monastique syro-orientale et adab soufi »

10:00 – Mariachiara Giorda (Università degli Studi di Torino), « Un système de règles de conduite dans le monachisme chrétien oriental (Ve-VIIe siècles) »

10:30 – Pause

11:00 – Elisha Russ-Fishbane (Princeton University), « Fellowship as a Spiritual Ethic : Mystical Fraternity in Medieval Jewish Sufis »

11:30 – Nathan Hofer (University of Missouri, Columbia), « Training the Prophetic Self : adab and riyāḍa in Jewish Sufism »

12:30 – Déjeuner au restaurant La Caspienne, 4 rue Stanislas, 75006 Paris

14:30 – 17:00 – Genres littéraires de l’adab soufi : manuels et hagiographies

– Séance présidée par Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi

14:30 – Erik S. Ohlander (Indiana University – Purdue University, Fort Wayne), « Situating Group, Self, and Act in the Medieval Sufi ribāṭ: The Kitāb zād al-musāfir wa-adab al-ḥāḍir of ʿImād al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Suhrawardī (d. 655/1257) »

15:00 – Eve Feuillebois-Pierunek (Université de Paris-III, CNRS-UMR Mondes iranien et indien, Paris), « ‘Ezz al-din Kāshāni et Abu’l Mafākher Yahyā Bākharzi : l’adab soufi vu par deux auteurs persans du 13e-14e siècle appartenant à deux confréries différentes »

15:30 – Pause

16:00 – Nelly Amri (Université de la Manouba), « Un ‟ manuel ” shādhilī d’adab soufi d’après les manāqib du cheikh ifrīqiyen ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Mzūghī (m. 675/1276) »

16:30 – Luca Patrizi (Università degli Studi di Torino), « Adab al-mulūk: l’utilisation allégorique de la terminologie du pouvoir dans le soufisme »

Saturday 1 December 2012

INALCO, 65 rue des Grands Moulins, 75013 Paris (Métro Bibliothèque Nationale)

9:30 – 12:00 – Genres de l’adab soufi : prière, musique, littérature

– Séance présidée par Michel Boivin

9:30 – Josef Dreher (IDEO, Le Caire), « Le rôle et la place des munajāt dans l’adab et les prières des mystiques musulmans »

10:00 – Mikko Viitamaki (University of Helsinki – EPHE), « The Delicate Balance: Adab and mystical states in sama‘ »

10:30 – Pause

11:00 – Stefan Reichmuth (Bochum Universität), « The Praise of a Sufi master as a Literary Event: al-Yûsî (d. 1691), his Daliyya and its Commentary (Nayl al-amani) »

11:30 – Ralf Elger (Université Martin Luther, Halle), « Taha al-Kurdî (d. 1214/1800) between Sufi adab and literary adab »

12:00 – Déjeuner à l’INALCO pour les participants

Visite de la BULAC

14:00 – Corpus d’adab à l’époque moderne et contemporaine

– Séance présidée par Erik Ohlander

14:00 – Fabio Alberto Ambrosio (CNRS-CETOBAC et IFEA-Istanbul), « L’époque de l’adab : le miroir soufi au xviie siècle »

14:30 – Rachida Chih (CNRS-CETOBAC, Paris), « Adab et cheminement dans la voie à l’époque ottomane d’après le Sayr al-sulûk de Khânî, le Tuhfat al-salikîn de Samannûdî et le Tuhfat al-ikhwân de Dardîr »

15:00 – Pause

15:30 – Michele Petrone (Università di Napoli «L’Orientale»), «Ādāb with an Absent Master: Sufis and Good Manners in African Tiǧāniyya»

16:00 – Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen (INALCO-CERMOM, IUF, Paris), « L’adab soufi à l’heure du réformisme musulman en Égypte »

16:30 – Conclusions

18:00 – Cocktail à l’INALCO