New PhDs in Sindhi Studies: 2019-2020

The last few years have been very productive in terms of Sindhi studies. Below, four summaries reflect on the dynamics of this field, but also the diversity of approaches.

Mustafa Ahmad Khan
Making Them Look the Other Way! The (Ir)rationality of Road Building in the Sindh Borderlands of Pakistan
PhD in Anthropology, SOAS, University of London, 2019.

Nimrita Kaur Rana,
Being and Becoming: Sindhis in Accra, Ghana
PhD in African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, 2019.

Practising Hinduism in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Devotion and the Politics of Untouchability in Ramdev Pir’s tradition of Sindh
PhD in History and Civilisations, EHESS, 2020.

Remembering Dominique-Sila Khan’s Ramdev Pir and the Ismailis in Rajasthan
By Mahek Khwaja
M.A in English Literature, Editorial Assistant at a publication house in Karachi

You can read all the summaries here: MIFS Newsletter  n°7-8 (July 2020)

Travel Diary: Udero Lal in Northern Sindh, October 2019

By Aneela Ahmed, Masooma Shakir and Fahmida Shaykh, Department of Planning and Architecture, NED University, Karachi.

“The Udero Lal Research Project (URLP) results from a MOU between the Centre for South Asian Studies (CEIAS), National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) and School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS), and the Department of Architecture and Planning, NED University of Engineering and Technology. Three research scholars visited research sites in Sindh in October 2019: Suneela Ahmed (NED), Michel Boivin (CEIAS) as co-PI, and Fahmida Shaykh (NED). The aim of this preliminary fieldwork was to survey the main sites dedicated to a sacred character related to the Indus River in northern Sindh, especially the Sukkur, Shikarpur and Rohri areas. The sacred characters associated wiwth the River are given several different names, such as Uderolal, Khwaja Khizr, Zinda Pir or Jinda Pir.”

Read the full report here: MIFS Newsletter  n°7-8 (July 2020)

Note on Udero Lal mandir in Ghorabari (Sindh)

By Sohaib Ahmed & Minhal Shamim, Department of Architecture, N. E. D. University, Karachi

“This paper is an abstract of a report titled “Architecture as a Reflection: A Case of Sacred Figure Uderolal” which was compiled after a fieldwork completed in October 2018. It was a part of the research program “Udero Lal Research Project”and conceived in the framework of a MOU between the CEIAS (CNRS-EHESS, Paris), and NED University in Karachi, under the supervision of Michel Boivin and Masooma Shakir. During the fieldwork, five sacred sites devoted to Udero Lal were visited: two temples in Karachi, one in Udero Lal, north of Hyderabad, one in Naserpur, and one in Ghorabari. This abstract deals with the Ghorabari mandir of Udero Lal. This personality, Uderolal has devotees in Sindh, and in India, and is known under different names. Jhulelal, Udero Lal, Sheikh Tahir, Darya Lal, Khwaja Khizr, Zinda Pir, and Lal Saen are some of the names associated with the sacred figure. These names have more to do with the beliefs and the history associated to Sindhi Hindus and Sindhi Muslims. The research examines how faith is embedded with customs in a prevailing society of overlapping traditions and studies how the different sanctuaries are bonded through architecture”…

Read the full report here : MIFS Newsletter  n°7-8 (July 2020)

In search of the Mohanas

By Saba Sindhri, CEIAS-EHESS

“This fieldwork was carried out as the part of the PERIDOT project named Udero Lal Research Project (ULRP) in the collaboration of CEIAS (CNRS-EHESS), Paris and NED university of Karachi. It was led by the Professor Masooma Shakir, head of the project from NED Pakistan side and other members: Professor Suneela Ahmed, two research students Rahat Arsalan and Sindhri Saba. The main purpose of the fieldwork was to visit the communities who revere Udero Lal and any sacred figure associated to the Indus river or the ocean, and observe how do they revere them through rituals and traditions.

Udero Lal is associated with different names such as Khwaja Khizr and Zinda Pir. Khwaja Khizr is the patron saint who often appears to travelers (Burton 1851). It was the first fieldwork for which we selected Mohana community for whom Richard F Burton (1851, p.252) writes, they adore Indus River under the name of Khwaja Khizr. Since, it was short-lived preliminary field, we selected Karachi Fish Harbor (KFH), where many fishermen are working. We started from the hypothesis that given their profession, it was plausible that they perform rituals related to the ocean. Continue reading In search of the Mohanas

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