Syncretic Religion
The Reality Of Legends: The Sabarimala Pilgrimage And The Dance Of Faiths
The Reality Of Legends: The Sabarimala Pilgrimage And The Dance Of Faiths

I would not have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes, heard it with my own ears, and felt its power and passion within my own body and soul. But on a cold winter’s morning in the city of Erumeli while standing on a hill overlooking the Vavar mosque I saw it […]

A Dancer’s Map Of Lucknow
A Dancer's Map Of Lucknow

Jab chhorh chaley Lakhnau nagari, Kaho haal adam par kya guzeri… (When we left our beloved Lucknow, See what befell us..) Wajid Ali Shah Its [British colonial education] cumulative effect was to be described…as nothing short of a chasm that…made it impossible for the new generation of the educated and the older generation of the […]

William Dalrymple Attends The Sabarimala Or How I Began To Worry That My Sabarimala Essay Will Not Be Good Enough
William Dalrymple Attends The Sabarimala Or How I Began To Worry That My Sabarimala Essay Will Not Be Good Enough

William Dalrymple has published a piece in The Guardian newspaper on the Sabarimala pilgrimage. This was the very pilgrimage I recently traveled to witness and wrote about in a Project Update post called Where Muslims Warriors Defend & Protest Hindu Gods. His essay arrives a few days ahead of my own. I am however posting […]

Believers, Blasphemers and Beggars In Ajmer, The City That Love Built And Life Sustains
Believers, Blasphemers and Beggars In Ajmer, The City That Love Built And Life Sustains

When they celebrate the death anniversary of a saint, they come in crowds from far and near to his tomb; and reaching there on the day of the ‘urs’, they perform more devotions than they do for obligatory (Islamic) rituals. To solve their worldly problems, they address their supplications to the tombs…They pray to the […]

Beyond Boundaries by Pankaj Mishra
Beyond Boundaries by Pankaj Mishra

This essay is reprinted here by kind permission of Pankaj Mishra. The original piece appeared in The National newspaper and can be seen here. Pankaj Mishra is the author of four books, most recently The Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond. But it was perhaps his writings […]

The Rose Of Ajmer by Britt Sloan
The Rose Of Ajmer by Britt Sloan

Introduction: His life has been draped with legends, many of which tell of his miracles and powers. One of the most popular legends is of the evil wizard Jaypal who, on the orders of a local raja, attempts to drive the Sufi fakir Moinuddin Chiti away from the region and attacks him with burning coals. […]

Rajasthan’s Cheeta-Merat And The Battle For Their Souls by Radihika Saraf
Rajasthan's Cheeta-Merat And The Battle For Their Souls by Radihika Saraf

Introduction: The Cheeta-Merat (also known as the Kathat) defy all conventional conceptions of ‘Hindus’ and ‘Muslims’, and practice a unique syncretic religion that combines elements of Islam and Hindusim. This little-known community, with an estimated population to be about 400,000, is spread across over 100 villages in the vicinity of Ajmer and Beawar towns in […]