Tharparkar, a borderland area with India, provides insights into Scheduled Caste (SC) perceptions of their status and marginality in contemporary Pakistan. The article focuses on how SC activists, despite the absence of a national or provincial-level discourse in Pakistan, negotiate “untouchability” in Pakistan. It discusses the regional dynamics of SC movements in Tharparkar and how Pakistani lower castes, considered part of a homogenous and fixed religious minority (i.e., “Hindus”) by the Government of Pakistan (GOP), are engaged in producing a distinct social and political identity in the region.
Sunni Muslims in Kachchh, Gujarat commemorate the Islamic month of Muharram with a variety of practices, including street processions, drumming, musical stage performances, dancing, and dhamāl (piercing the body with skewers and daggers). This article focuses on osāṇī (<ḥusainī), a song genre that is only performed during Muharram and serves as the musical foundation of the osāṇī circle dance. Osāṇī dance is noteworthy for its incorporation of a stylized form of hāth kā mātam, the chest-beating typically associated with Shiʿa Muslims’ lamentation for the Karbala martyrs, which is generally avoided and criticized by Sunnis in other areas of South Asia. Drawing attention to the affectively mixed quality of osāṇī performances, I underscore the role of maza (enjoyment, fun) in the religious life of Muslim Kachchh, thus offering a counterbalance to the focus on valorized affects that has characterized recent influential studies of self-formation and embodied religious devotion in Muslim societies. Finally, the article traces the impact of Islamic reformism, which has prompted many Sunnis associated with the Ahl-e Sunnat wa Jamaʿat (“Barelvī”) movement to refrain from participating in osāṇī and other forms of Muharram commemoration over the past few decades.
This article explores online articulations of Sindhi Hindu identity in 2010. The early 2000s mark a key moment of generational shift in the post-Partition Sindhi Hindu diaspora during an era of engagement with websites and virtual discussion forums more broadly. Tracking three diasporic websites, this article helps us to understand what virtual spaces have offered those who are distal from the imagined homelands of their longing. My analysis of the websites and a discussion forum reveal how Sindhi Hindu identity is negotiated around dominant narratives of Hinduness and Indian national identity, but in ambivalent ways that elude religious nationalist binary taxonomies in post-Partition South Asia. In its focus on websites and virtual discussion forums, this article thus brings together questions of deterritorialization and the digital to extend insights about the multiplicity, pluralism, and interconnectedness of the Sindhi diaspora more broadly.
This article presents a translation from the Sindhi oral tradition of bhagat. It originates in Sindh, Pakistan. Today it is practiced by Hindu narrators in post-Partition India. The song translated in this paper focuses upon Bhagat Kanvar Ram, who contemporary bhagat narrators mention frequently. This essay exemplifies his influence on the bhagat tradition in the areas of inspiration, authority, and performance style. It offers a glimpse of the dynamics of the live performances of oral texts.