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danu



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 5:37 am    Post subject: link between hinduism and ismalism Reply with quote

As has been already mentioned above, it would be preposterous to attempt to offer a general summary of the Sat-Panth dogma and practice before its literature is properly studied. All that may be offered here is a few explanatory notes which perhaps may be useful to the reader by drawing his attention to certain points.

The most important point, however, should be the advice to exercise patience and restraint in the discovery of various "influences" in the doctrine. We must not forget even for a moment that this religion is of a very late origin. Its ingredients, i.e., the elements which composed that unique combination, both Islamic and Hinduistic, themselves had a very long evolution, absorbed many influences, local modifications and adjustments to new conditions. It would be no exaggeration to say that we probably know even less about mediaeval popular Hinduistic beliefs than we do about their Islamic corresponding numbers.

There is no doubt, indeed, that the form of Islam which has given Satpanth a final touch was Persian Nizari Ismailism of a very late date. But, surely, it was by no means the only form of Islamic ideology which went into the melting pot. Mediaeval Sind was not only the land of Islam, of the orthodox beliefs, but also to a very great extent the land of the Sufis, of varied learnings. As Sufic organisations surely stood incomparably nearer to the non-Islamic rural population than the learned theologians of the cities, we must expect, and really do find, many traces of Sufic influences.

Not being a specialist on Hinduism, I cannot take upon myself to discuss the extent to which Tantrism influenced Satpanth. If Tantrism, especially the cult of Shakti, was the autochthonous religion of pre-Aryan India, particularly associated with the Dravidian population, it would be necessary to ascertain how far it was spread in Sind. As is known, the province in which it is particularly common is the opposite side of India, namely Bengal. There is also another question, which perhaps may sound very paradoxical : are those practices which look very similar to Ali-Ilahism genuinely old? There is a general tendency to treat every thing in Hinduism as coming from immense antiquity, a tendency which is by no means reliable in every case. 1. Cosmogony, it seems, remains entirely Hinduistic, with all its mythological elements, hyperbolism, "astronomical" figures in the calculation of periods, etc.

2. God, as the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the Universe, despite mythological Hindu names, appears to be a purely Islamic idea, contrary to the system of the cosmology. Significantly, Satpanth chiefly uses foreign terms to express the idea : Persian term khudâ , rarer Allah, and only much more rarely the Indian terms Ishvar or Parmeshvar. Equally, the basic idea of the Creator is chiefly rendered by the Arabic (through Persian) Khâliq . Bhirma, the Hindu term, is rarely used. The idea is somewhat vague, however because the gnans do not enter theological discussions, and because the idea of God is very closely associated with that of the Imam.

3. Imâm, as has been mentioned above, the idea of the Imam here appears in its later Nizari form, as the Manifestation of the Divine Light, i.e. Divine Intelligence and Creative Will. The Satpanth Imam bears closer resemblance to the Christian Jesus than to the Hindu Parmeshvar. As a purely Hinduistic feature, everywhere in evidence there is that characteristic vagueness, or rather "blurredness" of the ideas. It is by no means easy to discern the difference in the attributes of the Supreme Deity, the Imâm , and the Pir , just as in Hindu speculations distinctions between the Supreme God the Brahman, the sacrificed offerings, etc., are all, intentionally or otherwise, rendered imperceptible.

The Imam, who is technically termed Shâh , or Nar 1, residing in the mysterious countries of the remote West, in strict disguise, and continually "reviving", in the sense of the transfer of his powers from, father to son, was obviously little more than an abstraction for the ordinary member of the community. Although the usual hyperbolism of the gnans makes some Pirs visit him, in company with something like 120 millions of followers at a time, nobody could possibly take this literally, seeing in the abnormal number merely a sign of devotion and piety on the part of the author.

4. Guru, or Pir Just as in Hinduism, the most important participant of the Divine Substance becomes the Guru, or Pir 2, the term obviously derived from Sufism, and standing instead of the post-Alaműt Persian term hujjat have already emphasised elsewhere the fact that late Nizari Ismailism of Persia in a striking way repeats the earliest theories of Ismailism, only promoting each rank to the next highest. The Imam becomes divinized ,the hujjat Pir takes the functions of the early Imam and the idea of the hierarchy of dignitaries, already given up in Persia, becomes atrophied.3 The religious and political aims which the dawat organisation had to pursue became obviously unattainable under the changed circumstances, and Nizari Ismailism became the religion of personal salvation, just as other forms of Islam.

The Pir , who is the "door", bâb , to the Imam, i.e of paramount importance, because without him no one can attain the knowledge of the Imam, and God. As in Christianity and some other religions, the ordinary mortal is incapable of comprehending the Divine nature ,and this could only be done by one who participates in the Divine substance. Thus the Guru becomes a parallel to Christ, consubstantial to God, and yet born as a mortal. He is thus a link between God and man, really the " door", bâb, of the Imam, without whose guidance and instruction all efforts of the individual may remain futile and fruitless. The most remarkable feature of this doctrine is the disregard of the earlier institution of the dawat hierarchy which formed the channels through which the Imam's (later the Pir's ) instruction should flow to all sections of the community. Strangely, no such apparatus is ever mentioned. The Pir is everything, but it does not require much imagination to see that he can directly guide a comparatively very small proportion of the whole Jamat 4 . It seems that there is no arrangement for those individuals or communities who for various reasons are deprived of the possibilities of coming into personal contact with the Pir . Satpanth knows no priests. 5 The head of the community in every place is the local mukhi or headman, whose functions are rather those of a honorary magistrate and president of the parish. He is assisted by his kamadiya (pronounced kamriya), who is the honorary secretary and treasurer, and has no religious functions whatever. These dignitaries are not supposed to carry out any instructional duties. Such duties are often relegated to special functionaries, apparently corresponding with earlier dais of different ranks. It is also remarkable, however, that not only is the term dai never used, but it even had never been replaced by a proper term derived from the Indian languages. Formerly he was called bhagvat , which really means "devotee, ascetic". Now the English term "missionary" is in use.

The Satpanth tradition makes the Pirs at least the last five, form a dynasty. There are, however, apparently no dogmatic reasons for Pir -ship being hereditary. During the Fatimid period there were, or at least were expected to be, always 24 hujjats , promoted from the ranks of talented and efficient da'is surely not on account of any hereditary rights. The late Nizari doctrine of the hujjat as a supernatural "witness" of the Imam's identity, the only speaker on his behalf, was, as has been mentioned above, accompanied by the practice of the dignity of the hujjat being conferred only upon the Imam's closest relatives. 6 It is, however, obvious that the new practice by no means implied the post being hereditary. After centuries of merciless persecutions, the Ismaili community in Persia most probably had shrunk to a great extent, and no longer required any complex organisation for its control. We know nothing as to how the Imams of that period generally exercised their control and guidance of the communities in such remote corners as in Sind, Badakhshân, etc. In the Satpanth community tradition is preserved that the Imams kept their relations ,with their followers through special emissaries, wakils , while the community itself used to send its representatives to the Imams when need arose. The custom was established according to which such persons had to receive special certificates (technically called daresh ), testifying to the fact that they really had visited the Imam. 7.

In connection with the doctrine of the hujjat or Pir it is not out of place to mention also that the usual prototype of the super-human dignitary of this rank, Salmân-i Fârsi, so popular in Persian Nizari texts, is entirely forgotten here. He was a national religious hero of the Persians, and the Indians obviously had no special interest in him. Instead of Salmân, as also amongst Persian darwishes, a far more prominent place is occupied by Qanbar, a Negro slave of Ali, who is only referred to in early works on Shi'ite tradition.

5. Dogmatic system. Satpanth, it seems, does not possess a properly formulated creed, or, even formula of the profession of religion. It seems that its dogmatic principles have never been elaborated and systematize .The gnans contain a profusion of exhortations to piety, offering of prayers, paying the dasondh , or tithe, but it seems that all this has never been properly arranged in a systematic way. There are collections of advices on how to live a righteous and pious life, as in the well-known So Kiriya , translated in this collection. All this, however, has nothing to do with religious law, shariat , as a system. It may be noted that while living under the government of various Muslims principalities and at the same time, forced to preserve their caste organisation, the Satpanth community solved the problem by following Muslim custom in some matters and Hindu custom in others. For instance, marriage and burial were performed by Muslim mullahs, but in matters of inheritance the community preserved Hindu practice.

Strangely, the gnans , as far as I could ascertain, never enter into discussions of abstract theological matters, on the lines of the Muslim works on 'aqâ'id , or Ismaili literature of haqa-iq. There is, however, a powerful stream of interest in ascetic practices, according to Hindu style with the use of Hindu terminology.

6. Eschatology In eschatological ideas, more than in any other branch of the doctrine, it seems, two currents, Islamic and Hinduistic, are struggling in the Satpanth beliefs. The Pirs apparently found it impossible to uproot the ancestral outlook of their Hindu converts, based on the belief in immortality of the soul, and re-births in accordance with the Karma theory. The idea of re-birth, as is well-known was not entirely alien to ancient Greek philosophers, to the Coran itself; in the Ummu'l-kitâb it is openly recognized, being apparently developed without any Indian influence. In Ali-ilahism and Nusayrism it is also accepted though in a different form. Thus, in a purely Hindu way, it is believed that the soul is gradually purified, and ultimately becomes saved, in the sense that it no longer belongs to the 'wheel of re-birth", and joins the Divine Infinite. At the same time the gnans often discuss Paradise, hurries , etc., in a fully Muslim style, make all this located on a certain Heaven, and the faithful are promised they shall stay there eternally, "ruling as princes", i.e. probably living blissfully as princes on earth. They are promised immortality, although both in Hinduism and Islam the soul is regarded as immortal. The Jannatpuri , translated here, gives a wealth of interesting details of such Indo-Islamic ideas. Here Paradise is independent of the Hindu Paradise, the mount Meru. The hurries huran are pictured on the model of temple hierodules, devadasis , and everything is obviously taken from the actual practice of their profession. An interesting addition, however, is that Hindu deities and ancient heroes are admitted there for their piety.

Hell, obviously supplementing the "wheel of re-birth" is also superimposed upon Hindu theories. Therefore it is not entirely certain which method should be taken as the standard. Such ambiguity is eloquent testimony to the struggle of opposite currents in the evolution of Satpanth, that of Islamisation, and of the Hindu reaction. The term Nirvana is not used, and salvation is expressed with the term mukti .

7. Worship , As in all popular religions the central point in religious life is occupied by worship. Satpanth is determinately iconoclastic in its tendencies and outlook. Prohibition of idolatry is the most prominent motif in the gnans accompanied by admonitions arguing that idols are made by man and possess no power. Such attitude implies a complete dissociation from Hinduism in which idol worship cannot be separated from the usual daily worship. On the other hand, Satpanth has not adopted the Muslim salât , obviously on account of its Arabic form. The Pirs steered midway by introducing and developing the Sufic form of prayer, dhikr pronounced zikra, The numerous converts from lower classes also have probably brought in various details connected with the Tantric cult, which is supposed to be a relic of the ancient local religion of pre-Aryan India, as has been mentioned above.

Contrary to orthodox Hindu worship, which is based on the individual and intercession of the priest, Satpanth knows no priests, and its prayer is congregational, in which even women and children also participate. In Hinduism such features are exhibited only in Tantric cults. Such prayers take place three times a day in Satpanth, namely morning, evening, and before going to bed, in a special praying hall, called Jamat khana At such meetings any one, young or old, may be appointed by the mukhi or head man to recite the prayers. The most interesting detail is the distribution of sacred water from a vessel in which water is either mixed with clay of Kerbela, or with water blessed by the Imam. Thus this is a kind of communion and as such it is conceived. In the gnans this ceremony, called ghat-pat , literally "table (in) assembly"8, is particularly regarded as a symbol of conversion and participation in the religious life of the community In addition to the distribution of sacred water, or certain occasions a kind of solid vegetable food, jure is distributed. Some particular gnans are recited on various special occasions.9

There is no secrecy about all this, and although spectators are not encouraged, they are by no means completely excluded with a rigidity similar to that amongst the Ali-Ilahis and Nussayris who never admit anyone who is not a member of the community.

Communal drinking of consecrated water, or whatever it may be, or partaking of consecrated food, is a custom of immense antiquity amongst all races and nations, accepted as a symbol of bond between the members of an assembly, party, gang, etc. There is no ceremony of this kind prescribed in orthodox Islam, but various customs including such Eucharist are in use amongst Persian darwishes. It is the piyâla which is offered at the initiation of the darwish into the tarîqat This institution is supposed to have been introduced by the Prophet himself, on the night of the Miraj under the "blue cupola without doors". He offered it to the mystical chihil tan ("forty bodies"), symbols of Sufic fraternity, crushing a piece of raisin in a bowl of water 10. Thus it plainly symbolizes the religious bond of a confraternity.

A similar ceremony is used by the Ali-Ilahis who, how ever, usually distribute cooked food prepared from a sacrificed cock or sheep. The darwishes also have the same custom dik-jush . We may note that the most Satpanthis are meat-eaters.

Similar customs are used in India by the followers of the Tantric cults. At such ceremonies both men and women are present. After various prayers, milk, wine, meat, honey, etc. are distributed, also obviously to symbolize the bond of unity. It is said that in the cult of certain secret Tantric sects of the Vamachara branch 11 on specific occasion one of the men present at the ceremony, as a part of the worship, copulates with a woman. This detail is not in keeping with other ceremonies which consist of partaking of some food or beverage. I therefore feel inclined to give credence to what I heard from some informed people that the performance of the couple is merely a means of obtaining a quantity of sperm which is diluted in water and distributed to the faithful.12 Now, as they say, with advance of education, this ceremony became rarely enacted and sperm is symbolically substituted by some other liquid.

An interesting feature is the terminology. The old term for consecrated water was ami, now replaced by Persian âbi-safa (water of purity). In old gnans , however, it is called pâval , a term not of Sanskrit origin, unknown to orthodox Hindu literature. It would be very interesting to trace the origin of the term, and the history of its association with the Tantric cults.

An interesting gnan , though obviously not of an early origin, preserves a significant story of the reason why animals are no longer immolated for the sacramental food. During different ancient epochs various animals were sacrificed such as elephants, horses, and so forth. By a prayer of the assembly these animals were miraculously revived by God, but on a certain occasion their prayer remained ineffective, and thus the practice came to an end. This legend apparently has far reaching implications. We may remember the Jewish injunctions against breaking the bones of the sacrificial animal. The Ali Ilahis and Persian darwishes at their dîk-jush ceremonies do not break the bones of the animal, carefully collect them, and bury with the rites intended for the burial of human beings. This detail apparently forms a trace of the earlier idea of a vicarious sacrifice. Should we think that originally, in remote antiquity, such sacrifice was human ?

It is quite possible that in India the disappearance of animal sacrifice was due to the continuous pressure of orthodox Hindu ideas, and, of course, also the influence of the change in economics, with, the growth of prices.

8. Initiation In various gnans conversion is mentioned on comparatively numerous occasions, but, unfortunately few details of the rites accompanying it are given. There was apparently no special formula to be repeated, or taught to the neophytes. Their explicit desire to accept the new religion was sufficient, they received a special dhikr 13 (" zikra"), and were urged to participate in the daily worship (ghat-pât) . Neither circumcision, nor any fixed period of apprenticeship, are mentioned. I was told that at the present time, conversion (or rather the ceremony of the initiation, admission into the new religion) is accompanied also by a symbolical act, obviously implying the fact that the new convert becomes loyally bound to the rules and duties imposed upon him. The person who converts the neophyte dips a finger into consecrated water and passes it around the wrist of the convert, as if drawing the image of a bracelet.14 The dhikr, given to the neophyte, should be kept secret and not revealed to others.

It must be added that the conversion to Satpanth by no means implies admission into the caste. According to Hindu ideas one can only be born into a caste, not transferred from another community.
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star_munir



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Posts: 1670

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad

I totally disagree with what you told. I think it was extract from some book but it is incorrect. The topic is incorrect. It is wrong to say that Ismailism is like hinduism or christanity. Ismailism is Ismailism. It is not the NEW religion. It is the first and true religion. Our pirs who made ginans were not hindus. They were not only muslims but aal -e-Rasool.
There is nothing like hinduism in Ginan. If I read Islamic book and in it read about Hazrat Essa would I say it christanity so why we use the word hinduism when there are words like pahelaj and hari chandar in ginans.
Similarly the word Pir not means only Pir sadardin,Pir Hassan Kabirdin etc or one who makes Ginans. All Ginans were not made by pirs and All pirs not made Ginans. Hazir Imam is our present Pir and Pir is always in earth like Imam although the word Pir is not Arabic but some othe word was used for it.

ISMAILISM IS NOT MIXTURE OF HINDUISM AND ISLAM BUT ISMAILISM IS PURE ISLAM WE BELIVE IN ALLAH AND PROPHET MOHAMMAD

you wrote that
The Satpanth Imam bears closer resemblance to the Christian Jesus than to the Hindu Parmeshvar.

First of all it is in Farman that Christ was NOT son of God and aacording to Islam there is no son of God. He was Prophet and Imam is not the Prophet.

You also wrote that Although the usual hyperbolism of the gnans makes some Pirs visit him, in company with something like 120 millions of followers at a time, nobody could possibly take this literally, seeing in the abnormal number merely a sign of devotion and piety on the part of the author.

I think it as insult of Ginan and Pir. Pir are not liars and each and every word of Ginan is true.Another wrong thing was

connection with the doctrine of the hujjat or Pir it is not out of place to mention also that the usual prototype of the super-human dignitary of this rank, Salmân-i Fârsi, so popular in Persian Nizari texts, is entirely forgotten here. He was a national religious hero of the Persians, and the Indians obviously had no special interest in him. Instead of Salmân, as also amongst Persian darwishes, a far more prominent place is occupied by Qanbar, a Negro slave of Ali, who is only referred to in early works on Shi'ite tradition.

It is totally wrong. The Ginans are not wrong. Qanbar was MUKHI and Hazrat Salman Farsi was Kamariya.

You wrote
All this, however, has nothing to do with religious law, shariat , as a system.

Ismailis are Haqiqati above than Shariat laws.

You are right when you said that Ismailis not recite arabic islamic salat.
They recite salat in Gujrati made by Pir Sadardin. Whats wrong Arabic means Islam and Gujrati means kufar or God know only arabic not gujrati?
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danu



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:30 am    Post subject: how can u say that i m wrong Reply with quote

how can u said that i am wrong
ok
try it by your self
search it in thhe google"link between hinduism and ismailism" and go to the second option the page will open the address of page is http://ismaili.net/Source/nikaismsub.html
and for your kind information
there is a great link between in the ismailism and hinduism is that
the aim first of all is the same and it has beeen said by a hindu person personally to me.
soo if this is totally wrong them why the adrress of ismaili.net
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Admin



Joined: 06 Jan 2003
Posts: 6233

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[go to the second option the page will open the address of page is http://ismaili.net/Source/nikaismsub.html ]

This is just a link to Dominique-Sila Khan's article. There are all kind of article in the Heritage Web Site, it does not mean that everything written is right.

Each people is entitled to his opinion.

Some people may feel Ismailism comes from Hinduism and some may feel that the mentions of Prophets like Adam, Moses or Jesus in Islam was just for the sake of converting the Jews and Christans, and some people may feel that the use of the word Allah to define God was just made to please the idole worshippers od Arabia, whose biggest idol in Qaba before Islam was named Allah...

But I have to say, the debate is interesting, I hope more people join in...

Admin
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kandani



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
Posts: 238

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Admin has a point.

For some reason, they call us Hindu's for accepting Ram and Krishna, while no one calls orthodox Muslims Jews or Christians for accepting Jesus and Moses, or calls them Pagans, even though the Allah deity was worshipped as one of the gods along with the idols.
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star_munir



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Posts: 1670

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ismailis are muslims because ismailis believe in one God and Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] as last prophet but the truth is that the religion was not started after the birth of Prophet Muhammad .It was before Him.
There were Prophets there were Imams. True religion was from the begining of world. It was same at the time of Jesus Christ and Moses and before them there was also true religion.
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shamsu



Joined: 15 Apr 2003
Posts: 644

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

star_munir wrote:
Ya Ali Madad

I totally disagree with what you told. I think it was extract from some book but it is incorrect. The topic is incorrect. It is wrong to say that Ismailism is like hinduism or christanity. Ismailism is Ismailism. It is not the NEW religion. It is the first and true religion. Our pirs who made ginans were not hindus. They were not only muslims but aal -e-Rasool.
There is nothing like hinduism in Ginan. If I read Islamic book and in it read about Hazrat Essa would I say it christanity so why we use the word hinduism when there are words like pahelaj and hari chandar in ginans.
Similarly the word Pir not means only Pir sadardin,Pir Hassan Kabirdin etc or one who makes Ginans. All Ginans were not made by pirs and All pirs not made Ginans. Hazir Imam is our present Pir and Pir is always in earth like Imam although the word Pir is not Arabic but some othe word was used for it.

ISMAILISM IS NOT MIXTURE OF HINDUISM AND ISLAM BUT ISMAILISM IS PURE ISLAM WE BELIVE IN ALLAH AND PROPHET MOHAMMAD

you wrote that
The Satpanth Imam bears closer resemblance to the Christian Jesus than to the Hindu Parmeshvar.

First of all it is in Farman that Christ was NOT son of God and aacording to Islam there is no son of God. He was Prophet and Imam is not the Prophet.

You also wrote that Although the usual hyperbolism of the gnans makes some Pirs visit him, in company with something like 120 millions of followers at a time, nobody could possibly take this literally, seeing in the abnormal number merely a sign of devotion and piety on the part of the author.

I think it as insult of Ginan and Pir. Pir are not liars and each and every word of Ginan is true.Another wrong thing was

connection with the doctrine of the hujjat or Pir it is not out of place to mention also that the usual prototype of the super-human dignitary of this rank, Salmân-i Fârsi, so popular in Persian Nizari texts, is entirely forgotten here. He was a national religious hero of the Persians, and the Indians obviously had no special interest in him. Instead of Salmân, as also amongst Persian darwishes, a far more prominent place is occupied by Qanbar, a Negro slave of Ali, who is only referred to in early works on Shi'ite tradition.

It is totally wrong. The Ginans are not wrong. Qanbar was MUKHI and Hazrat Salman Farsi was Kamariya.

You wrote
All this, however, has nothing to do with religious law, shariat , as a system.

Ismailis are Haqiqati above than Shariat laws.

You are right when you said that Ismailis not recite arabic islamic salat.
They recite salat in Gujrati made by Pir Sadardin. Whats wrong Arabic means Islam and Gujrati means kufar or God know only arabic not gujrati?


YA ALY MADAD MUNIR

PLEASE DONT WASTE YOUR TIME TRYING TO DEFEND ISMAILISM AGAINST SUCH A PREPOSTEROUS HEAP OF COMPOST.

THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IS FILLED WITH INACCURACIES AND FRANKLY DELUSIONAL ASSOCIATONS.

THE AUTHOR IS MAKING A MOCKERY OF HIMSELF AND HIS KNOWLEDGE BASE BY HIS COMPLETELY MISGUIDED PRESUMPTIONS AND WOEFULLY INADEQUATE STUDY OF ISMAILISM, HINDUISM AND ISLAM.

BUT THEN I COULD BE WRONG AND THIS COULD A PRECOCIOUS 7TH GRADER WITH ADVANCED ENGLISH BUT NO HISTORY PRETENDING TO BE A SCHOLAR.

PLEASE PARDON MY SARCASM BUT THIS IS ARTICLE POSTED BY DANU IS THE HEIGHT OF ABSURDITY.

SHAMS
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ShamsB



Joined: 04 Aug 2004
Posts: 1118

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:17 pm    Post subject: Gathpat and Juro Reply with quote

The practice of Gathpat and Juro were there in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)...i believe Dr.AbuAly Aziz mentions this in some of his waez's as well as refers to a Muslim manuscript that speaks of this.
i would encourage you to go and research all that before attempting to arabcize ismailism again.
and by the way Sanatan Dharma which is core hinduism is a monotheistic faith..trying reading the Upanishads as well as the Ved Puranas..
or the Guru Granth Sahib for that matter and you will find parallels and similarities in that and our literature and the quran.
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 23065

PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:07 am    Post subject: A Hindu-Muslim synthesis Reply with quote

As we celebrate Idd and Divali being auspicious days of Muslims and Hindus respectively, in a couple of weeks, I would like to share with you the following article which appropriately reflects the theme of unity and shared principles and concepts between the two faiths. Hopefully it will also set perspective to MHI's forthcoming visit to India this month.

ttp://www.sabrang.com/cc/comold/march98/ethos.htm

A Hindu-Muslim synthesis

The amazing eclecticism of Khoja beliefs represent a unique and lasting synthesis of Hindu and Islamic doctrines and tenets

Numbering no more than 15 million worldwide, the Nizari Ismaili Shias are one of the smallest and the least known of all Muslim sects. Over half of the Ismaili population resides in the Indian sub-continent, where they are commonly known as Khojas or Aga Khanis, so called because they regard the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader. Because of centuries of persecution, the Ismaili religion has evolved into a highly esoteric tradition. Like other Shia sects, the Ismailis recognise Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, as the Prophet’s legitimate successor, and consider a long chain of Ali’s direct descendants as spiritual authorities or Imams.

What distinguishes them from other Shia groups are their hidden doctrines (batin, in Arabic) and a complex theology which while deeply mystical, is considered heterodox by mainstream Muslim groups. What particularly sets the Ismailis apart from other Muslim sects in India, Sunni as well as Shia, is the amazing eclecticism of Khoja beliefs, representing a unique and lasting synthesis of Hindu and Islamic doctrines and tenets.
According to popular Khoja lore, the first of the many Ismaili missionaries or dais to India was the twelfth century Sayyed Nuruddin Nur Muhammad. He is commonly referred to as Satgur Nur, or ‘the true Guru of Light’. He first landed at Patan in Gujarat, where he set about making a deep study of Hindu and Islamic religious texts, gradually evolving the Ismaili mystical order known as the Satpanth, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the True Path’, combining features common to both the Hindu as well as the Islamic traditions. Satgrur Nur is said to have so deeply influenced the Raja of Patan, Sidhraj Jaisingh, with his mystical piety that the royal family became his disciples, as did the ruler of the neighbouring kingdom of Dhara-nagari, Raja Surchand, whose daughter Palande he later married.

Fearful of persecution by their more powerful Sunni Muslim and Hindu neighbours, these and other new adherents of the Satpanth kept their religious beliefs concealed. Hence, they later earned the epithet of gupti momins or ‘secret believers’.

From Gujarat, Satgur Nur then travelled to the Punjab and eventually to Kashmir preaching the Ismaili Satpanth all the way. The gradual inter-meshing of Hindu and Islamic beliefs that Satgur Nur had initiated was carried forward by a growing number of Islamili mystics who followed in his wake. Of these, the most renowned was the 14th century Pir Sadruddin al-Hussaini, commonly known as Bar Guru (‘The Great Teacher’) or Suhdev. Born in Sabzvar in Persia, Pir Sadruddin was sent to India by the 13th Imam known among the Khojas as Shri Islam Shah, to further spread the message of the Satpanth.

Like Satgur Nur before him, Pir Sadruddin had a deep understanding of Hindu as well as Islamic doctrines and mysticism; his teachings represent a strikingly harmonious intermixture of the two. In his development of the Satpanth, he laid particular stress on the poor, speaking out against oppression and for the rights of the marginalised. This won for the Satpanth a large number of followers from down-trodden castes. Among them, the Lohanas were the most numerous.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of Pir Sadruddin to the Ismaili Satpanth tradition in India was the vast body of mystical poetry and prose that he composed. Known by the Sanskrit term of gyan (knowledge), this corpus of profoundly mystical writings, mainly in Gujarati and Sindhi, is particularly noteworthy for its unique synthesis of Hindu and Islamic motifs and beliefs. In his lengthy poem, Chhatis Crore (360million), for instance, Pir Sadruddin refers to the four Hindu yugs or ages and writes of the millions of souls that have already been saved in past yugs by Prahlad, Raja Harishchandra and Yudhishtra, and of a similar number who have earned salvation in the present kaliyug by following the Satpanth.


Similarly, in his Bavan Bodh (‘52 Lines’), he writes of the need for Satpanthis to strictly abide by the sandhya (evening prayer) and the vandana (hymn-recital), both clearly Hindu practices, albeit modified to suit Satpanthi doctrines. In the same work he warns his followers against lying, which, he says, is against the teachings of both the Quran as well as the Vedas. In another text, the Sakhi Samrani Granth (‘Book of God, Advice Worthy of Remembrance’), he writes of the falsity of mindless ritualism, and creatively reinterprets the Brahminical thread as ‘a hundred kiriyas (noble deeds)’. ‘Only those who attain communion with the Guru Brahmaji are the real Brahmins’, he says in a biting critique of the caste system, adding that, ‘they alone are those who know the Brahmagyan (knowledge of the divine mysteries)’.

Pir Sadruddin’s unique blend of Hindu and Islamic tenets is carried even further in his Dasavatar (‘The Ten Incarnations [of Vishnu]’). Here he writes of the nine previous incarnations of Vishnu familiar to Hindus, and, while glorifying them, presents Ali as the tenth avatar, saviour for the Kaliyug. In so stressing the equal validity of both Hindu as well as Islamic religious traditions, Sadruddin laid the basis of a remarkable culture synthesis that still survives almost intact among the Khojas of the country.

Khoja syncretism was carried further by Pir Sadruddin’s son and successor, Pir Hassan Kabiruddin, who, like his father, was the author of numerous gyans. Thus, in his Anant Akhado (‘Eternal Gathering’), a lengthy prayer still recited daily by the Khojas, Pir Kabiruddin equates the Muslim Allah with the Hindu Ishvar. Each verse of the poem ends with the distinctly Hinduistic cry of ‘Hari Anant !’ (‘Hari, the eternal One !’).

Here the Prophet Muhammad is equated with ‘Guru Brahma’ and Ali with Vishnu. India, which he calls by the Sanskrit name Jambudwip, is said to be the final meeting place of all the holy men of the world. The same word is also used symbolically to refer to ‘the eternal home’ of the soul that has attained salvation. Here, again, the ten avatars of Vishnu are talked about, as is Sita, who is extolled along with Fatima, daughter of Prophet Muhammad and wife of Ali, as ‘the perfect ones of their age’.

God, in fact, is shown in a remarkable feminine light, with particular stress given to God’s role of a ‘mother’ caring deeply for her children. Kunti, Draupadi and the Pandavas come in for praise along with Ali and the Prophet. Pri Kabiruddin speaks of the ‘four books’ (the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, the Bible of Jesus and the Quran of Muhammad) as well as the four Vedas, as all divinely revealed. Elsewhere, he writes of the Quran as being the fourth Veda (atharved).

It is perhaps in the gyans of Pir Kabiruddin that the Satpanthi call for a harmonious fusion of Hindu and Islamic tenets finds its most forceful expression. Thus, in the Anant Akhado, he writes that the Satpanth ‘encompasses all paths to God’, and that ‘the Husband [God] plays mysteriously in many forms’. This remarkable Ismaili Satpanthi religious eclecticism, which so clearly symbolises the spirit of the faith, is best expressed in one of the Pir’s many gyans:

O Lord, the Hindus and the Muslims
all together are one being,
The Lord has simply given them
different forms and shapes,
But without real recognition of this
fact all is darkness
O Lord, You are the Eternal One.
Yoginder Sikand
YOGINDER SIKAND
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following communication makes one wonder whether the Hindus are more closer to us than the Sunnis in terms of their thinking.

HAF COMMENDS AGHA KHAN FOR COMMITMENT TO PLURALISM

The Hindu American Foundation wrote a letter to His Highness the Aga
Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim
community, commending him for his recent $40 million investment for
the establishment of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Canada.



April 30, 2005

To His Highness the Aga Khan,

On behalf of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), I would like to
commend you, as the spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shia Imami
Ismaili Muslim community, for the establishment of the Global Centre
for Pluralism in Canada. Furthermore, we are pleased that the
Government of Canada has also pledged support towards the
development of this institution. We hope that your magnanimity and
commitment to pluralism will inspire members of other faiths to come
forward and embrace this concept as well.

At HAF, we believe that pluralism must be a fundamental part of any
nation that values diversity, democracy and multiculturalism. HAF
will support your efforts to promote pluralism as this concept has
always been a central component of the Hindu faith as articulated in
an ancient Sanskrit hymn: "Ekam sat vipraha bahudha vadanti"
meaning "Truth is one, the wise call it by many names." We strongly
feel that acceptance of pluralism is the only way to bridge
religious divisions and to bring together people of all faiths
during these troubled times.

Representing the 2 million strong Hindu American community, HAF is
dedicated to providing a voice that educates government, media,
think tanks, academia and public fora about Hinduism and issues of
concern to Hindus locally and globally. We would like to meet you
and your key representatives in the near future to discuss ways we
can collaborate to promote pluralism together. You may learn more
about HAF and our efforts at our website at

www.hinduamericanfoundation.org.


Sincerely,

Pawan Deshpande
Member, Executive Council
Hindu American Foundation
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In contrast to the views of the Hindu organisation supporting pluralism in the previous post, the following are the views of a prominent Sunni who views pluralism as divisive and weakening rather than strengthening and indeed advocates all Muslims go back to the origins!

Los Angeles, California: Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia, addresses the IslamiCity Benefit Banquet celebrating it's 10th Anniversary on April 24th 2005 ..

As salaam alykum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu

Dear Brothers and Sisters

I would like to congratulate the organizers on the 10th Anniversary of IslamiCity for their effort. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to speak to my brothers and sisters in America.

A few years back I spoke to a small audience of Muslims and non-Muslims in Oxford University regarding Islam and how it is misunderstood not only by non-Muslims, who think of it as an oppressive religion but also by the Muslim who claims it is the greatest religion which would save mankind but have not saved it. We can easily explain why the non-Muslims misunderstand Islam. But why did I say that the Muslims also misunderstand Islam.

The basis for stating this is simple. We all know Muhammad the Prophet brought only one Islam, just one. But today we have all kinds of beliefs which claim to be the Islamic faith but the beliefs are so different and so inconsistent with each other that each condemn the others as not being Islam or Islamic, condemn to the point of labeling them as apostates against whom they are willing to fight and to kill.

For example we are seeing today Sunni Muslims fighting and killing Shiite Muslims every day, each claiming the other is not Muslim. There were no Sunni or Shiite during the time of the Prophet .

Which one is right and which is wrong. They cannot both be right because their interpretations are so different that they are killing each other claiming the other is not Islamic.

One of them could be right and the other wrong. But which one? Neither Sunni nor Shiite are willing to admit that their sect is wrong and the other is right. Both claim to be right and to fight and kill to defend their assertion. So we do not know who is right. We simply follow the teachings of the sect we were born into - right or wrong.

Is it possible that both are wrong? The answer is yes. In the view of those of the numerous other sects, the Alawaites, Druze and very many others both Sunni and Shiite are wrong. For the followers of thousands of imams, only their own imam is right and the others are wrong to some degree or are completely wrong.

Islam does allow for differences in the interpretations. But does it allow interpretations which are so different as to cause accusations of not being Islamic and the believers not being Muslim, so different that each is willing to fight and kill because of what each claim to be heresy on the part of the others.

We Muslims claim that there are 1.3 billion Muslims in this world today. But we do not regard very many of these people to be Muslims because of differences in interpretations and practices. So there cannot be 1.3 billion Muslims. According to each sect there are only a few million true Muslims. The others are not Muslims and therefore are not members of the brotherhood of Muslims. Indeed they are worse than enemies of the Muslims for each is more willing to kill the others than to fight and kill the declared enemies of Muslim and the oppressors of all who consider themselves to be Muslim regardless of their sects. These enemies of the Muslims do not care whether those they define as Muslims are Sunnis or Shiite, followers of which of the imams of the Sunnis or Shiahs or the innumerable imams whose interpretations have resulted in the emergence of the different and differing sects of Islam. To the detractors and enemies of Islam and the Muslims, they are all Muslims, followers of the same religion and therefore deserving of the oppressive treatment meted out to them.

In the meantime we, members of the different sects of Islam, will continue to fight each other, reject the Quranic teachings that all Muslim are brothers and thereby weaken ourselves.

Many say that this fragmentation of the Muslim ummah is the work of the enemies of Islam. If that is so why are we allowing them to succeed, why are we retaining and adhering to the different and differing sects that we say the enemies of Islam have created?

No. Let us not delude ourselves. Let us not try to blame our enemies. They are not so smart - Machiavellian that they can so easily break us up and cause us to fight each other so they will gain.

The break up of the Muslims is brought about by the Muslims themselves, by their own learned ones who made the interpretations, sincerely and faithfully sometimes but self-serving in many cases. It is they, these interpreters of Islam who have broken us up into so many antagonistic sects. Unless we admit this and stop blaming others, we will not be able to make any corrections, to bring the ummah back together again.

Malays say, when you lose your way, you should return to the beginning, to the starting point and start all over again. We cannot say we have not lost our way when the one Islam brought by the Prophet has now become a thousand Islams. It cannot be that all are right. Some of us or all of us may have lost our way and we therefore need to go back to the start.

What is the starting point? Obviously it is the Islam as taught by the Prophet. We agree that most of the teachings of the Prophet are in the Al Quran. Some are in the Hadiths.

But the Quran contains two kinds of verses; the very specific ones and those which constitute parables or allegories. The specifics are very clear e.g. that there is no Allah but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger or that all Muslims are brothers.

If we consider belief in these specifics, qualifies one to be a Muslim then the difference in our interpretations of the parables etc need not divide us. We should all go back to these specific and basic teachings of Islam and, disregarding the differences, we should consider all are Muslims and are brothers in Islam.

Then there are the Hadiths or the traditions of the Prophet. We know that by the time Bukhari and others studied the Hadiths in order to verify them there were more than a hundred thousand Hadiths. Bukhari could verify only about 7000. Other scholars differed from Bukhari.

Since all these scholars are normal human beings they are not infallible. Still there are many Hadiths which have been verified by almost all the scholars. These we should accept. The practice of what is enjoined by the Hadiths is not compulsory. They are optional. So if we differ in our belief or practice of the Hadiths it should not make us apostates. We would still be Muslims and as such we can consider each other as brothers and be united.

I am not preaching my own version of Islam. But the great scholars should not just dismiss this because it comes from what the Christians call a "layman". We have no priesthood in Islam. Any man can lead the prayers. Any man can therefore study the religion and try to understand it. We need guidance but we must remember that the guides are also human and such have been their teachings and interpretations that there are now thousands of beliefs which claim to be Islam. They cannot claim a monopoly of knowledge of Islam and a monopoly of interpretation.

Islam is not just a faith, a belief. It is a way of life. And the way of life of the Muslims of today is so varied and different from each other that there is utter confusion. Islam is not meant to confuse its followers and deny their hassanah in this world. If it does then it is not Islam, the religion of Allah . that is wrong, but the numerous and tendentious interpretations of Islam which are wrong. What needs to be corrected is not Islam but the interpretations of Islam by mere man, no matter how learned he may be.

If Islam is to bring hassanah to the faithful then it needs to be interpreted by all who are learned in all fields. And the interpretations should begin from the beginning, from the Quran and the verified Hadiths, without regard for the interpretations of those who through their own understanding and interpretations in the past have divided the ummah.

Wassalam.


Last edited by kmaherali on Tue May 10, 2005 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total
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arifsali2000



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Posts: 42

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

shamsu: DANU THIS ARTICLE IS HILARIOUS

IT IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF EDUCATED IGNORANCE, INADEQUATE RESEARCH, FANTASTIC ASSOCIATIONS, EROTIC PROJECTION, PREJUDICED JUDGEMENTALISM AND KNOWLEDGELESS ELOQUENCE.

HA HA HA HA HA HA


Dominique Sila Khan has tried to summarize well in her book Crossing the Threshold the various intricacies and reasons behind Hindu and Muslim identities. This topic requires deeper understanding and more discussion. Brushing this aside just because we do not wish to be identified with the Hindus makes less sense. The topic is indeed interesting.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Islamand_Hinduism/id/50381

Islam and Hinduism: Symbiotic Mysticism In Devotional Poems
By A N D Haksar




Symbiotic Mysticism In Devotional Poems

Few have heard of the mystic poems Brahma Prakash or Dasa Avatar by the mediaeval Muslim saint Pir Shams. Both are famous ginans of South Asia's Ismaili community, sometimes also known as Khojas or Aga Khanis in popular parlance.

Ginans are hymn-like poems of spiritual import. They are revered by the faithful in deep veneration as repositories of wisdom and spiritual knowledge, and as transmitting the essential teachings of the Holy Qur'an in the vernacular. Composed in Sindhi, Gujarati, Hindustani and Punjabi among other subcontinental languages, the oldest are ascribed to the pirs or saints who first preached Ismaili Islam in India nearly 1,000 years ago.

The tradition continued, and recent composers include the Karachi saint, Sayyida Imam Begum, in the 19th century. "Ginans are recited daily", writes Ismaili scholar Ali Asni, "Whenever members congregate for ritual prayers.'' The recitation is itself a ritual on special occasions like birthdays of the Prophet and the Imam, and on the new year, Navroz.

Outside the context of formal worship, ginans are sung as auspicious blessings and quoted as proverbs. They feature in concerts and cassette recordings.

The contents of ginans are varied. Some are supplications for grace and enlightenment, like Ruhani Visal or spiritual union by Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. Others, like Moman Chetamani or warning to the faithful by Pir Sadruddin, impart ethical and moral instruction. Yet others deal with cosmological themes or the mystic life, like Brahma Gayatri and Boojh Niranjan by the same saint.

Devotion and piety is a common theme. One feature of ginans is of wider interest for plural societies. It is the Ismaili pirs' interpretation of Islamic concepts and ideas that could relate to indigenous religious and cultural contexts. Not only were the hymns composed in local languages, they also utilised the poetic forms and musical modes of local tradition. At the level of religious ideas, there is record of ginans sung to Sikh and Hindu gatherings in East Africa.

The acculturation with the larger Indian environment is reflected also in the name Satpanth by which the Ismaili tradition came to be known. "The pir," says Asni, "introduced his teachings as a natural culmination of local belief systems." One ginan cites the mythological king Harichandra as a model of righteousness. Another is titled Darshan diyo mere nath, a popular sentiment.

In Dasa Avatar, as noted by Islamic historian Annemarie Schimmel, "Muslim and Hindu traditions seem to merge as the poet represents Ismaili Islam as fulfilment of Hindu religious tradition." In such mythopoesis, the tenth avatara of Vishnu is renamed Nakalanki (stainless), and is identified with Ali, the first Shia Imam.

Such an assimilationist approach sees no contradiction between people's religious identity and their participation in indigenous culture. It is natural that it should be opposed by those who tend towards exclusivism. Ginans were termed by some orthodox commentators as lacking as Islamic personality.

Elements which constitute culture are being viewed increasingly from a purely religious perspective in parts of South Asia today. The adoption of Arabic and Persian cultural elements and more is considered by some as an essential aspect of Islamisation. Then there is the process of Sanskritisation, now reformulated as Hindutva. Both result in greater cultural distancing between the two communities, to the detriment of both.

The word ginan is similar to jnana, which means wisdom. This goal is by no means exclusive to any creed or culture. The hymns manifest a cultural synthesis for a devotional purpose. Their symbolism stretches across religious barriers towards a higher harmony.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following re-write of the account of an important personality in the Hindu tradition illustrates how our tariqa influenced reform of the wider socities through conversion of important personalities. The account is very similar to the conversion of Mowlana Rumi who though not an Ismaili overtly, was a disciple of an Ismaili (Shamsh Tabriz).

I wonder how many such stories are there to be uncovered!

Rewriting the History of a Dalit Nizari Hero

Friday November 17 2006 17:53:12 PM BDT


Yoginder Sikand, India

Rama Pir, also known as Ramdev Pir or Ram Shah Pir, is a widely revered folk hero in western India and parts of Pakistan. He is particularly popular among the Dalits (low caste), especially of the Meghwal caste.

The cult of Rama Pir is shrouded in mystery. Today, popular accounts present him as a miracle-mongering Rajput, the incarnation of Krishna of the Kali Yug. Over the centuries, legends that have been woven about the Pir have effaced his role as a crusader against caste injustice and Hindu-Muslim rivalry, or so Rajasthan-based social activist Bhanwar Megwanshi argues in his recently published Hindi book ‘Ramdev Pir: Ek Purnavichar’ (‘Ramdev Pir: A Revaluation’).

Megwanshi is a noted writer and edits the monthly Hindi magazine ‘Diamond India’, which deals with a range of social issues from the standpoint of the marginalized and the oppressed. He comes from a Meghwal family from Bhilwara in southern Rajasthan, which for three generations served as priests of the local Ramdev Pir shrine. As a child he was entrusted with the duty of performing rituals at the shrine, and this experience, he writes, set him questioning established myths about Ramdev Pir. His book summarises his critical revaluation of the tradition of the Pir, seeking to retrieve and highlight forgotten aspects of his image as, above all, a crusader against caste oppression.

In most available hagiographical accounts, the fifteenth century Ramdev Pir is presented as an incarnation of Krishna who took birth in the house of Ajmal, a Tanwar Rajput chieftain in western India. Based on his analysis of Tanwar genealogical accounts Megwanshi writes that this claim is fallacious. It represents a denial of the possibility of a saintly figure being born in a ‘low’ caste, and reflects a broader strategy to Brahminise the Ramdev tradition and drain it of its radical social thrust. Drawing on Dalit oral accounts, Megwanshi claims that Ramdev was actually the son of a Meghwal cowherd Sayar Rikh and his wife Magande, who accompanied Ajmal’s queen when she shifted to her marital home. In other words, he argues, Ramdev was a Meghwal by birth and not a Rajput. Nor was he, as is now claimed, an incarnation of Krishna.

Megwanshi also contests the manner in which the close connection between Ramdev and Ajmal is presented in popular accounts. Examining oral and written traditions related to Ramdev, he writes that Ajmal was probably a Pir of the Nizari Ismaili Shia Muslim sect, and that Ramdev was taken by him as his disciple. In placing this argument, and in claiming that Ramdev was possibly an Ismaili, he explores the fascinating but little- known Nizari Ismaili Shia traditions among the Dalits of Rajasthan.

The Nizaris are a branch of the Ismaili Shias, whose present-day followers acknowledge the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader or Imam. Following the collapse of their Fatimi Caliphate in Egypt, the Nizari Imamat shifted Alamut in Iran, where the Nizaris kept their beliefs secret, fearing Sunni persecution.

The first Nizari missionary to India, the eleventh century Nur Satgur, who is buried in Navsari in Gujarat, established the practice of spreading Nizari beliefs by using Hindu motifs and idioms, presenting the Nizari faith as a fulfillment of the millennial expectations of the Hindus of an Avatar. This was in line with the Shia practice of taqiyya or secret concealment of beliefs, in order to stave off Sunni persecution as well as to make the Nizari message more intelligible to a largely Hindu audience.

Thus, the Nizari faith was presented as Sat Panth, Sat Dharm or Maha Marg, as well as Nizar Panth, Nizar Panth and Nij Dharm; and Imam Ali as the Nikalank Avatar, the tenth incarnation of Vishnu. The Nizari stress on social equality had a particular appeal for various Dalit communities in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Sindh, and many Dalits accepted the faith, although in a highly Hinduised form.

A key Ismaili missionary, and one who plays a central role in the story of Ramdev, was the fourteenth century Pir Shams or Shamsuddin Sabzvari, whose shrine is located in Multan. Multan was for a long time a major centre of the Nizari Ismaili movement and the Ismailis actually ruled the town for a while till their kingdom was destroyed by Mahmud Ghaznavi. Pir Shams is said to have widely traveled in north India, and visited Rajasthan as well. In the Ramdev tradition he is remembered as Shamas Rishi, and it is possible that he adopted a Hindu guise in line with the Indian Nizari tradition
.

Megwanshi unravels the fascinating story of Pir Shams’ missionary travels in Rajasthan, relying on Dalit and other sources. Ransi Tanvar, the father of Ajmal, he writes, was a descendant of Anangpal, the last Tanwar ruler of Delhi. He had taken to robbery. Once, in the village of Dudu, near Jaipur, he chanced upon Pir Shams, whom he is said to have looted, because of which the Pir is said to have cursed him with leprosy. Rinsi is said to have been cured by drinking water given to him by a Meghwal woman, the wife of a certain Khivan, a Meghwal disciple of Pir Shams.

On being thus miraculously cured, Rinsi is said to have become a disciple of Pir Shams and accepted the Ismaili faith. Later, the story goes, both Rinsi and Khivan were ordered to be killed by the Sunni Sultan of Delhi. If true, this reflected the fierce hostility of the Sunni rulers and ulama to the Ismaili Shias, whom they considered as heretics.

Following his father, Ajmal, too, Megwanshi writes, became an Ismaili Pir, and so did Ramdev, whom Ajmal considered as his own son. Following the established Nizari practice, they kept their faith concealed, being what is termed in Indian Nizari parlance as gupti momins (‘secret believers’). In this regard, Megwanshi argues that the claim that Ramdev was a disciple of the Nath yogi Balinath of Pokhran is incorrect. The fact that terms such as Nizar, Nijar, Shams, Multan, Makka, Nur Satgur, Alamut and so on are found in the verses attributed to Ramdev is ample proof, Megwanishi writes, that Ramdev was possibly a secret Ismaili missionary or at least highly influenced by the Ismailis. So, too, is the fact that Ramdev refers to himself as ‘Nijari’ and that the mantra recited by Ramdev’s followers contains the word ‘Nizar’ (Om Som Nikalank Dev Nizar’). Further evidence is the fact that the grave Ramdev in Ramdevra, Jaisalmer, is fashioned in traditional Muslim style and has Arabic inscriptions on it. However, Megwanshi notes, the grave is kept carefully covered up by the Tanwar custodians of the shrine. Although Megwanshi does not state this, this might possibly be to conceal the Ismaili Muslim connections of Ramdev Pir.

In recent writings about Ramdev, particularly by those who seek to present him in a Brahminical mould, Ramdev is presented as an orthodox Hindu. This, Megwanshi writes, reflects a recent re-writing of the Ramdev tradition. In this rendition, Ramdev is shown as having defeated five Pirs from Mecca in a miraculous contest, after which the Pirs accepted his superiority and then granted him the title of Pir.

Megwanshi argues that the five Pirs were probably Ismailis who came from Multan to meet Ramdev after news of his being an Ismaili missionary reached them. There was probably no miraculous contest between them. After the Multani missionaries were satisfied that Ramdev had indeed reached a high spiritual stature in the Ismaili tradition they granted him the exalted title of Pir. This was possibly a confirmation of Ramdev’s commitment to the Ismaili faith. This is why, Megwanshi writes, Ramdev is still regarded as a saintly figure by many Muslims in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Seeking to retrieve the memory of Ramdev as a Dalit crusader against caste oppression, Megwanshi refers to his being treated as a Kamadiya, a member of a ‘low’ caste that acts as religious specialists for the Meghwals, by some of Ajmal’s relatives. He was taunted for being the Pir of the Dheds or Meghwals, for eating with the ‘low’ castes and for joining them in religious ceremonies (jama jagran) that were held secretly at night, possibly in order to escape persecution.

The message of ethical monotheism and social equality that informs Ramdev’s verses also reflects his opposition to caste and other forms of oppression sanctioned by the Brahminical religion, although Megwanshi writes of how the miracles (parchas) that have been woven around him and the effort to transform him into an incarnation of Vishnu have effectively undermined this. In this regard, Megwanshi attempts to offer a rationalist explanation of the more popularly recounted miracles associated with Ramdev in order to rescue him from being projected as a miracle-worker or the superhuman figure that he is for many of his followers.

Most of Ramdev’s followers were Meghwals, and this further strengthens the claim, Megwanshi argues, of Ramdev having been born in a Meghwal family, although he was later adopted by a Tanwar Rajput, whose flouting of caste restrictions may have been enabled by his possibly having actually been a crypto-Ismaili Shia. Further developing the argument of Ramdev being a social revolutionary, Megwanshi refers to his sister Dali Bai as joining him in the jama jagrans, a revolutionary step considering the restrictions that operated at that time on women seeking to travel on the spiritual path.

A key aspect of Ramdev Pir’s teachings was his critique of conventional communal divisions and rivalries. This possibly reflects his association with the Indian Nizari Ismaili tradition, many of whose sacred texts repeatedly draw similarities between Islamic and Hindu motifs and beliefs and represent a unique cultural synthesis. In this regard Megwanshi refers to a verse often recited by Ramdev’s followers that refers to the hope for the dawning of the day when ‘Brahmins, Banias, Kshatriyas and Muslims shall eat from the same plate’, when the ‘gathering shall be held in the house of the Meghwal Rishi’—a powerful dream that Megwanshi seeks to retrieve from the layers of myth that have been woven around the figure of the Dalit Ismaili social revolutionary that he sees Ramdev Pir as having been.

Bhanwar Megwanshi can be contacted on
bhanwarmegwanshi@...
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unnalhaq



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danu you have point out many thing that I have been trying to nail down. I thank you for that. What you wrote has merits and most may deny it but that was the history/conversion path taken during that time eastward through Indus river valley and beyond but abruptly stopped at Burma.
If you read through most of the Forum and posts here you'll notice many points that you have stated here. Good Job. But I must say that it is not a true representation of Ismilis but an instrument that was used to convert the population into Ismaili faith. And many Indian Origin Ismailis("IOI") hold those values very dear to them, hence the reaction you have seen.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following article about a Muslim Sanskrit scholar shows us that it is not only the Ismailis who have adopted and assimilated aspects of other cultures and languages into their practices. This scholar's outlook is influenced by Sansrit language and it's associated Vedic culture.

Pankaj Jaiswal, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Lucknow, February 25, 2008
First Published: 00:53 IST(25/2/2008)
Last Updated: 00:55 IST(25/2/2008)

No language barrier for this Muslim scholarPandit Syed Hussain Shastri is a Sanskrit scholar who has been in love with the language all his life. Pandit and Shastri have been prefixed and suffixed respectively by people to his name because of his vast knowledge.

In Mirzaganj village, Malihabad, people know him as Shastriji. Malihabad is 20 kilometers northeast to Lucknow city. Shastriji had decided to learn Sanskrit because his father wanted it. “Once I started learning it in childhood, I just fell in love with it. The romance continues,” he says.

The 79-year-old scholar says: “I find French beautiful, but Sanskrit is the most beautiful.” In the last 56 years people came from far and wide — Varanasi, Allahabad and Europe — to learn Sanskrit from him. One of them, Henry Shock, a scholar in oriental studies from Illionis University visited him about two decades ago. On meeting him Shock said: “It is highly doubtful that Sanskrit is a living language, but it is never doubtful that it is living in your body.”

Shastriji says: “I was barely four when I took admission in Dharm Sangh Sanskrit Vidyalaya, Lucknow, and began my journey in Sanskrit. A Hindu priest initiated me into Laghu Kaumudi (beginner’s Sanskrit grammar) and then I continued with Sanskrit studies at Aminabad High School, Government Jubilee Inter College and then the Lucknow Univeristy. In 1952 I graduated in Sanskrit.” He has a post-graduate degree in the language. All of his teaching lessons begin with chants from the Vedas.

He says: “I am waiting for my death to tip toe...” in the same breath he recites: “...And not a stone to tell where I lie...Just let me live and let me die.” Now most of his time is spent in reading Bhagwad Gita in Sanskrit.

The Muslim scholar is a firm believer in Brahminism. He says, “Take away Brahminism from Sanskrit, and nothing would be left in it.”

“Shock has been the only person who interviewed me in Sanskrit. Many times during the interview I attempted to drift to English as I knew he was from the US. But he continued in Sanskrit. When I asked Shock from where he learnt Sanskrit, he said ‘Germany’.”

For some people languages know no barrier — of caste, creed, religion or nationality.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print.aspx?Id=a51b53b7-6475-45cb-bf98-5118d35aa3d1
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Firukurji



Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muhammad(s.a.w) in Hindu Scriptures
Source: Email

One Hindu research professor, in his stunning book, claims that the description of Avatar found in the holy books of Hindu religion is infact that of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S). A little while ago, in India a fact revealing book has been published, which has been the topic of discussions and gossip, all over the country. If the author of this book were a Muslim, he would have been arrested or he could have been murdered and all the copies of this book would have been confiscated. Even a ban would have been extended on its further publications. A riot and violence would have broken out against innocent Muslims and their blood would have been shed. Amazingly the author of this book is a fair-minded famous professor, who happens to be a Hindu. His name is Pandit Vedaprakash Upadhai and the name of his fact revealing book is Kalki Avatar. The author is a Hindu Bramin by caste of Bengali origin. He is a research scholar, a seeker of the Truth and a Well known Pandit in Allahabad University. After years of research work, he published this book and other eight pandits have endorsed and certified his points of argument as authentic.
According to Hindu belief and their holy books, the description of the guide and the leader, named Kalki Avatar, fits only to the Prophet Muhammad of Arabia (S.A.S). So the Hindus of the whole world should not wait any longer for the arrival of Kalki Avatar (the spirit) and should readily accept Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S) as Kalki Avatar. The facts are verified and supported by the eight eminent pandits. What the author and the eight other eminent pandits say is that the Hindus who are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of Kalki Avatar are simply subjecting themselves to a never ending wait. Because such a great messenger has come and departed from this world fourteen centuries ago.
The author produces following sound evidences from the Vedas and other holy books of Hindu religion in support of his claim:
1. In Purana (a holy book of Hindus) it is stated that Kalki Avatar would be the last messenger (prophet) of God in this world for the Guidance of the whole world and all human beings.
2. According to a Hindu religion prediction, the birth of Kalki Avatar, would take place in an isle which again according to Hindu religion is Arab Region.
3. In books of Hindus, the names of the fatherland the mother of Kalki Avatar are given as VISHNUBHAGAT and SUMAANI respectively. If we examine the meanings of these names we shall come to a very interesting conclusion:
Take VISHNUBHAGAT= VISHNU (meaning God) + BHAGAT(meaning slave) = ALLAH + ABD (in arabic) = Slave of God = ABDULLAH (in arabic) (name of Muhammad’s Father) SUMAANI= PEACE or Calmness = amenah (in arabic)
4. In religious books of Hindus, it is mentioned that the staple food of Kalki Avatar would be dates and olives and he would be the most honest and truthful person in the region. Without any doubt the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S) is acclaimed to possess these qualities.
5. It is stated in Vedas (holy book of Hindu Religion) that the birth of Kalki Avatar would take place in an honorable clan. This perfectly fits the Quraysh where the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S) belonged to.
6. God would teach Kalki Avatar through His messenger (angel) in a cave. Allah taught Prohet Muhammad (S.A.S), through is messenger Jibraeel in a cave known as Gaar-e-Hiraa.
7. God would avail Kalki Avatar with a very speedy horse to ride and travel the whole world and the seven skies. Indication of Buraaque (horse) and Me’raaj (the night whe prophet travelled the seven skies).
8. God would also avail Kalki Avatar with divine help. This was particularly proved in the Battle of Uhud.
9. Another dazzling account given about Kalki Avatar was that he would be born on the 12th of a month. Whereas the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S) was born on the 12th of the Rabiul Awwal (Islamic Calender).
10. Kalki Avatar would be an excellent horse rider and a swordsman. The author here draws the attention of Hindus that the real days of horses and swords have gone and the present time is of guns and missiles. So it would be foolish on the part of those who still expect Kalki Avatar, who should be an excellent rider and swordsman to come. In fact, the divine book, Holy Qur’aan contains qualities and signs attributed to Kalki Avatar reflecting on the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S).
The author has given numerous arguments in favour of his claim that Kalki Avatar is in fact Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S) and those who still await the arrival of Kalki Avatar should think again.
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star_munir



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the article. Its interesting but according to our belief as they are in Ginans, the Kalki avtaar is Mowla Ali.
In this article different examples are quoted but actual verses with translation or complete reference is not given to verify the source.
I am not denying about references of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in different Scriptures but I have seen some times even famous scholars fabricate the meaning of original verses to prove thier point of views.
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ShamsB



Joined: 04 Aug 2004
Posts: 1118

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

star_munir wrote:
Thanks for the article. Its interesting but according to our belief as they are in Ginans, the Kalki avtaar is Mowla Ali.
In this article different examples are quoted but actual verses with translation or complete reference is not given to verify the source.
I am not denying about references of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in different Scriptures but I have seen some times even famous scholars fabricate the meaning of original verses to prove thier point of views.


I agree with munir that the kalki avatar was Hazrat Ali.

Shams
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star_munir



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Learn Sanskrit at a Delhi madrasa: Hindustan Times

New Delhi, April 25: In Jamia Nagar, the sprawling Muslim heart of Delhi, students of the little-known Islami Academy — a centre for Islamic higher education — are learning a classical language that goes back 4,000 years. Not Arabic, but Sanskrit. That’s not all. This religious school, meant to prepare the ground for mainstream students for Islamic research, has blended modern education with a religious curriculum like no other.

The entrance test is in English. There are compulsory courses on pan-Indian culture, Indian history and comparative religions, such as Christianity and Sikhism, which a special focus on Hinduism.

“The idea was to have a very scientific and holistic curriculum in the study of religion,” says the academy’s Harvard-educated director, Abdul Haq Ansari.

While traditionally, most madrasas have spurned efforts to modernise syllabuses, the Islami Academy has undertaken a much-debated course correction. And since it is a centre for higher learning, the eligibility being a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university, it offers two main postgraduate courses in research and Islamic preaching.

The academy also functions as a “complimentary madrasa”, one that caters to those Muslim students, who missed out on religious education because they went to regular, mainstream schools.

The turning point came when the academy felt its research students needed to learn Sanskrit so that ancient Hindu texts could be studied. It got in touch with the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan under the HRD Ministry and a Sanskrit teacher was provided.

Fahimuddin, a student from Karnataka’s Shimoga, says his lessons on Islamic history have been “so enriched by those on Hinduism”.

Clerics have often resisted attempts to bring madrasas into the mainstream, with the 2003 “Scheme of Assistance for Infrastructure and Modernisation of Madrasas” making little headway.
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zubin_chagani



Joined: 07 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jus as bro star munir said
"even i disagree " wid this statement of bro.danu

the reason is very simple

our deen is islam and our madhab is ismaili muslim

the only and only and only reason y v got this name ismaili is bcoz of the partition of ishna shari's during imam ismail

thts it !!!

our religion started from h.adam[as] he was the 1st khalifa as mentioned in quran/bible and all the other books

followed by his son shem and so on and so forth

plus if u read bible ull know that allah used to speak directly to h.musa[as] and it was h.musa[as] who told h.haroon[as] that allah wants h.haroon[as] and his family to b the ministers/priest so as to guide people

the prayer of people during the time of h.haroon[as] was accepted only if they come to h.haroon[as] wid an offering[ram/bull/goat and so on and so forth] and h.haroon[as] prayed to allah for forgiving their sin

allah also appointed h.haroon[as] and the sole owner of the holy place..it was him and his son who used to take care of holy place[cleaning it/burning incense and so on and so forth]


so inshort brother if u read the history and compare our customs and rituals, u will know that v r not the only one who r doing something which is different from our muslim bro's

actually its us who r following what all the people in all the generation has done

our religion is our religion which was/is and will b ours no matter what


v were non believers[murti pujaks] and it was our pirs and imams who showed us the path of siratal mustakim

isnt this the mercy of allah ??? icon_wink.gif
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shiraz.virani



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Washington, Oct. 2: The skeleton of an early human who lived 4.4 million years ago shows that humans did not evolve from chimpanzee-like ancestors, rese-archers said on Thursday.

Instead, the missing link — the common ancestor of both humans and modern apes — was different from both, and apes have evolved just as much as humans have from that common ancestor, they said.

The researchers stressed that “Ardi” may be the oldest known hominid, but she was not the missing link. “At 4.4 million years ago we found something pretty close to it,” said Tim White of the University of California Berkeley, who helped lead the research team.

They described the partial skeleton of a female representative of Ardipithecus ramidus. The hominid species lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia.

The 4-foot creature is a million years older than “Lucy” — the skeleton of another species called Australopithecus afarensis that is one of the best-known pre-humans.

Genetics suggest that humans and our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, diverged 6 million to 7 million years ago.

“Ardi” is clearly a human ancestor and her descendants did not grow up to be chimpanzees or other apes, the researchers report in the journal Science.

She had an ape-like head and opposable toes that allowed her to climb trees easily, but her hands, wrists and pelvis show she strode like a modern human and did not knuckle-walk like a chimp or a gorilla.

“People have sort of assumed that modern chimpanzees haven't evolved very much,” she said. But that is not true, as “Ardi” shows.
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baqi



Joined: 16 May 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmaherali wrote:
The following communication makes one wonder whether the Hindus are more closer to us than the Sunnis in terms of their thinking.

HAF COMMENDS AGHA KHAN FOR COMMITMENT TO PLURALISM

The Hindu American Foundation wrote a letter to His Highness the Aga
Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim
community, commending him for his recent $40 million investment for
the establishment of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Canada.



April 30, 2005

To His Highness the Aga Khan,

On behalf of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), I would like to
commend you, as the spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shia Imami
Ismaili Muslim community, for the establishment of the Global Centre
for Pluralism in Canada. Furthermore, we are pleased that the
Government of Canada has also pledged support towards the
development of this institution. We hope that your magnanimity and
commitment to pluralism will inspire members of other faiths to come
forward and embrace this concept as well.

At HAF, we believe that pluralism must be a fundamental part of any
nation that values diversity, democracy and multiculturalism. HAF
will support your efforts to promote pluralism as this concept has
always been a central component of the Hindu faith as articulated in
an ancient Sanskrit hymn: "Ekam sat vipraha bahudha vadanti"
meaning "Truth is one, the wise call it by many names." We strongly
feel that acceptance of pluralism is the only way to bridge
religious divisions and to bring together people of all faiths
during these troubled times.

Representing the 2 million strong Hindu American community, HAF is
dedicated to providing a voice that educates government, media,
think tanks, academia and public fora about Hinduism and issues of
concern to Hindus locally and globally. We would like to meet you
and your key representatives in the near future to discuss ways we
can collaborate to promote pluralism together. You may learn more
about HAF and our efforts at our website at

www.hinduamericanfoundation.org.


Sincerely,

Pawan Deshpande
Member, Executive Council
Hindu American Foundation


I would be careful about quoting anything from the Hindu American Foundation - its press release on Hazar Imam (a) smells like a publicity stunt to make it appear more moderate. Deep down it is a good old right wing Hindu organisation that is anti-minorities in India. The following is an article on how the Hindu American Foundation has forced American school boards to delete from school books any references to Hinduism's appalling and backward caste school and the awful treatment low caste people receive at the hands of high caste Hindus:

http://www.equip.org/articles/have-your-textbooks-been-saffronized-

Also, the president of the Hindu American Foundation, Mihir Meghani, has a long history of links with the Hindu fascist movement in India. Mihir Meghani wrote his famous anti-Muslim article, "Hindutva: The Great Nationalist Ideology", which I found on the website of the anti-Muslim Hindu hate group, the BJP. Here's Mihir Meghani article:

http://www.bjp.org/content/view/2650/376/

"In the history of the world, the Hindu awakening of the late twentieth century will go down as one of the most monumental events in the history of the world. Never before has such demand for change come from so many people. Never before has Bharat, the ancient word for the motherland of Hindus - India, been confronted with such an impulse for change. This movement, Hindutva, is changing the very foundations of Bharat and Hindu society the world over.

Hindu society has an unquestionable and proud history of tolerance for other faiths and respect for diversity of spiritual experiences. This is reflected in the many different philosophies, religious sects, and religious leaders. The very foundation of this lies in the great Hindu heritage that is not based on any one book, teacher, or doctrine. In fact the pedestal of Hindu society stems from the great Vedic teachings Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti -- Truth is One, Sages Call it by Many Names, and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -- The Whole Universe is one Family. It is this philosophy which allowed the people of Hindusthan (land of the Hindus) to shelter the Jews who faced Roman persecution, the Zoroastrians who fled the Islamic sword and who are the proud Parsi community today, and the Tibetan Buddhists who today face the communist secularism: persecution of religion.

During the era of Islamic invasions, what Will Durant called the bloodiest period in the history of mankind, many Hindus gallantly resisted, knowing full well that defeat would mean a choice of economic discrimination via the jaziya tax on non- Muslims, forced conversion, or death. It is no wonder that the residents of Chittor, and countless other people over the length and breadth of Bharat, from present-day Afghanistan to present-day Bangladesh, thought it better to die gloriously rather than face cold-blooded slaughter. Hindus never forgot the repeated destruction of the Somnath Temple, the massacre of Buddhists at Nalanda, or the pogroms of the Mughals.

Thus, the seeds of todayUs Hindu Jagriti, awakening, were created the very instance that an invader threatened the fabric of Hindu society which was religious tolerance. The vibrancy of Hindu society was noticeable at all times in that despite such barbarism from the Islamic hordes of central Asia and Turkey, Hindus never played with the same rules that Muslims did. The communist and Muslim intelligentsia, led by Nehruvian ideologists who are never short of distorted history, have been unable to show that any Hindu ruler ever matched the cruelty of even a RmoderateS Muslim ruler.

It is these characteristics of Hindu society and the Muslim psyche that remain today. Hindus never lost their tolerance and willingness to change. However Muslims, led by the Islamic clergy and Islamic societyUs innate unwillingness to change, did not notice the scars that Hindus felt from the Indian past. It is admirable that Hindus never took advantage of the debt Muslims owed Hindus for their tolerance and non-vengefulness.

In modern times, Hindu Jagriti gained momentum when Muslims played the greatest abuse of Hindu tolerance: the demand for a separate state and the partition of India, a nation that had had a common history and culture for countless millenia. Thus, the Muslim minority voted for a separate state and the Hindus were forced to sub-divide their own land.

After partition in Pakistan, Muslim superiority was quickly asserted and the non-Muslim minorities were forced to flee due to the immense discrimination in the political and religious spheres. Again, Hindus did not respond to such an onslaught. Hindu majority India continued the Hindu ideals by remaining secular.

India even gave the Muslim minority gifts such as separate personal laws, special status to the only Muslim majority state -- Kashmir, and other rights that are even unheard of in the bastion of democracy and freedom, the United States of America. Islamic law was given precedence over the national law in instances that came under Muslim personal law. The Constitution was changed when the courts, in the Shah Bano case, ruled that a secular nation must have one law, not separate religious laws. Islamic religious and educational institutions were given a policy of non- interference. The list goes on.

More painful for the Hindus was forced negation of Hindu history and factors that gave pride to Hindus. Hindu customs and traditions were mocked as remnants of a non-modern society, things that would have to go if India was to modernize like the west. The self proclaimed guardians of India, the politicians of the Congress Party who called themselves secularists, forgot that it was the Hindu psyche that believed in secularism, it was the Hindu thought that had inspired the greatest intellectuals of the world such as Thoreau, Emerson, Tolstoy, Einstein, and others, and that it was Hindus, because there was no other land where Hindus were in a significant number to stand up in defence of Hindu society if and when the need arose, who were the most nationalistic people in India.

When Hindus realized that pseudo-secularism had reduced them to the role of an innocent bystander in the game of politics, they demanded a true secularism where every religious group would be treated the same and a government that would not take Hindu sentiments for granted. Hindutva awakened the Hindus to the new world order where nations represented the aspirations of people united in history, culture, philosophy, and heroes. Hindutva successfully took the Indian idol of Israel and made Hindus realize that their India could be just as great and could do the same for them also.

In a new era of global consciousness, Hindus realized that they had something to offer the world. There was something more than tolerance and universal unity. The ancient wisdom of sages through eternity also offered systems of thought, politics, music, language, dance, and education that could benefit the world.

There have been many changes in the thinking of Hindus, spearheaded over the course of a century by innumerable groups and leaders who made their own distinct contribution to Hindu society: Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhiji, Rashatriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Swami Chinmayananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Muni Susheel Kumarji, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Janata Party, and others. Each in their own way increased pride in being a Hindu and simultaneously showed Hindus their greatest strengths and their worst weaknesses. This slowly shook the roots of Hindu society and prompted a rear-guard action by the ingrained interests: the old politicians, the Nehruvian intellectual community, and the
appeased Muslim leadership.

The old foundation crumbled in the 1980s and 1990s when Hindus respectfully asked for the return of their most holy religious site, Ayodhya. This demand promptly put the 40-year old apparatus to work, and press releases were chunked out that spew the libelous venom which called those who represented the Hindu aspirations RmilitantS and Rfundamentalist,S stigmas which had heretofore found their proper place in the movements to establish Islamic law. Hindus were humble enough to ask for the restoration of an ancient temple built on the birthplace of Rama, and destroyed by Babar, a foreign invader. The vested interests were presented with the most secular of propositions: the creation of a monument to a national hero, a legend whose fame and respect stretched out of the borders of India into southeast Asia, and even into Muslim Indonesia. A hero who existed before there was anyone in India who considered himself separate from Hindu society. The 400-year old structure at one of the holiest sites of India had been worshipped as a temple by Hindus even though the Muslim general Mir Baqi had partially built a non-functioning mosque on it. It was very important that no Muslims, except those who were appeased in Indian politics, had heard of anything called Babri Masjid before the pseudo-secularist apparatus started the next to last campaign against the rising Hindu society. It was also important that no Muslim had offered prayers at the site for over 40 years.

Hindus hid their true anger, that their most important religious site still bore the marks of a cruel slavery that occurred so very recently in the time span of Hindu history. It was naturally expected in 1947 that freedom from the political and economic chains of Great Britain would mean that the systems and symbols that had enslaved India and caused its deterioration and poverty would be obliterated. Forty years after independence, Hindus realized that their freedom was yet to come.

So long as freedom to Jews meant that symbols of the Holocaust in Europe were condemned, so long as freedom to African- Americans meant that the symbols of racial discrimination were wiped out, and so long as freedom from imperialism to all people meant that they would have control of their own destinies, that they would have their own heros, their own stories, and their own culture, then freedom to Hindus meant that they would have to condemn the Holocaust that Muslims reaped on them, the racial discrimination that the white man brought, and the economic imperialism that enriched Britain. Freedom for Hindus and Indians would have to mean that their heros such as Ram, Krishna, Sivaji, the Cholas, Sankaracharya, and Tulsidas would be respected, that their own stories such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata would be offered to humanity as examples of the brilliance of Hindu and Indian thinking, and that their own culture which included the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas, the temples, the gods and goddesses, the art, the music, and the contributions in various fields, would be respected. Freedom meant that as the shackles of imperial dominance were lifted, the newly freed people would not simply absorb foreign ideas, they would share their own as well.

In India, something went wrong. The freedom from Britain was supposed to result in a two-way thinking that meant that non- Indian ideas would be accepted and that Indian ideas would be presented to the world. So long as the part of India giving to the world was suppressed, the freedom was only illusory and the aspirations of the freedom hungry would continue to rise in temperature.

The freedom could have been achieved if a temple to Rama was built and the symbol of foreign rule was moved to another site or demolished. The battle was never really for another temple. Another temple could have been built anywhere in India.

The humble and fair demand for RamaJanmabhoomi could have resulted in a freedom for India, freedom from the intellectual slavery that so dominated India. This freedom would have meant that all Indians regardless of religion, language, caste, sex, or color would openly show respect for the person that from ancient times was considered the greatest hero to people of Hindusthan. For the first time, Hindus had demanded something, and it was justifiable that a reasonable demand from an undemanding people would be realized. Imagine if the Muslim leadership had agreed to shift the site and build a temple in Ayodhya. How much Hindu- Muslim unity there would have been in India? India could then have used that goodwill to solve the major religious, caste, and economic issues facing the country.

But some of the vested interests in politics and in the Muslim community saw that such a change would mean that their work since 1947 would be overturned and that this new revolution would displace them. Rather than join forces and accept the rising tide, the oligarchy added fuel to the greatest movement in Indian history. One that on December 6, 1992 completely shattered the old and weak roots of Indian society and with it, the old political and intellectual structure. The destruction by the Kar Sevaks of the dilapidated symbol of foreign dominance was the last straw in a heightening of tensions by the government, and the comittant anger of more and more Hindus to rebuffs of their reasonable demands.

The ruthless last-ditch effort of the powers-that-be was the banning and suppression of the leaders of the Hindu Jagriti. The effort of the rulers reminds one of the strategy of all ill-fated rulers. Throughout history, when monumental upheavals have taken place, the threatened interests have resorted to drastic measures, which in-turn have hastened their own death.

Hindus are at last free. They control their destiny now and there is no power that can control them except their own tolerant ethos. India in turn is finally free. Having ignored its history, it has now come face to face with a repressed conscience. The destruction of the structure at Ayodhya was the release of the history that Indians had not fully come to terms with. Thousands of years of anger and shame, so diligently bottled up by these same interests, was released when the first piece of the so-called Babri Masjid was torn down.

It is a fundamental concept of Hindu Dharma that has won: righteousness. Truth won when Hindus, realizing that Truth could not be won through political or legal means, took the law into their own hands. Hindus have been divided politically and the laws have not acknowledged the quiet Hindu yearning for Hindu unity which has until recently taken a back seat to economic development and Muslim appeasement. Similarly, the freedom movement represented the supercedence of Indian unity over loyalty to the British Crown. In comparison to the freedom movement though, Hindutva involves many more people and represents the mental freedom that 1947 did not bring.

The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat. It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership to show that Muslims and the government will consider Hindu sentiments. The era of one-way compromise of Hindus is over, for from now on, secularism must mean that all parties must compromise.

Hindutva will not mean any Hindu theocracy or theology. However, it will mean that the guiding principles of Bharat will come from two of the great teachings of the Vedas, the ancient Hindu and Indian scriptures, which so boldly proclaimed -
TRUTH IS ONE, SAGES CALL IT BY MANY NAMES - and - THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IS ONE FAMILY."
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 23065

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hindu priest lays foundation stone for Muslim building in Kutch

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 16:18 IST
By DV Maheshwari | Place: Bhuj | Agency: DNA

Another chapter was added to the history of communal harmony in secular Kutch last week when Acharya Purushottam Priyadasji Maharaj, chief of the Maninagar (Ahmedabad) Swaminaryan Gadi Sansthan, laid the foundation stone of a Muslim community hall in Kera village.

The community hall is being built in the Swaminarayan Nagar area of the village by non-resident Indian Salim Molu, a Khoja (Ismaili) Muslim philanthropist based in Mombasa, Kenya. Molu has also announced a donation of Rs50 lakh to the Aga Khani Ismaili Khoja community of the village.

Molu had met Acharya Purushottam Priyadasji last year during the latter's visit to Kenya and the United Kingdom.

The foundation-laying ceremony took place amid a large presence of people from both the Patel and Khoja communities, which are in almost equal number in Kera. The community hall is expected to be ready by this time next year. According to Prem Patel, solicitor of Molu Firms in the UK, it will also be inaugurated by Acharya Swami.

Patel said, "Molu is a representative of Prince Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Khoja community across the world. The inaugural function will also be graced by the Aga Khan himself. It will be a rare occasion when the head of one religious sect would inaugurate the community building of another religion."

Patel further added that Molu, who originally hails from Mundra, is now a big name in the hotel industry in Kenya where he has a chain of hotels across major cities. Kutchis, including both Hindu Patels and Muslim Khojas, account for the largest chunk of the Indian population in Kenya.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_hindu-priest-lays-foundation-stone-for-muslim-building-in-kutch_1689078
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 5:32 am    Post subject: RAMDEV PIR - Pir Shams Influence Reply with quote

AS RECEIVED

[b]A very interesting reading on Nizari Ismailis in Rajasthan
Pir Shams Influence
Rewriting the History of a Dalit Nizari Hero

Yoginder Sikand, India[b]


Rama Pir, also known as Ramdev Pir or Ram Shah Pir, is a widely revered folk hero in western India and parts of Pakistan.

He is particularly popular among the Dalits (low caste), especially of the Meghwal caste...(do any of you remember the Firmans of SMS in regards to embracing these "Dalits" and treating them like yourselves? Yes or No ?

The story of Rama Pir is shrouded in mystery.

Rajasthan-based social activist Bhanwar Megwanshi argues in his recently published Hindi book ‘Ramdev Pir: Ek Purnavichar’ (‘Ramdev Pir: A Revaluation’).


Megwanshi is a noted writer and edits the monthly Hindi magazine ‘Diamond India’, which deals with a range of social issues from the standpoint of the marginalized and the oppressed.


He comes from a Meghwal family from Bhilwara in southern Rajasthan, which for three generations served as priests of the local Ramdev Pir shrine.


As a child he was entrusted with the duty of performing rituals at the shrine, and this experience, he writes, set him questioning established myths about Ramdev Pir.


His book summarises his critical revaluation of the tradition of the Pir, seeking to retrieve and highlight forgotten aspects of his image as, above all, a crusader against caste oppression.


In most available hagiographical accounts, the fifteenth century Ramdev Pir is presented as an incarnation of Krishna who took birth in the house of Ajmal, a Tanwar Rajput chieftain in western India. Based on his analysis of Tanwar genealogical accounts Megwanshi writes that this claim is fallacious.


It represents a denial of the possibility of a saintly figure being born in a ‘low’ caste, and reflects a broader strategy to Brahminise the Ramdev tradition and drain it of its radical social thrust. Drawing on Dalit oral accounts,

Megwanshi claims that Ramdev was actually the son of a Meghwal cowherd Sayar Rikh and his wife Magande, who accompanied Ajmal’s queen when she shifted to her marital home.

In other words, he argues, Ramdev was a Meghwal by birth and not a Rajput. Nor was he, as is now claimed, an incarnation of Krishna.


Megwanshi also contests the manner in which the close connection between Ramdev and Ajmal is presented in popular accounts.


Examining oral and written traditions related to Ramdev, he writes that Ajmal was a Pir of the Nizari Ismaili Shia Muslim sect, .

In placing this argument, and in claiming that Ramdev was possibly an Ismaili, he explores the fascinating but little- known Nizari Ismaili Shia traditions among the Dalits of Rajasthan.


The Nizaris are a branch of the Ismaili Shias, whose present-day followers acknowledge the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader or Imam.

Following the collapse of their Fatimi Caliphate in Egypt, the Nizari Imamat shifted Alamut in Iran, where the Nizaris kept their beliefs secret, fearing Sunni persecution.

The first Nizari missionary to India, the eleventh century Nur Satgur, who is buried in Navsari in Gujarat, established the practice of spreading Nizari beliefs by using Hindu motifs and idioms, presenting the Nizari faith as a fulfillment of the millennial expectations of the Hindus of an Avatar.


This was in line with the Shia practice of taqiyya or secret concealment of beliefs, in order to stave off Sunni persecution as well as to make the Nizari message more intelligible to a largely Hindu audience.


Thus, the Nizari faith was presented as Sat Panth, Sat Dharm or Maha Marg, as well as Nizar Panth, Nizar Panth and Nij Dharm; and Imam Ali as the Nikalank Avatar, the tenth incarnation of Vishnu.


The Nizari stress on social equality had a particular appeal for various Dalit communities in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Sindh, and many Dalits accepted the faith, although in a highly Hinduised form.


A key Ismaili missionary, and one who plays a central role in the story of Ramdev, was the fourteenth century Pir Shams or Shamsuddin Sabzvari, whose shrine is located in Multan.


Multan was for a long time a major centre of the Nizari Ismaili movement and the Ismailis actually ruled the town for a while till their kingdom was destroyed by Mahmud Ghaznavi.


Pir Shams is said to have widely traveled in north India, and visited Rajasthan as well.


In the Ramdev tradition he is remembered as Shamas Rishi, and it is possible that he adopted a Hindu guise in line with the Indian Nizari tradition.


Megwanshi unravels the fascinating story of Pir Shams’ missionary travels in Rajasthan, relying on Dalit and other sources.


Ransi Tanvar, the father of Ajmal, he writes, was a descendant of Anangpal, the last Tanwar ruler of Delhi. He had taken to robbery. Once, in the village of Dudu, near Jaipur, he chanced upon Pir Shams, whom he is said to have looted, because of which the Pir is said to have cursed him with leprosy.


Rinsi is said to have been cured by drinking water given to him by a Meghwal woman, the wife of a certain Khivan, a Meghwal disciple of Pir Shams.


On being thus miraculously cured, Rinsi is said to have become a disciple of Pir Shams and accepted the Ismaili faith.


Later, the story goes, both Rinsi and Khivan were ordered to be killed by the Sunni Sultan of Delhi.


If true, this reflected the fierce hostility of the Sunni rulers and ulama to the Ismaili Shias, whom they considered as heretics.


Following his father, Ajmal, too, Megwanshi writes, became an Ismaili Pir, and so did Ramdev, whom Ajmal considered as his own son.


Following the established Nizari practice, they kept their faith concealed, being what is termed in Indian Nizari parlance as gupti momins (‘secret believers’).


In this regard, Megwanshi argues that the claim that Ramdev was a disciple of the Nath yogi Balinath of Pokhran is incorrect.


The fact that terms such as Nizar, Nijar, Shams, Multan, Makka, Nur Satgur, Alamut and so on are found in the verses attributed to Ramdev is ample proof,

Megwanishi writes, that Ramdev was a secret Ismaili missionary or at least highly influenced by the Ismailis.
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: RAMDEV PIR - Pir Shams Influence Reply with quote

Admin wrote:
AS RECEIVED

[b]A very interesting reading on Nizari Ismailis in Rajasthan
Pir Shams Influence
Rewriting the History of a Dalit Nizari Hero

Yoginder Sikand, India[b]

This is an old article which has been posted in the first page of this thread! Ramdev was like Rumi, influenced by an Ismaili Pir and then spreading the message to humanity.
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We need more new studies in this field. If the disciples of RamDev are our lost brother the same way the Druzes are, effort should be made to make available to them our common shared history and knowledge. Maybe some new disciples of the present day Pir Shams can do that.
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that will happen through the IIS. Already a lot of information is shared between the IIS and the Bohoras. This may extend to other offshoots of Ismailism...
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://thewire.in/75233/dominique-sila-khan/

Dominique Sila Khan – a Scholar of Religion Who Made India Her Home
By Shail Mayaram on 23/10/2016

Dominique was part of a small group of scholars working on the shared and overlapping cultures of Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent.



The morning’s emails rolled into my inbox, one with the shocking news of the passing of Dominque Sila Khan, one of the most talented scholars of religion in South Asia. I had first met Dominique in the early 1990s at a conference on Rajasthan and was hugely impressed with the dynamic energy of her paper and presentation. She was then unravelling the hidden and secret identities of Ismaili missionary-saints in Western India, including Ai Mata, Jasnath, Jambha and Ramdev, mostly followed by ‘untouchable’ and ‘low’ castes who had been converted to Ismailism in the 13th and 14th centuries by missionaries of the Ismaili dawa working in Multan.

The question for me is who converted whom. Ismailis were in constant conversation with Hindu religious practitioners such as the Nath Yogis and Kabirpanthis, and there was much mutual learning until the 19th century when the idea of singular religious identity began to thrive and create bounded identities. Over a period of time, saint-hero-gods such as Ramdev who had a major following among Dalit communities became appropriated as Hindu and Vaishnava.

Dominique’s doctoral work Conversions and Shifting Identities: Ramdev Pir and the Ismailis in Rajasthan gives us accounts from traditions of the Dalit caste of Meghvals of the persecution by the Delhi Sultans of holy persons who were disciples of Pir Shams. Hence, the martyrdom of Khivan along with Ransi Tanwar, the grandfather of Ramdev, by the Delhi Sultan. His body was then miraculously transformed into milk and he acquired the name Dudh Pir. There is a similar hagiography of Phul Pir.

Information on the Ismailis had until then depended on the orally performed traditions of the Ismailis, the ginans or devotional hymns – Dominique’s work excavated architectural and mythic evidence of an expanding Nizari dawa.

Over the years, Dominique and I came to share many interests and borrowed deeply from each other’s work. On some questions we also diverged – I was critical of the idea of crypto-Islam that she used in her later book, Crossing the Threshold. Dominique and I were part of a small group of scholars working on the shared and overlapping cultures of Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent, which included Ann Gold, Yogi Sikand, Veronique Bouillier, Tazim Kassam, Carla Bellamy and others. A volume titled Lines in Water: Religious Boundaries in South Asia is one of the volumes that came out of some of our work.

Some of us were part of a conference on liminal identities in Goa, which also produced an edited volume titled Lived Islam. The challenge before us was how to conceptualise the identities that emerged around these diverse and culturally interconnected universes. Surely all identities are mixed – unless moulded to the contrary by ideological intervention – but the hybridity of some has been especially pronounced, such as of Mewatis, More Salam and Malkana Rajputs, Khanzadas and Kayamkhanis, among others.

All of us struggled with vocabularies to signify this space. Dominique used the concept of acculturation then popular in French anthropology, but veered around to using the idea of liminality that for me signified the in-between spaces between religions and that defied boundary-making enterprises.

Dominique herself had a novel location: she was born Jewish and was the author of a fairly successful novel. She was educated in Paris but moved to Jaipur after her marriage to a Sunni Muslim from the Shekhawat region of Rajasthan. Dominique was the writer, but Sattar Khan partnered her at home and in fieldwork. He knew intuitively what she arrived at in the way of scholarship and together they uncovered the traces of Ismailism over a millennium.

Dominique’s work on the Imamshahi Satpanth showed how the dharma parivartan campaign of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the 1980s forced the Patidars, members of an agricultural caste representing about 75% of the Imamshahi Satpanth to remain gupti (in hiding). In the 1980s, Kaka Karsan Das of the Pirana shrine assumed the Hindu title of acharya and claimed to be the spiritual leader of the community. He initiated a process of Hinduisation so as to make the sect acceptable to the Sangh Parivar, involving modifications in rituals and the sacred literature.

Her research into the Pranami tradition suggested how Gandhi’s early association with the Pranami tradition has been underplayed, even obliterated in several biographies, as also in his own autobiography. Gandhi admits only in passing in the latter that his mother was a Pranami and that, in his childhood, he would also go to the Porbandar shrine and read from both the Gita and Quran. He mentions that many people thought that they were Muslim. The Qulzam Sharif, the holy scripture of the sect, defines the Pranami religion as Islam or din-i Islam.

At the turn of the century, Dominique, whose Hindi was fluent – Rajasthani and Gujarati just a little less so – decided to learn Malayalam and immersed herself in the Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures of Kerala. The outcome was Sacred Kerala, a book I have taken on each of my journeys to the Malabar coast.

Sadly, a recent political position in India celebrates the nativist intellectual, ignoring how scholars such as Dominique made India their home, opting for a deeper understanding and experience of Indian cultures rather than a position in a European university. Even as livelihood remained a struggle for Sattar and her, one of her last projects was to set up an institute of pluralism.

As I look at the copies of Dominique’s books in my office, I think of how in the end this is all that remains: our witnessing of the past, of footprints on the sand that are erased by time and of vanishing worlds as the quest for pure religions and totalised identities is undertaken at a frenzied pace in the subcontinent.

Shail Mayaram is a historian and political anthropologist whose most recent book is Israel as the gift of the Arabs: Letters from Tel Aviv
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ismaili Saints and Hindu Shrines

Excerpt:

There are two important factors to understand the religious Ismaili history in Sindh. Firstly, with the concealment of true identity, later their shrines became popular with dual identities i.e, ManghoPir/ Lala Jasraj, Pir Patho/Gopi Chand, Shaikh Tahir/Udero Lal/Jhulelal, Ram Baraho/Ibrahim Shah and many others. There are even Ismaili claims to the effect that Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Usman Marvandi (1177-1274), popularly known as Lal Shahbaz, was also an Ismaili saint and he too carried a dual identity as LalShahbaz/Raja Bharthari. Secondly, the internal strife among the Ismaili community regarding the spiritual succession caused much damage with many of the shrines getting separated from them and then re-affiliated with Hinduism notably Rama Pir, Pir Pithoro and many others in Sindh, Kutch, Gujarat and Rajasthan. With the re-affiliation or reversion to Hinduism many myths were invented and stories were made, making the local Ismaili pirs into Hindu deities. This mainly happened when internal dissension over the line of spiritual succession began appearing in the community. After the death of Pir Sadruddin (d.1409), the most popular Ismaili Dai of the fourteenth century who converted Hindu Lohanas to Nizari Ismailism, his son Hasan Kabiruddin, was made a new Pir by the Imam at Alamut in Persia. When Pir Hassan Kabiruddin died, the Imam appointed his brother Tajuddin (whose shrine is located in Tando Bagho, Badin) as new Pir of the Nizari Khoja community rather than one of the numerous sons of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. This displeased the sons of Pir Hasaan Kabiruddin and they plotted against their uncle Pir Tajuddin. Subsequently Imam Shah, son of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin attempted in vain to become pir of the Khoja Nizaris in Sindh. These internal schisms aggravated the situation and after the death of Pir Tajuddin, the Khoja Nizaris and the shrines of local pirs began reverting to Hindusim. In the meantime, the Imam appointed one more Dai, Pir Dadu – sending him to Sindh to prevent reversion of Nizari Khojas to Hinduism or other forms of Islam. In the time of the Arghuns (1524-1555) and later in the Tarkhan period (1555-1592), Pir Dadu (d. 1593) had to meet local resistance from Sunnis and had to flee from Sindh to Jamnagar in Kutch.

More..
https://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/ismaili-saints-and-hindu-shrines/
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