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. Continue reading Tribute to Dr Charu Gidwani (1970-2013)
The book edited by Michel Boivin (CNRS, Paris) and Matthew Cook (North Carolina Central University) provides an array of papers dealing with society and history. The topics are thus varied. Some of them are devoted to Pakistan, others to India and also to the Sindhi diaspora. One of the main effects of the book is to show that Sindhi studies are growing all over the world, since the authors belong to a world wide diversity of academic institutions. Among the most innovative papers, one has to mention Lata Parwani’s study of Jhule Lal. She “deconstructs” the myths of Jhule Lal, a regional Hindu god who was made the community God of the Hindu Sindhis of India. It played a leading role in the construction of a Sindhi Hindu identity in India. Paulo L. Horta highlights how Sindh was a salient experience in Richard Burton’s formation in Orientalism. He was nevertheless highly embedded in the British colonial agenda in asserting poetry as the expositor of the Sindhis.
Raheja, Natasha, Digital Diaspora: Online Articulations of Sindhi Hindu Identity, M.A. Thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 2010. Supervisor: Madhavi Mallapragada.
“This project is located at the intersections of diasporic cultures, new media spaces, and identity building. My thesis is concerned, in particular, with the digital mobilization of and negotiation between Sindhi regionalism, Hindu nationalism, and Indian secular nationalism. In an attempt to problematize Sindhi Hindu diasporic identity formation, I have turned to websites that seek to engage as well as represent the Sindhi Hindu diaspora. I argue that the study of Sindhi Hindu identity production and cultural representation in these new media spaces can enhance our understanding of the larger ideological discourses that inform reconfigurations and imaginings of “community” and the “homeland.” Highlighting the heterogeneity of cyber-imaginations of Sindhi Hindu identity both across and within these sites, I hope to point to the ways in which the formation of a collective diasporic identity is in constant flux and negotiation as well as hesitant to be fixed within binary taxonomies.”
Pierre-Yves Trouillet, A Social and Cultural Geography of Tamil Hinduism. The Cult of Murugan in South India and in the Diaspora, PhD thesis in Geography, University of Bordeaux III, 13 December 2010.
“Murugan is one of the gods of the Hindu pantheon, whose religious figure has been present in the South of India for at least two thousand years. Its worship is strongly associated with the cultural identity of Tamil Nadu (the « Tamil country » in the South of India), the cardinal points of which are marked by the presence of its six largest pilgrimage centres. This symbolic and geographic interaction between the temples of Murugan, the territory and the religious circulations dates back at least to the Middle Ages. It is to be found today at the local level too, either of a village or an urban area; it is to be found at the international scale of the diaspora as well, which is reinventing the geography of worship by giving it a transnational configuration. For all cases under study, the survey shows that in relation to the other gods of the Hindu pantheon, the definition of this Hindu deity has endowed it with particular symbolic characteristics, which trigger and direct human actions that are printed in the geographic space, such as the construction of temples or the devotional pilgrimages towards its sacred places. Thus the situation of its temple on the hill that overlooks the Mailam village (Tamil Nadu) depends as much on Murugan’s thousand-year-old association with peaks as on its position in relation to the places of worship of other deities. This happens to be the case in a local geography where deities, social groups and the relating spaces are both classified and classifying. In Mauritius, the famous processions for Murugan and the over representation of its temples suggest a context of assertion of the Tamil community against the Hindu majority originating from the North. It also confirms the degree of significance of the places and circulations associated to this worship, to the point of producing territorial acts.”
Keywords: India, Tamil Nadu, Mauritius, Hinduism, temple, place, circulation, territory, scale, pantheon, caste, ethnicity, diaspora, Murugan